I got a call once from the Relief Society President in our LDS ward who asked if I would give a small summary of how my husband and I make our marriage work so well. She said, “I just see you two in Sacrament Meeting snuggling up to each other all the time and acting so in love, I hope you can share some tips with the other ladies in the ward on how you are so happy in your marriage.”
I was flattered, to say the least, beaming from ear to ear because I also admire my marriage.
I know that my husband and I have something special. That we communicate well, laugh often, love big, and believe in each other. We had been told by previous ward members how they just watch us in church all the time, and aspire to be lovey-dovey like we are. And yes, we are not ones to cover up our PDA, but there is something deeper than just kissing and cuddling in the public eye.
Inner respect and the anxious concern for the other person’s well-being. Ultimately, being a friend first to your spouse and a lover second.
There is a switch that we can flip in an instant with my husband and I. A switch that I don’t know if I can describe in words. The first time it happened, I remember it being our wedding day. We were headed into the ceremony room, about to go in front of all our family and friends to be sealed for eternity, and my husband-to-be quickly grabbed my hand to calm his nerves of being in front of all these people and taking this new step in life. In a moment, he needed the comfort of a friend, not the romanticizing of a spouse.
This concept may be hard to grasp for the new bride or groom. You’ve just been married and all your dreams are supposed to come true. Your spouse is supposed to shower you constantly with romantic gestures, flowers, presents and always be at your beck and call. Just like every romantic movie being released by Hollywood today, your passion in your marriage will never die, and your husband or wife should always keep the expectation of perfection through their looks and actions.
This is an immature and hypocritical view that will only bring you sorrow throughout life if your marriage carries on forever in this unrealistic world of expectation vs reality.
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What happens when your husband comes to you with his sex addiction three years into your marriage? What happens when your wife can’t manage and save money the way you thought she would and you’re in debt? What happens when the thin ice of temporary love shatters and you fall into the cold dark water that should have been your foundation of friendship?
Our marriages fail when the desire to create a picture-perfect love in photographs replaces our desire for a person in your life who would unconditionally love you no matter who you are, what your status in society is, how much money you make, or what you look like.
I see a chink in the armor of marriage when comments like, “If he does this I’m happy” or “if only she would just do that life would be easier.” Do you remember when you were two young ducklings dating and falling in love? I remember hoping I made my boyfriend/fiance happy, and hoping to continually catch his eye, and making sure we were two people who could rely on each other emotionally and physically.
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We were willing to work for our relationship. How does that change once we got married? The scenery may change once you move in together, but you are still that couple that was seeking a friend who turned into a lifelong love.
Life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel (or in this day and age, a Nicholas Sparks movie). Though the stories he documents are from real relationships, they only highlight the passionate kissing and love-making involved between the lovers and brush over the day-to-day LIVING with one another and how that love lasts the long road. Never do you see a couple in his movies as one is pooping on the toilet and runs out of toilet paper yells to the other for some help and they save the day by tossing a new roll.
Hold onto the little things, not the big orchestrated moments, but the simple day-to-day devotion.
I can’t count how many times my husband and I will come to one another and say, “I need a friend to talk to, not my wife/husband but just a friend.” That person, that companion you’ve promised your life to, is ultimately the best friend you could ever ask for. They are the one who promised to be true to you through thick and thin. Trust that promise, God is in that promise and will keep you stronger together the more to come to one another than to any outside source (be it your mom, dad or other friends outside of your marriage). Don’t make them the enemy, ever, or the whole world will become untrustworthy and cruel.
I’ve found more understanding in my husband of five years than a family who has known me my entire life.
This is the magical fairy tale we are searching and striving for. Not the perfect kiss, the dream wedding day, the picket fence house, the Powersports toys, or even the picture-perfect family photo. All those things wouldn’t be desirable without that perfect someone, the friend of all friends, your spouse for eternity.