Right here in the midst of our 30th year of wedded togetherness and 26th year of child raising and eighth or so year of kid driver training (I can’t remember exactly how many years because of all the nerve pills), I’ve thought of some things I wish I would have learned sooner about this thing called marriage. And just for the record, some of them I am still learning. Here you go!
1. Your marriage isn’t yours after all. It’s God’s and He knows how to make it work.
2. You are not always right.
3. Your husband is actually capable of being right. But you have to give him the opportunity.
4. Talk less and listen more. Even though the crickets chirp in the silence because he used up all his words at work before lunchtime.
5. Share your opinion nicely. Then. Shut. Up.
6. Pray rather than nag. It’s quieter and much more effective.
7. Trust God to work His will in your husband rather than try to orchestrate his spiritual walk yourself.
8. Understand that although all signs point to your being right, it’s okay to step back and let your husband be wrong so that God can grow him.
9. Rest in the knowledge that you are under God’s umbrella of protection through your husband.
10. Know that having children changes the dynamic in your marriage in ways no one can prepare you for, but know that Jesus leads those who have young. (Isaiah 40:11)
11. You are not always easy to get along with. And all the husbands said amen.
12. Doing nice things for him when you don’t feel like it will make you want to do more nice things for him.
13. Extend to your husband just a fraction of the grace Jesus extends to you, and, well, that will make you a much nicer wife.
14. Being served is not nearly as fulfilling as serving. Although late night deliveries of cookies and milk are pretty darn sweet.
15. You are not the judge of your husband’s relationship with the Lord.
16. Your husband’s lack of response to your questioning and prodding may be just his way of thinking things through before he answers. Or he actually may be ignoring you, but we’re going for the positive here.
17. If you ask him if he likes the food you made and he says not really, eharmony should not be your next internet destination.
18. Your husband is accountable to God for his role in your marriage, just as you are.
19. You are not the same people now as you were when you got married. And for that, you say thank you, Jesus.
20. Take an interest in his interests, not because you get excited about engines and paint schemes and wheels and gauge configurations, but because they are his interests.
21. Believe that he is doing the best he knows how to do and let that be enough. (Thanks, Mom.)
22. Understand that one of the greatest roles you can embrace in life is that of a godly, selfless wife, and aspire to be one.
23. Realize that marriage is a high calling not for the selfish child but for the mature, secure adult.
24. Picking up his dirty laundry day after day after day is okay. Really. Even though he should put it in the hamper himself because that is the considerate thing to do.
25. Realize that you possess annoying habits and exhibit moments of being inconsiderate that he doesn’t ever complain about because he thinks you’re worth the trade off.
26. Understand that you never stop learning how to be married.
27. Learn that he expresses his love differently than you do, but he still loves.
28. Understand that you are called to love him in such a way that helps him understand more about God’s love for him, not more about what makes his wife pout less.
29. Treasure the moments because even though you can’t imagine it, one day you’ll wake up and his hair will be gray and yours would be too if not for the wonders of modern chemistry, and that growing up and growing old together is a wondrous blessing and privilege that some couples don’t get to experience.
30. Know that 30 years from now, you could be writing your own list–or wishing you could hear him slurp his coffee one more time…
Janice Powell 2014