At the beginning of our marriage we started reading a book called "His Needs Her Needs : Having an Affair Proof Marriage." It's an ongoing read for us and I can't even sing this books praises enough. We just bought another book called "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail." We've always been firm believers in proactive work against issues that married couples WILL face during some point.
I remember that night before we went to City Hall in Chicago to get hitched. We flipped through a book that talked about big issues couples need to agree on before going into marriage. Things most people talk about long before getting married, usually while still dating. Religion, children, friends, living situation, etc.
The day we did get married we bought that first book (His Needs Her Needs) after Doc Handsome had taken it upon himself to ask the chaplain on base there at Corps School what he reccommended. And immediately started reading it.
So from day one with books, long talks, advice from others, and even marriage counseling, we've always tried to prepare ourselves for the usual challenges of a marriage. I mean afterall, that's all you can do right?! Prepare yourself and dive into a lifelong commitment to the one you love.
But there are some lessons you just learn as you go through life. No matter what others tell you or what you read, it just comes with experience. And recently we've learned two huge marriage lessons.
One: If you want something done a specific way, than you have to do it yourself. Once you hand overe the task to your spouse, you've relinquished all say so in the matter. For instance, Doc Handsome and I have very different views on what a clean house is. Let's just say I'm a bit more of a detailed freak. I want the books in the bookshelf to be lined up with the spines all the same distance from the ledge. And of course I expect the magnet on the fridge to be in some type of order. But let me clarify. Our house is rarely ever in this sort of condition. I mean after all, we are parents to a one year old. At this stag,e it's almost pointless to put anything away. But when we do a massive cleaning session, I would like it spotless. Well Doc Handsome has a different view. He does a lot of straightening up and rearranging of things. Neither of us are wrong in how we do it; it's just different. But the thing we're learning is just this. If I ask Doc Handsome to clean one night while at work, I am letting go of the responsibility and respecting his way to do the task. Simple as that. I can't expect him to do it my way. In the same manner that he wouldn't expect me to change the filter when doing my own oil. Because all I'd do is refill the oil.
It's such a simple concept but one that's really , hard to wrap my head around even now. I struggle with it constantly.
Two: Besides one of the biggest needs of men...ahem, let's just say intimacy. (Sorry to both sets of parents that you just had to read that!) Men need to feel respected and women loved. Of course, it's yet again so simple. But really one that takes work we've found. We both need reassurance that A.) He is the man of all men and B.) I am a loving and nurturing mother and wife. Respect and love. It is what God intended for a marriage anyways so it makes sense that the two go hand in hand.
That's what has been floating around in my mind this past week. We went to a wedding on Saturday for a couple of friends since Doc Handsome was a groomsman. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and after a week of huge revelations in our own marriage, it was a really good way to capstone it all.