Today I’m doing something a little different. I was committed to the idea of sharing how I’ve learned so much through marriage, but I felt like the story would be incomplete without the input of the very person I am married to. I’d like to extend a warm welcome and introduction to my best friend and partner, Jared.
Alicia: I didn’t know much about being a wife until I actually became one. Like many women I believed that the transition from girlfriend to wife was going to be simple. After all, we’d already lived together and had children. What could I possibly have to learn? As it would turn out a whole lot.
Jared: Seven years ago I would have never imagined I would be married, have two kids (another on the way) and live half a day’s travel away from the world I grew up in. I always knew I would get married and have children but could never have imagined my life as it is today. When I met my wife the thought of any kind of serious commitment flat out scared me. At the time we started seeing each other I didn’t feel I was financially or emotionally mature enough to handle a relationship let alone children. It’s funny how life can force change on you whether you think you are ready or not.
Jared: Stumbling Out the Gate
Let me preface the words I am about to say by stating I love my wife very much. I wouldn’t enjoy life nearly as much as I do now without her and my children. That said I wasn’t all in when we first got married. I thought I will give this a shot and if it doesn’t work or she gets on my nerves too much I can divorce her and start over. I don’t need to tell you how immature my view of marriage was at the time. The first year was one of the most ridiculous power struggles I have ever seen. Neither of us were prepared for marriage or the give and take a successful marriage required. We argued, we yelled, we were selfish and it showed. It took a lot of prayer, patience and new outlook on what marriage really meant before we would become a couple.
Alicia: There Is No Mine in Marriage
While we were still simply dating, I still viewed the money I made as mine, the choices I made as mine to make and yes even sometimes viewed the kids as mine. The reality though, is once you get married you two really should become one. Spending any money especially on major purchases should be discussed with your mate. A budget that you both agree on should be set. In the beginning I was so bent on being independent that I totally missed the concept on having partnership. I would spend then expect hubby to fix my mess. (If you’re reading this I hope you forgive me lol)
I would plan things to do with the kids and just expect that he would fall in line. I would make plans to go out with friends and not ask what his plans were. Basically I was pretty selfish.
Part of being a wife is knowing that your husband is your headship. There are many who believe that’s an antiquated notion. If that’s the case, this article is definitely not for you. My submission to my husband is not an enslavement; it’s a respect for him as my provider.
Jared: Praise Jah
To quote one of my favorite lines from Coming To America, “You know I didn’t come here to preach to ya’ll tonight.” However I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the impact Jehovah God has had in terms of my growth as a husband. I had to learn how to respect my wife as a weaker vessel from a Biblical stand point. Women are delicate things similar to an antique vase. You wouldn’t toss something as fragile as an antique vase around like a football. You may put it on display but protect it and ensure everyone knows that it is to be handled with care. This is how a husband should respect his wife. I also had to learn that my job as a husband is to lead my wife spiritually. We study the Bible together to learn how to be better mates from a scriptural stand point, we pray together, and we encourage each other to stay spiritually focused (when our natural inclinations tell us to do otherwise).
Alicia: Sex is Not a Tool of Manipulation
I can remember watching television shows and movies when I was growing up where the wife would want something from her husband and would dangle sex in his face to obtain it. Or there would be some sort of disagreement and as a result the wife would withhold sex. This is normalized and viewed as OK but in reality you’re reducing sex to a thing as opposed to the sacred intimate act between two people who love each other. Sex is a way to draw closer and share an expression of love. If at any point you think withholding sex is a means to bargain; you’ve pretty much reduced your worth and value to prostitution.
That’s not to say I didn’t try it in the past; but I learned very quickly that in my trying to punish him as if he was a child; I was losing out myself. While I may jokingly say this with my husband these days, I totally know better than to actually do that.
Jared:, It’s Always Going to Be a Work In Progress
Please remember you never will have it all figured out. Seven years hasn’t been enough time (and we have been together for ten total if you really want to start from the beginning, still not enough). A relationship is a flower that must be watered, fed and occasionally you will have the weeds that want to pop up. If you nurture it are patient it can flourish and blossom into something beautiful you can call all your own. If however you choose to let it just go wild it won’t be nearly as lovely. You have to know it always isn’t going to be a smooth ride. Your spouse may piss you off, they may hurt your feelings, and they aren’t going to do what you always want them to do. We are human beings, when we accept that we are not perfect these little episodes become a lot easier to swallow. The more we grow, learn about each other and take care of one another this moments of frustration grow fewer and further in-between. Things get even better when you learn to share your mates’ feelings.
As a couple you should always be striving to move in one common accord. Hate what your spouse hates and love what your spouse loves. If there is something bothering your wife directly you should share her frustration even if you aren’t directly impacted. She should do the same when the shoe is on your foot. When you reach that level of bonding and sharing marriage begins to click like a well-oiled machine. I’m a slob but because I know my sloppy habits frustrate my wife and a cleaner space will please her I strive to please her. It has improved (not perfected, I am sure she will confirm) my approach to cleanliness.
Alicia: Don’t Keep Account of the Injury
Arguments will and do occur. Even if you’re the most in love, disagreements will happen. What shouldn’t happen is using arguments to pick at every little flaw your mate may have. It takes away from the real subject matter at hand. It also belittles your husband and bruises his pride which can be pretty emotionally damaging whether you know it or not. Husbands don’t always have the answers, and often times they process things differently than we do. This doesn’t give valid reason to attack his character or to keep track of everything he does wrong. Personally when my husband has pointed out one bad thing about me, it hurt my feelings; so it taught me that picking at a barrage of things about him wasn’t the best move.
Alicia: He Needs Affection Too
I love foot rubs, back rubs, flowers and kisses. I love feeling like I’m his Queen. Guess what? Husbands like these things too. Sure he may not want flowers delivered to his job, but he sure does appreciate the back and foot rubs and sweet kisses and caresses that you can bestow upon him. It costs absolutely nothing to show your mate how much you love them.
Us: There’s No Rule That Says You Have to Fall out Of Love
For a long time I listened to women complain about marriage. If we believed everything I’ve heard them say, marriage is a pretty unhappy place. There’s always talk about how things change and you eventually won’t be as in love down the line. And that maybe true IF you don’t work continuously in your marriage. Marriage is an entity that needs life, needs breath given to it and needs to be nurtured. Whenever I’ve found that I’m not as in love it was because I stopped working. Yes children, bills, finances, life can change things. But, it is a choice to allow those things to dictate how much effort you put into your mate. I have grappled with depression all my life. This can be a pretty selfish disease which in turn easily can throw me off my game. Happy to say that despite the trials, tribulations, and mistakes we’ve made; we are able to see our efforts pay off. Even when we irk each other’s last nerve, we are more in love today than we were just a year ago. We still feel those butterflies, we still can’t wait to get off work and see one another and cuddling at night is the best thing ever. We know we’ve only been married 7 years and there’s a strong possibility our minds might change… But for now, we are content with our lessons.