Top Ten: Things Marriage Has Taught Me

This week marks our tenth anniversary. 3,650 days and nights(give a few for leap years), 520 weekends, 10 of each holiday…and innumerable lessons. Here are the top ten.

10. Always check pockets before washing clothes.  Flash drives, tax deductible receipts, and folded checks don’t jingle like coins…and yet they’re so much more valuable…

9. Food is important to men. I eat to live…a few crackers here, some fruit there. But he lives to eat…a meat-every-day kind of guy.  The importance of food has actually been a valuable learning experience for me. I’ve realized that taking the time to prepare food (not leaving him to fend for himself) is a way to show the big guy that I know what he likes. AND, it’s fostered communication between us about what he likes and dislikes (no cheddar cheese or yogurt…ever…ever). (If you’re engaged to be married, talk about food…it might be more important to your future spouse than you realize.)

8. ‘Organized’ is relative. I like neat and tidy. He likes to see it all…in front of him…at all times. I appreciate having a place for everything, and having everything in its place. He appreciates having everything in its place…in front of him. I can’t organize for him because it just confuses him. But we have established ‘areas’ for items that we jointly use…the office supply ‘area’, the tool ‘area’, the dirty clothes ‘area’.

7. Romantic comedies and country music are lies from the devil. Those men don’t exist in those forms. Women can’t change men to become those men. Movies and music are made for financial gain, not life guidance.

6. Men are sensitive. They may seem aloof and unaware sometimes, but they are not ‘stupid’. Sometimes they just don’t know how to respond in particular situations. They have emotions just as women do, they just display them differently. (Research actually shows that it takes men hours to process emotions that women only need seconds to process…they just need time.) Sentimentality exists beneath that tough exterior. They want to be the soldier heading into the daily battle for their damsel, but under their armor, they do have hearts. Again, communication is crucial to learning these areas about each individual man.

5.  Space is a vital frontier. Girl’s Nights are fun, but men need their Testosterone Nights, too. Be it in the man cave at home or the local pub down the street, they need time with their boyeeezzzz. When I have arranged time for the big guy to see a movie or go out for a drink with his peeps, he appreciates it greatly, even if he doesn’t say it. (see #6) It’s my way of telling him that I love him and I know his needs.

4. Get used to silence. While my mind is constantly racing with thoughts of the kids, the calendar, the jobs, the man, the relationship, his is just cruising along on its one track, usually focused on work. Silence does not equal dissatisfaction (the way it often does with females). He told me once (unfortunately recently), ‘I’ve only been mad at you once in the last six months. I’m usually just preoccupied with work.’ That was a strangely comforting statement. I could rest more assured that he wasn’t brooding about something I’d done wrong; he was brooding about work instead.

3. He has untapped potential. Marriage is a long time to be with someone. A lot of changes occur over the years. His job may change, his occupational focus may totally change. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…and sometimes fish jump out of the water and birds dip into the water. He may want to try something new, and he needs support to do it. My guy has started a side business and even bought out another one for expansion. He didn’t need my frowning disapproval or critique. He needed me as a sounding board and cheering squad.

2. A little talk never hurt, but a lot of talk did. Early on, when we had arguments, I would follow him from room to room, seeking resolution. But in a bizarre turn of events, the argument grew as we traversed through the house. After a shameful number of years of pursuing an end to arguments, he told me, ‘Sometimes I just need to process what we’ve said. I can’t give you an answer immediately’. As much as I wanted to avoid ‘not letting the sun go down on our anger’, I learned that the more useful solution was to just shut up. (See #s 4, 5, and 6).

1. ‘I love you’ isn’t always three words. The best thing this guy ever said to me was that I was ‘multi-faceted’. That was even before we were married, but he still believes it and sees it in me. I tell him, ‘You da man!’ when he accomplishes things. When he asks how the day has been when he knows the kids were off the wall, I know he’s being sympathetic and sensitive. I used to think that we needed to say those three special words at the end of every phone call, at the door every morning, at bedtime every night in order to have a healthy relationship. But now I know that hearing ‘Thanks for fixing dinner’ is really the same thing.

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For more great love tips, read 1 Corinthians 13 here.

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