When I got married in 2012 I couldn’t have been more confused on what marriage will actually look like for Jay and I. These days the idea of what marriage is and should be are confusing. Many believe it should be done like their parents, or in some cases the opposite of their parents. We are surrounded by unfiltered images through social media and television that display each persons own perception of a healthy marriage. Scrolling down my Facebook news feed is just one glorious example of confusing expectations of what married life truly is. All I see is everyone’s Facebook status’ about how great their life is and how much they love their husband and their family. They post countless photo’s of what their significant other gave them or where they went and what they did. It creates a false reality. Social media is a highlight reel. You don’t see the slamming doors, raised voices, or the nights spent going to bed angry. I am not stating that one should never post cute photos of the flowers their husband gave them or their surprise trip to Antarctica, but to take what you see with a grain of salt and not to compare your relationship to those around you.
Marriage should be your own adventure. An adventure with no preconceived notions of how each day will go or how your spouse should act and react. I might look on Facebook and see a friend get a dozen different bouquets of flowers a month and think “man that must be nice”, and feel insecure for a second that my husband may only get me flowers on real special occasions. However I then realize that it’s all fine because I’ll take Jay slaving over distributing 1000 lbs of mulch across our front yard without complaining any day. Jay doesn’t think about getting me flowers everyday, but what he does think about is so much better for me. He focuses on serving my family with acts of service. I don’t think I have ever seen him deny an opportunity to serve someone with manual labor. That is just the stand up kind of guy he is. So my point is, take your spouse for who they are. Find their strengths and their willingness to love you and run with it! It may not be exactly what you expect or desire, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sincere and heart-felt.
Last year I decided to make my New Year’s resolution about my spouse. Being a fairly self-aware individual, I knew I needed to expand the dedication I have to my spouse and to learn to serve him in a way that was best for him not me. As I have gotten to know Jay over the last 6 years I have found one thing to be true, Jay desires to serve others. This trait is one which I tend to take for granted. In my own life I desire words of affirmation. Words mean a lot in my world and can greatly impact my mood and unfortunately I didn’t quite realize this until after I got married. Jay and I’s differences, while at times complement each other, also bring stress to our relationship. That is why for the year 2014 I set out to serve Jay as he so often serves me. I decided to pack his lunch every business day for one year. While this may not seem significant for many people, it greatly impacted the way I related to Jay. The more I packed his lunches, the more I became aware of my own selfishness. While I was busy serving Jay with packing his lunch, I soon found that he also began to serve me with words of affirmation. Over the last year I not only saw a change in my own heart, but I found that Jay’s heart also began to change. I packed a total of 221 Lunches. Through each and everyone I learned a lot about myself and how to be a better wife. I would take great joy in sharing some of these lessons over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
Now with that said, New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep, but when you choose a resolution which will enrich your life they become just a bit easier. I didn’t ever pack Jay’s lunch before this year. It was actually a minor source of stress in marriage. So this year I decided to use the stressor and make it into something good. I wanted to learn to serve my husband better this year and I believe I started to. Making my resolution about my spouse was so much more fulfilling than doing it for myself. I challenge you, my gracious readers, to make a New Year’s Resolution. To choose to do more for others, volunteer once a month for a great organization, pray more, journal more, or spend more time with your family. Resolutions don’t have to be just about yourself, losing weight, or eating better. They can be so much more. One example is my resolution from 2013 where I wrote down one thing I was thankful for every day that year and it greatly impacted my life and how I related to others! I found myself to be happier, more gracious, and more forgiving. Choose to better those around you this year. Make a resolution and KEEP IT!
Have a Happy New Year friends!