Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Vows Behind Marriage

As I was scrolling down my Facebook feed last night, I came across a post with an attached article. It was called "5 Reasons We Can't Handle Marriage Anymore". Part of my soul inside broke when I saw this article. Why, in 2015, do we have such a high divorce rate? Why are so many marriages ending? Why are so many couples unhappy? 

I immediately began looking back on my childhood. All of my friends' parents were happily married. My friend's parents lived together, both worked, and worked together to raise their children. There was never any talk of parents separating. There was never any talk of parents cheating on each other. There was never any talk of parents even fighting. Sure, my parents had a disagreement here and there, but there was never yelling, never fighting, and never the feeling that I would have to worry about them getting a divorce.

So why are today's married couples so unhappy? I don't really know the answer to that. But what I do know is how important it is to live our wedding vows every day. The vows a couple says on their wedding day are the most important words they will ever speak to each other.

It's the time when they promise to give all of themselves to each other. 

It's the time when a promise is made to honor each other as man as wife, for the rest of their lives.

It's the time when they promise to be true to each other - whether it's in sickness or good health or in good times or bad times. 

It's the time when they stand before God and their family and friends and promise to love each other all the days of their lives. No matter what happens. No matter what hardships they face. No matter what difficult roads they end up traveling down. 

So what happens from the time these vows are spoken until it's decided that the couple isn't happy being together anymore? That things just aren't working and that they aren't willing to make things better? I have no idea.

But what I do know is how my husband and I live the vows of our marriage every day to each other. How do we do this? 

1. We treat each other with respect.
Putting each other down? Never. It just doesn't happen. Even on the days of my pregnancy when I was uncomfortable and feeling horrible, he was there telling me how beautiful I was. We don't ever name-call, yell at each other, or do anything that would make us feel less respected and valued. 
2. We never go to bed angry with each other.
Every couple has disagreements. No where in our vows does it say that we have to agree on everything. But we never, ever go to bed angry. We talk it out and make sure that we understand where each other stand and we resolve any disagreements. I learned this from my parents. They never, ever went to bed angry with each other.

3. We find time to do things together - even if it's folding laundry on a Sunday evening. Or making the bed after washing the sheets.
It's tough finding time to do things together once our sweet little JB is in bed. But even on the days when we are utterly exhausted, we manage to spend five minutes on the couch together. Or we make our lunches together. Or heck, we even empty the dishwasher together.

4. We kiss each other good morning and good night, every night (except when he's away on business).
Because there's no better way to start the day with a kiss and end a day with a kiss! :)
5. We take care of each other when we're sick.
Whether it's running to the store to pick up medicine, entertaining the baby so germs don't spread, or fetching tissues... We make sure to take care of each other when we aren't feeling well.
6. We allow each other to be open and honest. We listen to each other. We offer a shoulder to cry on. We acknowledge that some days are just rough days. We work to making the next day better.
Our marriage isn't perfect. But it's perfect for us. We remember that each day is a new day and a fresh start. 

7. We wear our wedding bands every day.
Wedding bands are a symbol of eternal love. It is a way to acknowledge our commitment to each other. It's also a reminder of the love and faithfulness that we promised each other on our wedding day.

8. We find the time to do "sweet nothings" for each other - a foot rub after a long day, a sweet note in a lunch bag, a romantic text during a hectic work day. 
New parents know this better than anyone - life can be hectic. So in-between grabbing bottles and washing baby clothes, it's so important to sneak little signs of love for each other. Our recent signs of love? A few weeks ago I made a mix-cd of my favorite love songs and snuck it into my husband's car before he left for work. Oh, and last weekend, I woke up to a Pandora bag on my nightstand with two beautiful charms. Little things like this are the "sweet nothings" that we are constantly doing for each other. 

Blaming finances? We recently went through financial hardship when I had to take a leave of absence from work to take care of our very ill baby girl. We sat down, laid our budget out on the table, and made it work. We didn't need fancy date nights or a new wardrobe to show our love for each other. 

And outside factors like social media? I still don't get what that has to do with failing marriages. Yes - my husband and both have Facebook and I pretty much live on Instagram. But causing our marriage to fail? I don't think so.

While no one can predict what's going to happen tomorrow. Anything could happen. But when a man and a woman stand before God and say their vows, those are the most important words that they will ever speak. 

So, I don't know about you, but I think there needs to be more articles on how beautiful marriage is. Not on why people fail at marriages.

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  1. Yes! Amen sister! I really think a lot of it is people share and read the controversial. You don't see as much about how well a husband and wife are doing. But that doesn't mean it's not happening!!!

  2. The little things matter the most, and everything on this list seems so important. I'm pinning this.

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