I was reading an article earlier in the week where they interviewed an older couple who had been married for 75 years. As usual, they asked what the key to their marital bliss was and they answered, “Laughter”.
My mind keeps going back and I keep thinking about this. I have only been married about 14 years, am still in my young 30’s so Lord willing, we will have MANY more years together. However, if I had to answer that same question today, I would say its a 3 fold.
Three Keys to a Happy Marriage
- Put God First
It goes without saying, that I am very strongly opinionated that you must put God first. No spouse can live up to God like expectations. The closer we seek and grow with God, the closer we grow to each other. If you are truly seeking God, He will help you see that marriage isn’t about YOU and your selfishness, it’s about putting God and your spouse first.
There is not a day that goes by, that my husband doesn’t make me laugh. He usually laughs at me too, but usually because I’ve done something dumb/blonde moments as my mother likes to say. Seriously though, laughter is the best medicine. If you can’t let go and enjoy each other and the lighter side of life, then its going to make a very difficult marriage.
If nothing else, I have learned that communication is truly key to keeping a happy marriage. We can’t be expected to read each other’s minds all the time. We must TALK and communicate. I’m not talking nagging and complaining, I mean meaningful talk. Which brings me to where my thoughts have been most the week.
“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Deuteronomy 24:5
We were not blessed with the opportunity to have a year of marriage before he was sent off to war. We got married, and he left for a deployment 3 months later. The first year and half of our marriage he was in Iraq. Literally, by the time he came home, we had spent 3 months together physically and that included his 2 weeks of R&R in the middle of his tour.
Looking back, I can say I am so incredibly thankful for that time of growing. I say that of course, now that he is home safe. You take away the “honeymoon phase” and all you have left is communication. Things have changed so much since then. When we went through this 14- month deployment there was no facebook, skype, etc. We had AIM messaging and emails as our main communication. I sent him a care package each and every week and letters but those took at least 2 weeks to get to him.
He tried to call me about once a week, usually on Sunday mornings around like 5 am our time. He would call on holidays and special occasions but phone conversations were far and few between. Then you would have time when the internet went out on the base due to IED’s etc or when he went on missions it might be a week or so before I would hear anything. Those were the most nerve-wracking times.
We had to really learn how to TALK to each other. How to work through our feelings, challenges, goals, all of it together and none of it face to face. To this day, I tend to write him, what he calls nastygrams, when I have problems. In my defense, these days I tend to write him many more nicegrams than nasty. It’s just what has worked for us for all these years. You can’t cut in and stop each other if you write it out. Plus I can look back over it, change it, and make sure it comes across how I really mean it, without emotions getting in the way.
He is away in training now and it brings all these memories flooding back because we are not allowed to communicate. I have spoken to him once in the past 15 days and they were only allowed about a 25-minute phone call before having to turn their phones in again. This has been pure torture for me.
A lot of days my husband is the only adult I speak to. He comes through the door, the kids go running, to get his hugs first, and then I get my hug. It’s literally like the weight of the world has been taken off my shoulders when he walks in the door. I’m usually finishing up dinner, so he comes in, puts his things down and talks with the kids, helps set the table and we sit for dinner. Dinnertime around the table is a big deal in our house.
There are no electronics allowed at the table. It’s family time. We talk to the kids and give them our undivided attention. After the kids go to bed I usually start my work as he goes and gets ready for the next day. However, that is also our time to talk about any issues, pray together, and just figure this thing called LIFE out.
Not being able to communicate about all the ins and outs of our day, whats going on here, what we have coming up is just killing me. I have a million things I want to tell him and can’t. Him being gone weeks at a time are bad enough but not being able to talk during that time is just more than I can handle.
Obviously, I will handle it, but not without a bit of grouchiness and complaining.
In closing, I will just say that while communication is #3 on the list, it is so incredibly important. If you are struggling communicating with your spouse, change it up. Try something new. The main point of communication should have a goal of encouraging and supporting each other. If all you do is complain and grouch it will put a ton of strain on your marriage and after a while, they are liable to want out.
Example: Years ago we had all carpet, and I HATE vacuuming. One Saturday morning my husband vacuumed the floor and I told him (ONE) time, “Thank you so much for vacuuming, I hate doing it. The floor was looking terrible and needed it so bad and that just made my day.” Then I gave him a kiss and went on my way to whatever else. From that day forward he did almost all the vacuuming. I didn’t have to ask, beg, nag, he just took the initiative and did it. Its amazing what a little bit of encouragement will do.
Hope you got a bit of encouragement from this spur of the moment post. 😀