Hey friends! This is part two of Marriage, a guest post by one of our contributors, Ashley! She blogs over at Grace Mountain Diaries. I love, love, love this next part of what she has learned in her ten years of marriage! Enjoy!
THE IMPORTANCE OF PUTTING ONE ANOTHER BEFORE OUR CHILDREN
You would think I would have figured this out, since I already had to figure out that God was first and Greg second. But no. When I became a stay at home mom, after child #2, I felt responsible for every.single.thing my children did. This was not only unhealthy for myself and my children, but for my marriage. I didn't have time for Greg. It was a time of breastfeeding, pregnancy, and littles. And it was full. And exhausting. And hard. By God's grace, we got through it and learned a lot.
I will never forget one day, while at a church marriage class, thinking that everyone else was wrong. Greg could not be second, after God. My children NEEDED me. They literally could not do anything alone. My oldest was beginning some formative years and I NEEDED to take care of that. Greg could take care of himself. But my kids, they just couldn't. I remember thinking it would get better as they got older. These were all lies, bent on destroying my marriage.
I am so thankful that as I spent more time in the Word, I began to see the unhealthiness in my thinking. I began to see the distance growing in our relationship, and it hurt. Greg was still the most important person in my life, but I realized I stopped treating him that way. I stopped showing him how important and special he is to me.
This was an especially hard lesson for me to learn. Four children later, I think I have finally grown into my "mom skin." I am more comfortable knowing that I cannot control everything my children do. Instead, together with my husband, we can guide them. But that guidance begins with the healthiness of our relationship. We cannot guide anyone, when we are not walking together.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SERVING ONE ANOTHER
I am a selfish person. There. I said it. I wish that were enough. But we both know, it isn't. I am a quick thinker, a quick speaker, and I LOVE being right. I would prefer the world (or my life) revolve around me and my preferences.
Greg is (though a human, that does deal with sin) a pretty selfless person. It is easy to take advantage of his kindness. Just this morning, knowing he would not be home for bedtimes with the kids, he cleaned the kitchen for me. He knew I would be spending some time blogging and I would not get to some of the daily chores. So he served me. This comes pretty easily to Greg. He grew up in a big family, and as the oldest, he loved the responsibility of helping the others. I, though also an oldest, would prefer to do nothing. As I have aged, I have grown in this. But in my sinfulness, I let myself be served more than I am willing to serve. I make great excuses - I have 4 littles that I serve all.the.time. I am exhausted, I literally "work" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and I have no vacation or sick days. Yet in reality, that doesn't hold true. I sleep in on weekends (don't get too jealous, sleeping in here means 7:30.) My husband is gracious and helpful around the house, and he works all day too. When he comes home from a long day, he doesn't sit on the couch and watch TV. He jumps right in and helps get the littles to bed, helps to finish dinner, and a lot of night, continues his work once the kids go to bed.
It has taken me a long time to pause, to stop putting myself and my desire for rest first, and to remember that my husband is important to me. And to show him that means thinking about him, his rest, and how he feels loved.
This principle also extends to disagreements. They are not about me. I do not need to win, because really, if I win, we both lose. A lot. I have had to learn the power of words. And come to really understand that we are one. When one of us is hurt, we both are hurting. But how much worse that pain is when I am the one doing the hurting. And when Greg feels loved, we both feel loved. That old adage, happy wife happy life, could not be more false. A healthy marriage is not made because one is happy. It requires selfless love between the two, so that both are happy, and truly one.
Now, 10 years of marriage later, I see two people, that were quite opposites all those years ago, becoming one person.
We are on the same team. We have learned from our mistakes, from life. And we are growing. We are still learning to manage life with young children, a big family, but we are doing it with grace and love. Love for others, but most of all for our God and for one another. We look forward to what the future will bring, but in the meantime, we are living, learning, and endlessly growing.