Happy Wednesday! We are halfway through the week! Woohoo! Today I'm linking up with Shay and Erika for Workin' It Wednesdays. If you missed my first link-up, sharing my goals for 2017, you can find it here. Today, we're talking about how we keep our marriages strong. Man, I can't wait to go through all of the other posts, because Lord knows, this is a subject we all need help with wherever we can get it!
I think we can all just be honest and say that marriage is not easy. If you talk to Ben and I at any time about marriage, we will definitely tell you that it is 100% worth it, but that it is a lot of work, and it is tough. At least the Bible warned us about it!
Ben and I are always working on our marriage and trying to make it better, so I would love for you to comment with any extra advice you have. I always joke with Ben and with others that Matt Chandler always says that the first 7 years were really rough, but they have gotten so much better after that. Well, we will hit 7 years in July, so I'm just crossing my fingers that we hit our groove after that! :)
This is from what I call our first date. Ben would tell you he took me on many dates before this, but I called them "hang outs." I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn't ready to start dating yet, but Ben pursued me like a champ. I just couldn't help but fall in love with him!
We met at Baylor while I was dating someone else, and after that relationship ended, Ben pursued me something fierce. I would say that that summer was the best summer of my life! I have so many amazing memories with Ben that I will never forget! We started actually dating after he got back from studying abroad at the end of the summer and were engaged a little over a year later.
We dated for a year together at Baylor, and then I spent my senior year at Baylor while he was out in the real world. We really only lived in the same city for 9 months together before we were married, and after we got married, I would say that was tough. Ben was used to being on his own in his home town and I was in a new town all by myself. Phew! That first year was a hard year! I would never take that year back, but I remember so envying my best friend who moved away with her husband for their first couple years of marriage. It brought them so much closer together. So friends that are not married, that is my advice...if you can get away together and just figure it all out on your own, I think that would be absolutely amazing!
That being said, Ben and I have grown so much in the past almost 9 years that we have been together. We are opposites, but the same if that makes any sense! ha We are both definitely stubborn and hot-tempered, we both love to be around other people and we both adore our families. On the other hand, our love languages are different, I like things neat, tidy and organized (also I never lived with a boy before marriage other than my very clean dad), Ben is definitely not organized and can stand a whole lot of mess, I am a planner and Ben would rather spring things on me last minute, and last but not least, we came from totally different families which has been an adjustment for both of us. All that to say, we have had to put a lot of work into figuring this marriage thing out, and this is what we try to do as often as we can. Remember...we are human!
Spend time together and with friends too
In order to stay connected, we definitely need our one-on-one time together. We do our best to schedule date nights whenever we can. Sometimes we do something new and fun, and sometimes it just means going to dinner and having uninterrupted time to chat with each other. One thing I have learned is to not place too many expectations on date night. You just have to be with your partner and enjoy them! We also try to plan some date nights with friends or plan dinner together and then meet up with friends after. Like I said, we both love being around others. We both really enjoy seeing each other happy and full of life when we are with our friends, so we try to make as much time for them as well.
Pursuing our faith together and apart
The hardest times that we have had in our marriage have been when we have lacked in our pursuit of the Lord together and apart. When we are actively pursuing the Lord by going to church together, talking about our beliefs, our questions, etc., and both studying the Bible on our own, our marriage is 10 times better. When I realize that Ben is never going to be able to satisfy all of my needs, things go a lot better in our house.
We were much better at this pre-Henley, but Ben and I love traveling together and taking the time to plan vacations away from our families is so important to me. This is when we actually relax together. We usually end up making friends wherever we go and we are able to be so silly with each other. Traveling is something that I absolutely love, and I love doing it with my best friend even more!
Prioritizing family time and alone time
There is nothing I love more than being with my little family! Not to mention, when we say no to other things going on and just enjoy time together, my love exponentially grows for Ben. There is nothing better than getting to see Henley have tons of fun with her dad. I can probably say the same thing for Ben. He enjoys watching me be a mom and his loves grows watching me get to do what I love. Now, as fabulous as time together is, we also need our alone time. Ben is way better at this than I am, but I am working on it every single day. Ben has hobbies that he enjoys and I have hobbies that I enjoy. While it is nice to do those things together sometimes, we also need time apart to do them. He needs time with the guys, and I need time with the girls. I am working on making more time for this, so hold me accountable girls!
Last, but CERTAINLY not least...the good stuff!
Now, I'm not going to go into details here, but in my opinion, the honeymoon stage should never end! At the end of the day (or in the middle of the day...or in the morning) you need to make time for each other. Now, I am repeating this to my mama self who some days just has too much going on to make time for the bedroom. It is so important for intimacy to remain in a marriage and for husband and wife to stay connected in that way. MAKE TIME FOR EACH OTHER AND KEEP IT INTERESTING! That's all I'm going to say there, friends!
Like I said, I would love any other advice you have! We are a constant work in progress!