Today marks the 3 year anniversary for me and my husband, Ricky! I am so blessed to be with this man — he is the BEST! In the 3 short years of marriage that we’ve experienced, I have learned so much about myself. I always joke with people and say I’m going to travel the country with a seminar entitled “Marriage is a Mirror”. It TRULY is. Marriage is the one relationship I’ve been in that has made me see myself more clearly than ever before in my life. I’ve had to confront attitudes and behaviors in me that were never challenged before and it has changed me for the better! To commemorate our 3 year anniversary, I thought I’d share the 3 most important things that have helped us in our marriage so far:
- COMMUNICATION- Goodness gracious, if I could write this one down 3 times, I would. (honestly, the next 2 things are probably sub sections to this one — that’s how important this one is!) My personality is naturally to be a people pleaser. I never like to ruffle feathers or make anyone else feel bad so if I’m upset about something, I would rather keep it to myself and SUFFER than to offend anyone and say anything. We found out very early on in our marriage that that was a recipe for DISASTER. If I got upset about something, I would shut down. I could go 3 days without saying much of anything. (I can do anything I put my mind to.) Those 3 days would be SO miserable for the both of us. It was awful. It would feel like my whole life was on hold and I couldn’t function normally in all areas. Throughout the years, WE’VE (both of us working together to resolve OUR issue! We’re a TEAM) discovered the reason why I would go into stealth mode. First, when something happens, I like to think about the incident and before casting blame on my husband, I want to make sure that I did not play a large part in why I am upset. Secondly, I like to mull over my words and choose them carefully because I don’t want to say anything that I would later regret. Once we realized this and my husband learned my cues and my BUTTONS (ha!), it was so much easier to communicate. My “shut down” time has decreased from days to a few hours (I still need time to process!! lol). Even in my processing time, I am able to function and talk and joke and laugh. Life is so. much. easier. when you communicate
- DYING TO SELF- Marriage works BEST when each person is concerned about pleasing God and then pleasing your partner. Ricky and I knew from the very beginning that we wanted our marriage to please GOD
first and foremost. Our relationship is not just for our enjoyment but it’s to bring God the ultimate glory. We strived (Lord did we strive) to stay pure during our dating/engagement period and by God’s grace, we were both virgins when we got married. Even in keeping God first, however, we had to LEARN how to put each other’s needs second. It’s so much easier to look out for self and to think mostly about your own feelings instead of that of your partner’s. I have found so much more fulfillment and joy when I have Ricky’s back and he has mine. We’ve made it a point to find out each other’s love languages and work at improving how to best show each other love. I could tell Ricky I love him all day but nothing makes him feel more loved than when I out my phone down, turn off the TV and spend time with him or when I fold his laundry and put it away. He needs acts of service and quality time to FEEL loved and as his wife, those should be the main ways I show him how much I love him.
- RESPECTING YOUR PARTNER’S BOUNDARIES- One of the most important pieces of advice Ricky and I got was on our wedding day from one of our Pastors who preached at our ceremony. Pastor Mullery Jean-Pierre told us “Don’t try to change each other. Melissa, Ricky is not a little Melissa. Ricky, Melissa is not a little Ricky.” I can’t make Ricky think and act like me and vice versa. We knew before we got married that I was more of the free spirit and Ricky was more serious and we were going to try to reconcile those differences. If and when Ricky doesn’t like something my job is not primarily to say “oh come on seriously?? Lighten up” and if and when I do something, Ricky’s job is not to say “You need to think more like me!” Our job is to respect each other’s points of view and try to compromise. The funny part about that is through prayer and learning one another, we have changed for the better. I have become more responsible in some aspects and he has “lightened” up in some areas. It wasn’t through nagging or trying to convince the other person to be “more like me” but through growth and prayer. We’re enhanced and better versions of ourselves for sure!
Ricky and I are not perfect. We still work on these things and MORE each and every day. Marriage is still a mirror and we are still discovering ourselves and each other. Children add another angle in which we look and assess ourselves. But I know for a fact that I love Ricky more now than I did 3 years ago. I know I am where God wanted me and with who God intended for me to be with. Ricky is an amazing provider for our family and a GREAT father to Russell. He is my best friend with who I can be completely myself with. I can’t thank God enough for him and I am so grateful for our little family what God has for us in the future. 3 years down, 100 more to go. Happy Anniversary to my forever love.