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Your Marriage Is Worth Fighting For: And Other Lessons Learned From Other’s Failed Marriages

In honor of Sweetest Day… a post about the most important person in my life – my loving husband!

From as early as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of true love. I’ve been a hopeless romantic since the time boys had cooties. I enjoyed sappy love stories, and fantasizing about a romantic date where the man of my dream would sweep me off my feet.
Enter – the man of my dreams – my wonderful, loving husband, Josh. In the completely cliche stereotype, I tell people “I wasn’t looking for love – it just came knocking at my door one day.” But, it’s true. Josh is the yin to my yang, the Antony to my Cleopatra, the Ethel to my Lucy. He walked into my life, and immediately filled a hole I didn’t know I had. I’m blessed to have found a man that makes me laugh on a daily basis, but also challenges me to continue being the perfect woman that I am to grow and become a better person. (LOL – sorry I couldn’t help it!) He truly is an amazing man and I don’t know what I would do without him.
But before I lose you, and you leave this blog post behind because you just can’t read one more disgustingly romantic statement, its important that you know, that for all of his great qualities, there are things about him that frustrate me to no end on a regular basis. How can a person fail to get dirty clothes IN the hamper – as opposed to directly beside the hamper? Why is there an accumulation of cups in our master bedroom, when he has perfectly good feet that carry him DOWN the stairs every morning?
Far too often we focus on the negatives. We vent to a good girl friend about how annoying our spouse is (Yes, me too! A very dear friend of mine, whose name shall not be mentioned to protect the innocent, is all too familiar with the complaints I find in my husband.), or we go straight to the root of the problem and tell our spouse every last aggravating thing about them to the point of complete blood bath within our home. But as most of us have figured out – dwelling on the negative, makes it incredibly difficult to be happy in your marriage or find peace in the not-so-perfect of real life.
This week we received the very sad news that friends of ours have lost the battle to maintain their healthy marriage, and have separated. These are friends we’ve had for many years. We attended their wedding, and they ours. We have been to birthday and celebration parties for many milestones of their family’s life. They seemed to be the perfect, crazy match for one another, and yet their marriage failed. What has happened to modern society, that when you marry in the United States you are more likely to get divorced than remain together for life?
Something is wrong. Our society is riding a speeding train headed straight off a cliff, but only the brave are willing to jump off before its too late. The brave ones are less than 50% of married couples. I don’t want to be in blissful denial about the state of my marriage. I want to take it by the reins and tell it where to go. I want to put in the hard work and effort a good marriage requires. We’re worth it. Josh is worth it.
As with all major life moments, our wedding came along with a whole slew of well wishers AND those offering their advice – wanted or not. Five years later there is one suggestion that has always stuck with me – your marriage is worth fighting for!
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I remember when, I discovered the book ‘The Surrendered Wife’ by Laura Doyle (available for purchase on Amazon) based on the recommendation of a treasured author. I borrowed my local library’s copy & began reading right away. Wow – Laura Doyle had a few terrible shocking ideas that almost made me put the book back down. “Which do I want more: to have control of every situation or to have an intimate marriage?” she asked. (Darn it Laura Doyle – I want both and I’m sick of people telling me I’m a control freak!) This probably won’t shock you, but it turns out she was right. My husband is capable of making good decisions on his own while keeping the welfare of our family at the fore front of his mind. He is capable of making decisions without my input, period. It’s a work in progress (honestly, I think my husband would tell you I still struggle with this regularly), but the point is I’m trying. My marriage is worth fighting for.
A few months after having read ‘The Surrendered Wife’ – which I hadn’t told my husband about based on the author’s advice – I downloaded a free e-book recommended by a blog I enjoy, also about marriage. This habit seemed like a Marriage ‘Best Practice’ 101 idea: read books about marriage & absorb wisdom of those that have walked before you & in return you will see your marriage blossom. Turns out I never shared this thought with my husband, because a few weeks later when he turned on my iPad and there on the screen was a marriage advice book, he was worried. “Are you unhappy with me? Is there something wrong with our marriage?” he asked me. Lesson learned… tell husband when you’ve had a revelation that reading about marriage experiences from successful marriages will be a positive experience BEFORE he has minor freak out that something is wrong. My husband’s peace of mind is worth the conversation. My marriage is worth fighting for.
While distracting my mind jogging running, I’ve been listening to Kat Lee’s podcast ‘Inspired To Action,‘ as I try to convince myself I enjoy running. I’m new to the Inspired to Action blog & podcast – so I apologize if you’re a regular listener, and you heard this like a year ago when it originally aired – but episode 18 was new to me and POWERFUL! Amanda Carroll talked about how she has struggled since her divorce, and would give just about anything to have back the things that used to drive her crazy – like her ex-husband leaving cups on the bedside table (eerie parallel to my life made here). It really drove home the idea that although there are things that drive me crazy about my husband – the ability to have someone to feel that frustration about is a gift that I need to appreciate. He is here & he is committed to this marriage – that’s what matters. So I will continue my Surrendered Wife journey, because… (you guessed it!) my marriage is worth fighting for.
When we started our Total Money Makeover journey about two years ago, we were gifted the Financial Peace University (FPU) class, after having called in to the radio show to ask a question about my student loan debt compared to our monthly budget. It was at week two, of the nine week class, that we learned a major lesson about marriage. Healthy marriages are on the same page about money. According to Dave, most failed marriages blame financial issues as a reason for their divorce. We had thought we had similar goals and ideas about money – but it turns out there had been a few major differences. The fight that resulted from that particular class was pretty monstrous. We had a lot of mixed emotions & expectations to hash out – but miraculously that experience hasn’t really been repeated since. For the most part we agree on our financial plan & goals and any issues are resolved fairly quickly and painlessly. As a rule, I usually regret and feel bad about the fights we’ve had as soon as they’re over, but in this case, I don’t regret our FPU Week 2 fight. It has resulted in one of the most amazing changes to our marriage – we’re on the same page about money. At this point, it goes without saying – but I’m a creature of habit, so  bear with me please – my marriage is worth fighting for. 🙂
And just when I thought I’d learned enough lessons to last me awhile, my son taught me the greatest lesson about my marriage of all. View your spouse through the eyes of your child. My son looks at his daddy with the most loving eyes. From my son’s perspective, my husband is the most amazing man to ever walk this planet. It doesn’t matter if daddy got frustrated when he spilled his orange juice last week or if his daddy wasn’t super excited to run around the house while home sick from work last week – to him, his daddy is his whole world. We should all be so lucky. I will continue to improve my role as a wife and mother. I will continue to learn from my mistakes and move forward to make better decisions. I have to. My marriage is worth fighting for.
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What lessons about marriage has life thrown your way? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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