Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marriage 101


Jarrod and I recently celebrated our nine year anniversary. Now there is a chance I may be biased but we have the best marriage of any couple I know! Really it is so good and so easy. 

I told Jarrod recently that we should write a book about how to have a successful marriage. His response, “that would be a short book.” He told me his opinion on why ours works so well. It’s really quite simple. Put the other person first! 

No way! It cannot be that simple. One reason I knew this to be true it that I don’t really put others first. I would have a very good marriage to me! But it just does not come naturally to me to think of others. I like me, I like to give me what I want, and meet all of my needs. 

Jarrod is always putting my needs above his own, thinking of what would bless me first and making me number one priority. He is so much better about it than me. But I leaned somethings during this conversation. (because my husband is so wise, and very good at helping people see things clearly)

Jarrod started pointing out the areas in which I do put his needs and wants above my own. I hadn’t seen it before, but he was right. As he rattled off this list I began to protest. “Well yes, but those are such simple things. I don’t consciously think, ‘I am going to make sure the freezer is stocked with Jarrod’s popsicles so that we will have a good marriage’ I do it because you love them and I love you.” 

Come to find out this was his point exactly. This sounds like a silly example, I know. But it is the simplicity of it that makes it so beautiful. Let me show you another way this has worked, on a much bigger level. Every few months Jarrod sends me away to spend the weekend scrapbooking with my mom. He watches all four kids by himself and I am “off” for 36 hours of fun. 

Now, let me just say my husband works very hard - but instead of thinking “Boy, I work hard I could use a break?” He realizes that I also work hard and if he wants a break chances are I probably also want one! This in turn gets me thinking, “Gosh that time away to play is nice, I bet Jarrod would enjoy that too.” And so the cycle begins. 

In nine years this concept has seemed to spill over into every area of our marriage. Because my husband is most always thinking first what would be best for me and now also our kids I can plainly recognize that his decision making is done with this in mind. It is so easy for me to trust the choices he makes, not because he has never been wrong, but because I know they have been thought through with my best interest in mind. 

Recently we made a big decision for our family. Jarrod and I had prayed together about it, talked about what was the most biblically sound thing to do and ultimately left the final say to Jarrod. The choice he made was a good solid one...and it came back to bite us in the rump. We are STILL paying for it. Sometime later Jarrod told me how much he appreciated my not getting upset with him for having made what seems to have been the wrong choice. “Why would I?” I asked, “You were doing what you thought best for us, you could not have seen this coming.” He makes it so easy for me to trust him. He doesn’t demand my honor and respect he earns it every day in the way he cares for me. In doing this I have slipped so easily into the habit of caring for him above me as well that I had not even noticed. Because he has shown me by example what it looks like and because it is the natural response to the honor and respect he pours out on me. We don’t always do this perfectly, but it has become so natural that it is not work. Our marriage is pure joy and security. 

I am sure you more seasoned couples are thinking “just wait” and I know we have not faced every challenge a marriage brings. But I will say these past years together have been extremely eventful and we have not wavered in our commitment nor our love. Marriage to Jarrod is a piece of cake and it turns out I’m not so hard to live with either. 

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