If I’ve learned one thing in the last almost five years, it’s that marriage requires A LOT of intentionality. Great marriages don’t just “happen”. They take work and prayer and much patience. Zach and I have only been married a little under five years, but we’ve learned a few things in this short amount of time that have been really helpful when navigating life with your spouse. And I’ve realized that all of these things require intentionality.
First off, don’t sweat the little things. I know this is easier said than done, because when something pushes your buttons it’s hard to just push it aside. But really, I can tell you from first- hand experience, the small things really. don’t. matter. And it requires intentionality to take a moment to ask yourself, is this worth it? But of course, sometimes, it’s not just a little thing and it is worth it. It’s worth having a hard conversation about the matter and growing together as a couple. But more often than not, in light of eternity, making “your point” really isn’t worth the battle. Because in reality, after arguing for a while, you almost always forget what it is your arguing about in the first place.
Another thing we’ve learned in our marriage thus far is that you cannot be everything for your spouse. I cannot be everything Zach needs, and he cannot be everything I need. It’s crucial that us girls have our girlfriends, and guys need their bro time- even after we are married. A healthy marriage is one that includes other people- friends and family that make up a safe community that holds us accountable in our marriage. Your marriage will be the best it can be when you let other people pour into it. Obviously, these are people you trust and people who champion your marriage. A great way to determine who these people are is with a simple test. When discussing difficulties you are having with your spouse, do they encourage you to solve your problems and grow from them? Do they refrain from putting you or your spouse down? Do they instead lift you both up in order to make you both stronger? A confidant who genuinely wants the best for your marriage will always build your spouse up, to help you remember to see all the good you fell in love with in the first place. They will not put your spouse down in order to make you feel good for a moment. And this brings us back to intentionality. Finding these people takes intentional work. You have to be careful and wise about who you let in close when it comes to your marriage. Zach and I have been blessed with family members, a few couples we really lean into , and a small group that we’ve been apart of for the past 3 years.
I hate to break it to you, but your spouse is not perfect (for those of who you are newlyweds ha!) This means that your spouse at some point will disappoint you. And you will disappoint him or her. Marriage is two imperfect people joining together to do life as one, which means that at some point there will be difficulties. So in knowing this, you have to be intentional to choose to see the good in your spouse. There will be many moments where you are tempted to focus on the things that frustrate you, or that you wish were different. But if you set you mind on those things, it will eventually destroy you. This kind of mindset will block you from intentionally choosing to see the good. You fell in love and married this person for many wonderful reasons, don’t ever lose sight of that.
Lastly, be intentional to HAVE FUN with your spouse. Now you may ask, why does that require intentionality? Well if you have kids, you know that life gets busy. Life gets full of activities and schedules and managing the day-to-day. When you begin a marriage it’s easy to assume the “fun” will always just be there. But it takes intentionality and work to make sure you keep that aspect of your relationship alive. And I would encourage you to do so! It’s imperative if you want to keep your marriage healthy. Your marriage will not thrive on just the “business” side of living. On date nights, Zach and I have a rule that no “business talk” takes place. We do not share business or kid updates. Instead, we intentionally take the time to simply connect with each other and have lots of fun.
These are just a few things that require intentionality in marriage, but really have helped Zach and I thus far. Our marriage is nowhere near perfect, but we are striving to be better for each other each and every day. And I can say even though he drives me crazy at times (and I know I do as well ha!) I love Zach more today than I ever have. Our marriage gets stronger through each season and it makes me excited for the next 20 years.