October 3, 2011

marriage

October 1 was my one year wedding anniversary. Yaaay!
The year was fast and full and I’m so excited for the years to come. I got an e-mail awhile ago asking if the first year really is the hardest, and what I learned from it. Sometimes I hesitate to write about marriage because we are all learning as we go…even if you’ve been married for 50 years, you’re still learning, so what the heck do I know? Plus I think for everyone it’s different. It's going to be when you have two different people from different life experiences entering into a singular life path, so there is no set formula. But for us the first year wasn’t hard. I think before our marriage was the much harder part because we were working through a lot of our gook and learning to communicate and understand each other’s ways.





I saw a lot of what I didn't want in a marriage before I even got married, so I was determined to apply simple things to my own one day. What I have come to value and learn the most so far is that you have to create the atmosphere of unconditional thankfulness and love, and not for one day take for granted that this person decided to spend their life with you. And I don’t even mean that in the fairy tale cliché way. In real life it's not always in the mushy gushy love notes, gifts, goo goo eyes, and dates nights. That is romance, and while very important, the core heartbeat of the partnership is in the everyday routines and communication.

The unconditional love can come from just how you react to someone when they come in the door. Understanding is an action expression of love. I try to remember to take into account the day that he had, what’s on his mind, what he might want to do to unwind and refresh for a second. Its human nature to be like: well, what about MY day and what about what I need and what I want to do? Marriage isn’t about you. When you create an atmosphere of putting them first, its only a matter of time before they do the same because they appreciate what they have experienced from you. Might take some time of pouring into that atmosphere being built, and everything might not always be "perfectly even steven" but when two people really make an effort to put each other first (well God first of course, but you know what I mean) then both are taken care of instead of competing and keeping score about who does more or needs more. Cause that's no fun, we definitely didn't want that.

Unconditional thankfulness can come from the tone and attitude of how you talk to each other too. Creating an atmosphere where your spouse feels comfortable telling you things about their day, their thoughts, or being honest without an argument starting, getting jumped at, or feeling judged and demeaned is key. Saying “thank you” and showing our appreciation once they do something we asked them to take care of, instead of reminding them how long it took them to do it with a sarcastic thank you, is something so simple but can change shift the atmosphere to remaining positive and empowering. An attitude of entitlement is the quickest way to kill an atmosphere of thankfulness.

We are their wife, not their mother or boss. I never wanted my husband to feel like he needed a break from me. Anything they do for us should be appreciated and thanked, even if it’s something you think they should do… a real thank you doesn’t hurt anybody and it will allow the spouse to feel empowered to enjoy taking care of things. I know I enjoy cooking or making sure to get his favorites things at the grocery store when I know he notices and says thank you, and means it. Instead of just acting like because I’m the wife, I should cook and do all the food shopping...

We decided even before we got married, we would always talk to each other like Jesus himself was standing right behind the other person. Just imagine Jesus looking over your spouses shoulder at you when you're talking. Sounds almost a little funny BUT let me tell you, it creates an applicable standard of communicating in love.

Marriage is about building the other person up and being in position to carry out what God wanted to accomplish through you both coming together. Is it always perfect? No, but when you have 1000% open communication and thankfulness for each other, what could've turned into a  “rough patch” can instead just be a “good relationship building discussion.” And then you move on to enjoying other... and making goo goo eyes ;)










42 comments:

  1. You have the most beautiful posts! :) This post is so true...it really expresses the need for understanding and forgiveness, for team work and sacrifice, for unconditional love and gratitude toward another...simple beautiful darling! Great words of wisdom :)

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  2. That was some excellent advice Ashley!!! Happy Anniversary. You two are such a gorgeous couple!! Wishing you many many many more years of complete happiness, joy and lots of love!!

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  3. How perfect! Congratulations on one year!
    xo,
    Sarah
    http://comingunstitched.blogspot.com

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  4. Such wonderful advice. Beautiful post, miss. And congratulations!

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  5. Awww congrats!! You are one day ahead of us!! Hehe

    I like the tip on talking to your spouse as if Jesus was there. I never thought of that and it makes total sense!!

    The hubby and I started a book called love and respect. And it's great to understand that the husband loves the wife unconditionally and the wife must respect the husband unconditionally! Talk about conviction. :-)

    God bless!

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  6. Amen sister! It's so refreshing to see such a godly perspective on marriage...I think if a couple works TOGETHER, and are partners, they can get through anything! Congrats again! Hope your weekend was lovely!

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  7. happy anniversary!! you two are so cute together! xoxo

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  8. Happy Anniversary! I have a hunch that if you keep doing those things, you will have many more happy anniversaries to come! I think remembering that we are friends and helpers to our husbands is one of the key aspects to a happy marriage. My granny once gave me a great piece of advice about my marriage: "The tighter the leash, the more the dog pulls!"
    Happy Anniversary! love you!

