My husband and I recently celebrated our three year anniversary and it had us thinking… The first few years of our marriage were marked by a lot of change. This definitely kept life interesting, but also made our transition into marriage more stressful. In our first three years together we moved a total of six times, Kwadwo held six different jobs and we had two babies.
Our relationship has had its fair share of growing pains, but we’ve thankfully grown a lot along the way. After three years of marriage there are four main lessons we have learned that have helped keep our marriage strong and healthy.
What We’ve Learned
- Accept your spouse for who they are –
- Avoid being critical and let go of being in control.
- Accept that you can’t change the other person.
- Doesn’t mean you can’t lovingly and patiently go to your partner and make a request or correct them. Understand that they are (hopefully) trying to be a good spouse. Avoid being negative about their mistakes. Rather be patient and positive. Accept that you may live life with someone that doesn’t meet all your expectations. That’s OK and normal.
- Let go of bitterness, resentment, entitlement. What you’re going through isn’t exceptional and appalling. It’s just human relationship.
- Keep a forgiving, humorous, kind perspective.
- Avoid repeating negative patters your saw in childhood –
- We repeat what we saw in childhood, the good and the bad.
- In my case, I was raised by strong, independent women and had to learn how to relate to my man in more respectful ways.
- In Kwadwo’s case he’s had to work on being affectionate and tender, coming from a family that didn’t regularly show physical affection.
- Seek to serve your spouse –
- Have a mindset of: I’m going to love and be lovable to met my partner’s needs. Versus thinking: I’ll only love and be nice when and if he meets my needs and satisfies me first.
- Seek to understand, then to be understood.
- Avoid acting based on how you are treated. Be consistent in loving and serving your spouse and they will be more likely to reciprocate the good behavior.
- You are only responsible for your actions. You only have control over yourself. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
- Love like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- Remember you’re a team –
- There’s no place for antagonism and division in a strong team. That will lead to loss.
- Work together, let criticism be constructive, and all in the name of winning together!