As I sit here to reflect about what I have learned I just want to thank all of my guest bloggers. It has been an honor having these fabulous ladies spill what they have learned since saying I do. I’m not even sure I can follow them but I’ll do my best. So here goes nothing…
1) Comparison is the thief of all joy. Period. In this age where everyone posts everything on the internet via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and a ton more avenues, keep in mind they are posting their best self. We are not seeing the heart ache, tears or anger in their life – the fender bender, broken wine glass or fight with their husband. No one posts that stuff. And you know what? Maybe they really don’t have any of that. And that’s amazing for them. But be thankful for what you do have and most importantly who you have in your life. That goes not just for your husband or wife but your family and friends too. Be thankful for them and what they bring to your life. I have learned that what I have and who I have in my life are mine – special to me and that God has placed each of these people in my life for a reason. And for that I am thankful. So next time your swooning over the cute new house someone just bought or the beautiful chiavari chairs at their wedding (and being sad it’s not you), be happy for them, but be thankful for what you have too. And know that we each pave our own way and that is a true blessing.
2) Have secrets and keep them. Number 1 has led me to the second thing I have learned since saying I do. Again, in a world where everyone’s life is on display via the World Wide Web, it is important to have some secrets and keep them. Every now and then I’ll post the flowers that Matt sent me or a sweet note, but I don’t post half of our little secrets. Those are sacred. The world does not need to know about our dance party last night or my surprise chocolate cupcakes – because those are things that we share and no one else. So friends, I warn you – don’t post every little detail of your marriage or your life. Save some secrets for those you love. Secrets create a bond and reminds me that what I have is special and for no one else but me.
3) Let each other try it their way and even fail if needed. Sounds weird I know, but I’ve learned that it’s OK for me to let Matt fail and vice versa. I remember a pivotal conversation with my mom about two months after I got married. I had called her because I was frustrated my car needed something fixed that wasn’t a necessity (like the automatic window or something I can’t remember) and Matt didn’t want to fix it. And I remember saying to my mom, “but dad would have fixed it.” (ugh looking back I sounded like such a little brat) Right then and there my mama set me straight, and from then on I have not disrespected my husband like that again. My mom reminded me that my dad wasn’t always the man he is now and that he’s not perfect either, and most important – that Matt is not my dad. I cannot expect him to do the things my dad did nor do I really want him to. I married Matt because of the person HE is and no other reason. And in the end, Matt was completely right. My stupid mishap on my car didn’t need to be fixed and I know he would never let me drive something unsafe. Another example - we bought our first home about a year after tying the knot. It was an older house with a lot of charm and character but also a lot of things that needed to be fixed. A week after moving in the door knob broke. What the heck. It was late at night, we were both tired and annoyed, and my hubby wanted to try and fix it himself while I wanted to go and buy a new one at Home Depot and be done with it. But it was then that I let him try to fix it – because his pride was more important to me than that stupid door knob. He did fix it but eventually we had to get another one and that’s OK. He was able to try and succeed and learned from that. When I’m in the kitchen cooking and am burning the pasta or the casserole (which happens more than I’d like to admit), Matt lets me cook and then eats every last bite. Despite the fact that he is a MUCH better cook than I am and I know he could offer helpful advice, he understands my need to try and fail so that I can learn. So, don’t be so quick to correct and criticize. Let each other try things and fail if need be – that is how you live and learn together.
4) Pray. Pray often. Pray together. Pray for each other. Being in prayer together has strengthened our relationship more than I can express. Hearing my husband talk to God and pray for me and our family touches my heart in a place that is so deep. When I am frustrated with Matt, I pray for patience. When he is frustrated with me, he prays for grace. Because we’re not in this alone (thank goodness) and we are not perfect – we need help. Bottom line. I am thankful that our marriage is grounded in our faith and that I have confidence that my husband is praying constantly.
5) Invest in the people in each other’s lives. It is important that my best friends are also Matt’s friends and that his friends are mine too. Take time to really get to know and invest in the people in your spouse’s life and love them unconditionally. I am so lucky that Matt’s friends also have amazing girlfriends and wives too but I have truly gotten to know his friends. I hope they know that I would do anything for them just as Matt would. Matt has also taken time to invest in my friends. He probably doesn’t know how much it even means to me when he comes home and says, “Have you talked to Mere lately? How is Jack’s studying going?” or “You haven’t seen Kristen lately, you should grab dinner with her.” It’s those statements that confirm his interest and relationship with my friends and it means the world to me. I hope my friends know how much they mean to him too. I am also thankful for the friends we have met together. Overall, be friends with his friends and vice versa. It matters.
So those are just 5 little tid bits in to what I have learned since my wedding day. I could honestly go on forever. I could talk about the importance of distraction-free dinners, date night and taking good care of yourself to be your best spouse but I am scared you guys won’t read the whole post if it’s too long so I’ll stop and hand it over to man who steals my heart every day. I should warn you though – this is uncensored and unedited. Matt wrote and I posted – no edits at all – he’s a funny one too :). So here he is….
What Matthew has learned…
When Denise first asked me to write about what I had learned since we got married in late September 2010, I thought to myself “no problem.” But as I sit here trying to put my thoughts to words, I find it extremely difficult. But, here are 25 things I have learned since getting married!
1) Happy Wife = Happy Life
2) The world does not revolve around sports, fantasy football and poker
3) Shit happens (I used to tell myself Denise did not go #2)
4) Bachelor and Bachelorette for women = Sunday and Monday Night Football for men
5) Date night once weekly = mandatory
6) Going to sleep at 11pm is late
7) Never go to sleep mad
8) Denise would watch E! News every night if given the opportunity
9) Week-long vacation once yearly = mandatory
10) It is important to be friends with your spouse’s friends
11) The best annual Christmas present for my wife is an US Weekly subscription
12) Listening is often more important than talking
13) Nothing beats a good night kiss
14) It is important to switch between romantic comedies and action movies for movie night
15) Denise is the most beautiful woman in the world (well I knew that before I got married, but I am reminded much more frequently now)
16) It is fun to do things we both enjoy
17) I love Marvel movies (X-Men, Iron Man, Spiderman) – well I knew this before I got married, but still….
18) I am the only person in my household who enjoys Marvel movies
19) Every young couple should have a dog
20) It is okay to agree to disagree
21) Nothing beats making dinner with Denise
22) I secretly enjoy The Bachelor and The Bachelorette
23) Denise secretly enjoys watching football all day Saturday and Sunday ;)
24) Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love
25) Happy Wife = Happy Life
Marriage truly is a gift from God and I am the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity to marry my best friend.
Isn't he wonderful? Love. Him. Sigh. And now for my two favorite video highlights (both thanks to K2 Productions)... there is some overlap in the footage but I couldn't resist sharing both because I love the songs and they make me happy...