Nathan and I hit our 3 month anniversary this week (and our 3 year anniversary of actually being a couple – yay!). We love marriage and being together. I know it is cheesy and so cliché, but I really did not know I could love someone so much. It is a joy to do the highs and lows of life side-by-side, rather than miles apart.
Now, let’s be honest, you probably do not want me to rave on and on about how much I love Nathan. So, I compiled a short list of (my) essentials to enjoying marriage (or any relationship, for that matter).
*Take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I am not claiming to be a pro at this marriage thing*
Be kind-hearted. I am frequently so caught up in my own little world that I forget to be aware of other people’s (Nathan’s) own concerns. Daily, I have to remind myself to listen and to demonstrate my love for Nathan.
Kindness is a learned action for me – it is not my intuitive response to people. However, I have learned that a little bit of kindness allows for an opportunity to unwind and be honest with one another. Nathan is far better at being kind than I am, but I am doing my best to catch up.
Choose laughter. I have inappropraite laughter – almost all of the women in my family have this strange urge to laugh in moments of high emotion or awkwardness. I still laugh when I tell people that my dad died when I was in high school. Do you know how awkward that is? So uncomfortable – for everyone involved.
However, that inappropriate laughter gives me an inclination to laugh (or cry-laugh) in those moments when everything keeps going wrong. By choosing to laugh, we choose to find joy in the overwhelming aspects of life. I wish I laughed even more at the ridiculous things life throws at us.
No wallowing allowed. When I am feeling down on life, I have realized that I like to wallow in my misery.
Do you know what wallow means? To lie in mud. That is disgusting.
Nathan kindly points my woe-is-me heart to God and out of a self-indulgent, selfish mindset. Wallowing makes me dramatic, narrow-minded, and hopeless. Getting up and out of my wallowing mentality gives me hope and perspective.
Be Friends. Nathan is my absolute best friend. He is my go-to for fun things to do and the first person I call when something exciting happens. He encourages me and makes me laugh at myself (and life). He intrigues me and forces me to ask (and answer) hard questions. It is a joy to live life so deeply intertwined and have a permentant cuddle-buddy.
I would highly encourage everyone to pursue best friendship with their significant other. I have absolutely no regrets.
Say “sorry” AND “I forgive you.” Very early on in our dating relationship, we discussed the power of saying “I forgive you” instead of “It’s okay.”
In my opinion, okay is the worst word ever. It is what you say when someone asks how you are doing and you are doing awful, but you do not want to talk about it. It is what you say when the food was alright, but not what you expected it to be. It conveys a begrudging or disappointed heart.
When I say “it’s okay” to Nathan, I have not truly forgiven him and the rest of the day/night is awkward and normally another argument pops up. We make it a practice to say “I forgive you”and mean it. We try not to force the person we have wronged to say “I forgive you” (I’ll admit it – I try to force immediate forgiveness), but we also do not withold forgiveness. The practice of honesty in our words adds so much peace and certainty to the state of our relationship.
I am learning – we are learning – how to love one another well. It can be awkward and sometimes it is out of our comfort zone, but I would not trade it for the world.