One day I was having a conversation with my students about how we talk to people. There’s 2 things I always tell my students: 1). I will never lie to them; and 2). I will always try my hardest to speak kindness towards them and promote kindness in my classroom.
I was sitting with two of my students while we we drawing comics and one of them said, “What if you husband started yelling and cursing at you” I said, “My husband would never ever speak to me like that or raise his voice at me. If he ever did, I would think he was ill or something because that would be the only reason– he must be losing his mind.” They couldn’t believe that my husband and I don’t raise our voices at each other, curse at each other, or call each other names. They’re used to living in a house where their parents curse at them and yell at each other. I just kept telling them that that type of relationship isn’t normal or healthy– just because it happens doesn’t mean that it’s right. If you cannot speak to someone without insulting them, you’re not in a healthy relationship.
Michael and I really do have a great relationship. It’s not easy and we work on it every single day. Some days we fail hard– we’re hurtful and spiteful sometimes. Regardless of how we are really feeling, there are things we practice to ensure that we are on the same page. With the addition of our cute kid, it has been a struggle to continue to practice these things, but we manage. We might not always succeed, but the effort is what matters to us in the end. After almost 12 years together, countless tear-filled arguments, and sweet makeup kisses, here are the most important things I’ve learned and/or that we practice to keep this thing going.
1). We’re always a team. We don’t make decisions, even “stupid” little ones, without talking to each other. And it’s not like I’m just telling him what’s going to happen. It’s always a “What do you think?” or “Is that ok?” kind of thing. We can’t be successful without consulting our teammate.
2). We treat each other the way that we want to be treated. If you want to be listened to, consulted, cared about, or whatever, but you don’t give your spouse that same respect then it will never happen. Lead by example and your spouse will follow.
3). We are each other’s cheerleaders. We really don’t speak negatively towards each other. Now, some days are much better than other days. We attempt to encourage each other in so many ways– in our jobs, our personal fitness goals, personal life goals, parenting accomplishments, and more. Positivity feeds a relationship. Negativity is a sure way to cause tension, distrust, and decay.
4). We don’t speak out of anger. I get annoyed with my husband. Everyone gets annoyed sometimes. But I don’t lash out when I’m angry at him. That would just lead to me saying things that I regret and hurting someone that I care so much about. Take a time out and breathe. That thing about “Don’t go to bed angry” is a crock of crap. Sometimes you need to go to bed angry, but wake up in the morning ready to talk about things calmly and work together to solve the problem.
5). We overuse “I love you” and little bits of affection. I tell him so much that I love him. He tells me, too. We don’t go to sleep without a good night kiss. The first thing we do when we get home? Give a “hey babe!” and a kiss. It used to be that nothing else is said before that hello kiss, but times have changed since our household grew by one. Now it’s “What time did he last eat?” or “Why isn’t he wearing any clothes?” But really, it’s the little things that really keep the love alive, guys. Silly, playful flirting. Butt squeezes while making dinner. Yelling “I love you” across the house out of nowhere. Blowing kisses as he mows the lawn. It’s all so important to the health and communication of our relationship.
Life really has changed with a kid. I can only imagine the toll that multiple littles has on a relationship. It is so important, now with a child more than ever, to invest in our relationship. Remember, before you were three, you were two.
In closing, we really do try to live out Ephesians 5:22-33 in our marriage.
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.