Here I am continuing the conversation on marriage I started a few weeks ago in Part 1.
Do you remember how excited you were when you got married? Your relationship was so strong. You were head over heels for each other. Everything was so new and different and fun. You got along so well. Your wife felt wanted, needed, and cherished, and your husband felt honored and respected. He was everything to you, and you were everything to him.
Then you hit a pothole.
In the weeks or months following your marriage, you started to doubt your place in each others life. You discovered that you didn’t see eye to eye on everything. Warm contentions arose. Worst of all, your husband started to seem more interested in things besides you. You felt like you were absolutely number one in your husband’s eyes until one day the intensity of your relationship started to lessen. All of a sudden he seemed more focused on work or school or golf or football or hunting or his laptop or cell phone. The day that doubt crept into your soul was a sad day. Or your wife became disappointed in you and you didn’t realize how snippy she could be about little things.
This is not the case in every marriage. Some women, sadly, have never felt like they were number one with their husbands, and some husbands feel like they can never live up to their wife’s expectations. Whatever the case, it is all sad to me. And unnecessary.
I did this to my wife. I mean, I caused her to doubt. It’s in her journal, her sad feelings about being displaced by my other interests and priorities. I feel terrible about this now. I didn’t understand what to do when I was first married. Now I do.
This is what I do.
Beyond my daily devotion to God, my top daily priority is to reassure my wife that I love, cherish and honor her, that nothing and no one is more important to me than her. I want her to know that she can count on me to stand by her no matter what, sickness, health, grumpiness or bad hair day. I want her to know that I am always going to see the goodness in her and that I think she is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, which I do.
When it comes to marriage, as you have heard me say before, I play more offense than defense. It’s an absolute commitment to myself that is not guided by mood swings or defensiveness. It comes from knowing where I stand myself and letting her know, too.
I have a very happy marriage. Very happy. It’s not because I am “lucky.” I don’t believe in the common concept of good or bad luck which I think is just ignorance of how things really work and why things happen.
There are three reasons why I am extremely happy in my marriage and I think you can have the same three reasons to be happy.
- I deeply appreciate my wife. I have almost lost her several times to post-surgical trauma. That taught me appreciation like nothing else. And as a result, I made certain strong, unbreakable commitments within myself to cherish her each day. I think she can feel that and it makes a huge difference.
- Talk, talk, talk, talk. We talk a lot. I mean a lot. I am not a husband that can be accused of not communicating with his wife. She knows my heart because I expose it to her. I used to express my ups and downs with my moods; now I express them with my words. But I control those words to make sure that they are calm and respectful no matter the circumstances. I never put my wife down, ever, in or out of her presence. I hold her in great honor both on the inside and on the outside.
- We are still on our honeymoon. You may doubt that, but we are. We love to be together. We go on one or two dates a week. We have lots of fun. We do new and interesting things together. We laugh and cry together. We work together and solve problems together. We are a team. We are together.
A few weeks ago, my wife and one of our older daughters were talking about our life as “empty nesters.” (It’s coming up fast. Too fast.) Our daughter said, in essence, “You won’t have any problems. Your relationship is different than most others.”
She is right. It is different. Why? Because we consciously choose to make it different and it is.
Don’t get me wrong. We still have our rough spots and disappointments and disagreements, but we handle them so much better than we used to. We get over them quickly. We put them aside and move forward. We take out the emotional trash regularly.
Let me close by saying this: I adore my wife. I think she is absolutely darling. My devotion to her is not based on how she behaves or how she looks at a particular moment, but it is based on who she is, who I feel that she is. Because she knows this, it makes all the difference.