AKA one of my best friends in the whole universe. I could write novels about our friendship and how much she means to me, but she does a pretty good introduction below so I'll let her take it from here. Oh and she writes a great blog over at Beautiful Things - give her some love. You know you want to....
Hey y’all, I’m Mallory! For some background, Denise and I have been BFFs since 8th grade. We’ve shared lots of things over the years – toothbrushes (ew, I know!), beds, bathing suits (I’m sure this is kinda weird to some of you, too but it was normal when we were in high school and lived at the beach), best friends, a love for Jesus, hairstyles (as you can tell below), and a love for all things Spanish. In college we both ended up at NC State University, majored in communication/public relations, and studied abroad in Spain. After college comes the best part – we both married sexy little men from Wilmington (our hometown) who went to our rival high school!
Mission trip in Jamaica, circa 2001. This happens to also be where it all started with Nisey and Matteo. Must have been the hair, huh?
So when Denise asked me to guest post I was a little hesitant. I’ve officially held the title of Mrs. Russell for seven whole months which doesn’t exactly qualify me to dish out marital advice.
|with Nise and matt at our wedding in November|
While I have significantly less experience in the marriage department than most, the past seven months have been the most dynamic of my life. I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for what marriage would be like but I’m going to do my best to fill you in on what I’ve learned so far. And for the record, I need daily reminders for every single one!
1. Treat your spouse as though they are the best gift you’ve ever been given ... because they are! Don’t get me wrong, being married is hard work. There are days when I think, “What have I gotten myself into?” But your spouse is a precious gift from God, just as you were a gift to them. I try to be mindful of this every day.
2. Marriage is not a competition. I often catch myself arguing, “Yes, I did tell you about this!” ... especially when it comes to our schedules. Why do we always want to prove we’re right and our spouse is wrong? If you can realize early on that you’re teammates rather than opponents then many would-be arguments will never come to fruition. :)
3. Check your pride at the door. Since a marriage is all about putting your spouse’s needs above your own, there is simply no room for pride in this equation. This is, by far, the toughest for me and something I struggle with on a daily basis. Luckily this perma-grin is real and Kyle reminds me not to take myself too seriously.
4. Respect your husband, even when you really don’t feel like it. Men’s deepest need is to be honored and respected (just as our deepest need is to be loved!). What does this look like? Building him up rather than tearing him down. We often stomp on our mens’ pride without even realizing it – if you asked your man what types of things make him feel disrespected you’d probably be surprised by some of the answers. I was – Kyle told me when I say, “Kyle gets so mad when I ...” in front of our friends he feels disrespected. I have never thought twice about those words coming out of my mouth but instead of trying to reason with him I apologized and promised to not say that anymore. And I totally failed and said it a couple days later. Thankfully I have an extremely forgiving husband, which brings me to my next point ...
5. Be quick to forgive. Sometimes it’s almost as though I enjoy being angry/bitter (for the record, I don’t, ha!). I’m sure Kyle is convinced of it from the number of times he’s tried to reconcile after an argument and I’m still sitting there with my arms crossed, not wanting to talk. Really, Mal? At the end of the day you’re kinda stuck with your spouse. That ‘till death do us part stuff is no joke. Stepping back and looking at the big picture of your marriage will compel you to forgive. You made a covenant with your spouse and God, and most importantly the point of marriage is not to make you happy, but holy and more like Jesus.
6. Pray for your husband. As you do this, your thoughts towards him will change and as a result, your actions towards him will be an overflow of your heart rather than temporary frustrations. I’ve learned if you desire for your man to step up to the plate in an area of his life, getting on your knees and praying for God to transform him is a million times more powerful than manipulating him. When we first started dating I longed for Kyle to be the spiritual leader in our relationship. What ultimately changed things? When I started praying and stopped nagging, Kyle began to grow into the strong, Godly man I longed for. He dug into God’s Word and even joined a men’s small group.
Thanks for reading. I loved reflecting on my first few months of marriage and am looking forward to connecting with Denise’s readers over at Beautiful Things!