Now, I'm still learning, so don't interpret this to mean I've "arrived" or have some super, deep wisdom beyond my years. No. It's more like the things I knew to be true, I found out really are true, and the things people said were true that I doubted, well they were true too. And there were also things that I discovered to be true for myself and my marriage. Here's just a few marriage insights and tips:
1) Never go to bed angry
I thought this was cliche. Before I got married, this was the most resounding piece of advice I heard. It didn't really make sense to me...until I got married. It's much better to lay it all out in the open, "fight it out" (a fair fight, mind you), and come to some sort of resolution, than try to sleep with a bitter and resentful heart. It's just no good. It's better to stay up and find a "fix."
2) Be patient with your spouse, and yourself
People don't change overnight. Most likely, you and your significant other are not perfect (shocker). When you put two people together in the most intimate relationship God created, sparks are going to fly, and not always in the positive sense. Remember 1 Corinthians 13? What's the first line? "Love is patient..." Your spouse is going to hurt you, offend you, annoy you, etc... You are going to hurt, offend and annoy him/her. Your even going to hurt, offend and annoy yourself!!! Have patience, know that marriage is an intense learning process, and remember you both submit to the best Teacher.
3) You find what you're looking for
My husband pointed this out to me, kindly (what a man), and it's oh so true. I'm slightly OCD and very detail oriented. I hyper-analyze people's motives and intentions, and tend to read into things. I also notice anything that is less than perfect in my environment and those I'm closest too. And it's not fair. For every "flaw" I find, my husband has 10 other shining qualities I fail to see. Finding flaws does two things: discourages/hurts your spouse and hurts you. Nothing can be perfect, so you'll never be satisfied.
4) If one person wins, NO ONE WINS!
I cannot stress this enough. Marriage is a union of 2 imperfect people with very different views on life. Compromise is essential if you want to survive. If you win your battle, making him surrender to your demands, you both lose. Marriage is teamwork. In a book I read, it pointed out ways to resolve conflict. You can find a mutual compromise, you can agree that your spouse is right (or they agree you or right), or you decide the issue can be confronted later (a not now approach). Whatever the situation, waving the white flag is more noble than going down in the heat of battle.
5)Never forget the Love Triangle, EVER!
It's you, your spouse, and God. God is the glue that binds. Your love for each other is only as strong as your love for God. C. S. Lewis quote: "You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God." You can't. The strength of your relationship depends on your dependency on God, both as a couple, and individually. Never sacrifice your own quiet time. It's paramount.
I have so many more thoughts, but that's all I've got for now.
Learning to Love,