Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Ten: The Best Marriage Advice

It's been really fun and cathartic for me to write about marriage in this little space, and I have so appreciated all of the wonderfully kind words from you, my reader friends. Today, I wanted to share my favorite marriage advice so far. These words are not my own, but I added my own little comments to share about how each tidbit applies to me and Rory. A few months ago at the Influence Conference, I attended two revival (breakout) sessions- marriage and writing. The following tidbits are from my notes from the marriage revival, led by the amazing Kristin Winchester. I hope these little insights bless and encourage you as much as they did me!

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

1. Talk and listen.
- For us, this means that when there's something important we want to discuss (or maybe just when we get home from work) we put down the phones, turn off the tv, and look each other in the eye. It makes a big difference.
2. Date each other.
- When we were dating and engaged, we made sure that Tuesday was our date night and that it was set aside. Now it's different, because we live together and see each other much more often, but we still try to set aside Friday nights as time when it is just us.  It usually involves food. :)
3. Get creative.
- This can be applied in oh so many ways. I think that for me, I try to come up with different ways to encourage Ror and tell him I love him, because encouragement is one of my gifts. It could be leaving a sticky note in a place where I know he'll see it, or it could be baking his favorite treat just because. The little things make such a big difference and aren't that difficult.
4. Have an accountability partner.
- This has been so huge for me. While we were dating and engaged, one of my best friends, Teresa and I, got so much closer as we began to talk on the phone weekly (sometimes biweekly) and talk about prayer needs in our lives.
5. Pray together. Apart. All the time.
- We try to pray each morning before work and every night before bed. I love hearing Ror pray for me and for others in our lives, and it is another way that we stand together in unity.

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

6. Have sex.
- I'm not going into specifics here because my mother reads this blog, but um...make this a priority. For reals. A friend once said to me that before you get married, Satan wants you to have sex, and after you get married, he'll do what he can to make sure you don't have sex. It's a big deal, peeps. So...do it.
7. Give a lot of grace.
-This one is one that I will learn every day for the rest of my life. It feels wonderful to be on the receiving end of it, though.
8. Love each other where you're at.
-Again, one that I am learning very slowly, but oh so important. I think that this one is very closely related to expectations and assumptions. It's not my job to change Rory, it's to love him and help him as he continues to grow into the man God made him to be.
9. Don't try to pull each other over to the "right" side.
- This is sooooo important. Whenever Rory and I have a "growth opportunity" (what author Lysa Terkeurst affectionately calls arguments between her and her husband) I sometimes can bury my head in the sand and want to somehow force him to come my way. Let me just tell you that that strategy does. not. work. Plus it's super disrespectful and selfish.
10. Learn how you communicate.
- I feel like communication was something that Rory and I (well definitely I) prided ourselves on before we got married, but again, it is something we are learning each day. It is really easy to assume that the other person knows your intentions, but again, friends, it just doesn't work like that.

And a freebie bonus from my sweet, dear friend, Suzanne Chambers.

11. Cultivate a grateful heart. 
- This piece of advice is not only good marriage advice, it is good advice for life. As a follower of Jesus, my life gets much grander in my perspective when I take a step back and remember that the Creator of the universe is on my side. I can be much more grateful when I realize that I've pretty much got it made compared to millions around the world that live on less than a dollar a day. Seems dramatic, but when I get frustrated with my husband, kids at school, or just various trials, the Lord so often speaks to me and reminds me that I need to get a reality check. Because reality is that He is good all the time. I could compare everything in my life to the nth degree and constantly want for more, or I could give thanks for what I have and for what the Lord is doing in and through our marriage. Lord, help me choose the latter over the former.

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