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  9. oh man i need to remember to always talk to my husband and children like jesus was stand right beside them. because hello he is.
    this morning my attitude was foul, and getting worse by the second. i took a sip of coffee and at the same moment i coughed and coffee went everywhere. my thought is this...Jesus brought me back to reality.

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  10. Oh my goodness what a fantastic milestone! Happy anniversary!! I would LOVE to see some of your wedding pictures!

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  11. happy late anniversary sweet girl...I love seeing the happiness in your smile!

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  12. how sweet and wonderful!! Sorry I missed it but HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!

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  13. I love the idea of "talking as if Jesus is standing behind the other person." Much needed advice on my part. love it! Happy Anniversary you two look soo good together :)

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  14. I love this.... happy belated anniversary!

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  15. Congratulations to you two! We've been married just a year also and have loved it so far I think due very much to God's grace! Your writing here is beautiful. And p.s. the comment you left on my blog was so sweet. Thank you Ashley!

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  16. happy anniversary!
    love your perspective. and jesus IS always there right behind them, lord help me see and act LOVE.

    love you, sweet girl!

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  17. Amen and Happy Anniversary! Hopefully this was the hardest year of marriage you ever experience... that will make for one incredible life together :) Many, many blessings to you and your hubby!

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  18. you're so right about always learning. it's so important to remember that, no matter how long you've been married!

    happy anniversary to you, lovely!

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  19. happy anniversary! i think you are absolutely right about remembering to be thankful. it changes things!

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  20. I totally agree with it all! My husband and I had the worst first year of marriage. It got to the point where we both knew we were committed and didn't want to get a divorce but didn't know how to work it out. I don't know what brought it to my attention, but I started realizing I was blaming him for so many things and I wasn't looking at myself. Once I started to focus more on what I could do to be better, it changed a ton. We are going on 5 years now and although that's not a ton, we are both very proud to be here. Because we have been through thick and thin. We have learned so much and wouldn't change any of it, even the hard stuff, because we are so much better for it! Great post!

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  21. Congrats to you on one year. We had a bumpy 1st year. I hope this next year is better than the 1st for you two!

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  22. Happy happy Anniversary! Beautiful post...marriage is a beautiful thing..:)

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  23. Ashley, words cannot express how inspiring your marriage is to me and not only that, how inspiring your ministry is to me. I love you so much and am so glad to be your sister. you ahve always been part of our family and I never thought you would make the impact that you ahve made in my life just by my reading your blog. I will spread the word to everyone I know. I love you!
    Your sis- Rhonda

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  24. PS. I really can spell lol!!!!

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  25. Congrats! I haven't been married very long either but the lessons you've learned in the short time you've been married are so valuable and will carry you through the next 49 years!

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  26. THIS IS SO GOOD TO ME AND ALTHOUGH I'M NOT MARRIED YET, I RECEIVE ALL THAT YOU SHARED. ASHLEY, YOU ARE SUCH A BLESSING TO BE AROUND AND YOU JUST HAVE A TRUE HEART OF COMPASSION AND I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

    LOVE YOU,

    TONYA

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  27. Happy first year! This post certainly helped

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  28. great great advice chica! so happy for you!!

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  29. your posts are always just so beautiful girl!!
    xo TJ

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  30. Congrats on a successful first year! Great post, and great advice. Marriage is HARD! It's a two way street!

    You and your hubs look beautiful together. Hugs!

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  31. Happy Anniversary, Ashley! As always, this is such an eloquent and beauitfully written post...I so enjoy your blog. :)

    And for someone who has only been married one year, you sound far more experienced and wise beyond your years! Here's to another 80+ years with your husband!

    xo

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  32. congrats! I love this post, I'd love to re-post/quote some of your thoughts...so beautiful.
    Your blog makes me smile! :)

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  33. WOW, this is amazing! I have never read a more truthful and beautiful message. I really like the statement about imagining Jesus standing behide the other person while your talking to them...I've never thought about that. Love it! And will def start trying that. Thank you for this message! I'm a new follower and I'm Ashley too! :)

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  34. Aww happy anniversary!! LOVE IT!!

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  35. You are so wise! :) Happy Anniversary!!

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  36. Ugh, I'm so behind on my favorite blogs!! I'm trying to get caught up ;) I loved this post...and a belated congrats to you both!! <3
    P.S. I appreciate you!!! :)

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  37. Happy anniversary! Marriage is hard work and it sounds like you are working on it daiky'!

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  38. Happy anniversary! I love your images on your posts. They're so beautiful!

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  39. AMEN sister! Congrats on your first year! :) Great advice! Love it and agree with it all! xo

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  40. I just found your blog via a link in NSPottery. I got married just a few months ago (after being together for nearly nine years) and I LOVE every word you wrote. I forwarded your words on to my husband. I think he'll be moved by them, just like I was. Thank you and congrats! be blessed~cindy

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  41. I love the quote about how entitlement kills an attitude of thankfulness! love it, glad God is using you to encourage people.

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