This is Jamey and I on June 19, 1999.
This Sunday we will celebrate our 12th anniversary. I look at these pictures and part of me thinks, “it seems like yesterday”. Another part of me thinks “who ARE those kids?” I also think “wow, I wish they had the cool digital photography then that they do now! We’d have much cooler wedding pictures:)”
A few months ago, I was riding around in my very fancy red sports car (a dodge caravan), with my 3 kids. I had them fairly tuned out by the country music station I was listening to, until Chloe screamed “stop kicking me” at Max. I turned down the radio and said “Max, why on earth are you kicking your sister” and he said “because I want her to play with me”. I heard myself say “and you think kicking her will make her want to play with you?” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought “how many times did I do that in the early days of my marriage. If Jamey was gone more than I liked and I missed him, I let him know it by being aggravated with him, snapping at him, or by blowing the cold wind in his direction. I’m sure that was a very inspiring way to get him to spend more time with me:) I’m so thankful the Lord has mentored me beyond that among other things, though I still have much to learn!
After the wedding, I found out my idea of marriage was
slightly (immensely) different from Jamey’s. While I never would have realized or admitted to having these thoughts or expectations at the time, I can look back and see how hilarious some of my notions were…..for instance, I thought:
1. He would plan romantic dates all the time and marriage would be like one big date. (haha)
2. He would never get mad at me. After all, I’m a really cool person. (haha)
3. He would think all of my ideas were terrific. I’m a pretty smart cookie. (haha)
4. We would have the money to frolic on the beach every summer. (haha)
5. He would know how to load and operate a dishwasher and would take the initiative to do so. (haha)
6. He would always enjoy watching movies while “spooning” on the couch. (haha)
7. He would watch chick flicks without complaint just for me. (haha)
If you asked Jamey what his expectations were, I probably don’t know them all, but I’d bet it would include nightly back and foot rubs that I joyously provided, 5 course meals each evening, and a spotless home that I cleaned in my stilletos after a hard day’s work. HAHA!
In all seriousness, I am very thankful to be married to my best friend. While all of these former expectations have gone out the window, Jamey and I have learned a lot in 12 years of marriage and 16 years together. 12 years isn’t a lot if you are comparing it to your 30+ years, or it may seem like a lifetime if you’re a newlywed or not yet married. Either way, we’ve had a lot packed into our time together– the births of 3 children and 2 churches, 2 miscarriages and the burial of 1 church, times of financial blessing as well as distress, 4 moves, terminal illness and death of family members, depression, oppression, and anxiety, as well as times of joy, laughter, datenights, and rejoicing. It’s ALL part of life. It’s ALL part of marriage. While we have a great marriage, it doesn’t happen automatically or without effort. Here are some highlights of the best things God has taught us so far:
1. Personal growing relationships with Jesus flow into the relationship and make it better, stronger, and more stable! It’s the foundation and the thing I am most thankful for in my husband!
2. Love and respect are commandments, not feelings. Feelings ebb and flow, but when we act on love and respect, even when we aren’t feelin’ it, the feelings DO return. And treating our spouses with love and respect is NOT contingent on their behavior!
3. Humble yourself and be willing to give and ask for forgiveness, even when you don’t feel like it (forgiveness is also a decision, not a feeling!). See the pattern????
4. Date nights and kidless trips are important! Spending time together to focus only on each other and your relationship, refreshes, renews, and reminds us of our love for each other. It also provides security to our kids that mom and dad love each other and value their relationship!
5. If you’re always looking for faults, you will always find faults! Celebrate the good in your spouse and look at them through eyes of grace! They are different than you- and that’s a GOOD thing! Look for the good!!!
6. When problems arise, have those difficult conversations. Don’t make any subject taboo! The tough times can bring you closer than before!
7. Seek counsel when needed! Every marriage needs it at some point! It’s smart, it’s strong, and it’s healthy!
8. And my very favorite: The Golden Rule. “Do unto others, as you would have them do to you”. Luke 6:31 or “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
How much better could our marriages be if we applied this principle to our spouses. How do you like to be talked to? How do you like problems with you to be addressed? How do you want your spouse to speak of you to others? Do you want your spouse to compare you to other people? Show your spouse love and respect in a way that makes THEM feel loved and respected. Isn’t that what you’d like them to do for you? It’s amazing how changing your language, tone, facial expressions, and consciously doing things you know will make them feel loved, respected, and appreciated, can change the tone of your home. Find out what makes your husband or wife feel loved and respected. Then do that! Don’t wait on them- be brave, be first to take action! And have fun with it:)
I am sure you have many more words of encouragement based on your own experiences. I’d love to hear them for my next 12+ years! OR just for fun….what are some of the expectations YOU had going into marriage?
And Happy Anniversary to my best friend, Jamey:) I love you more than ever!