Sometimes we get married without fully understanding the complexities of this new dynamic. In the landscape of a marriage, peaks and valleys mark milestones and challenges that were either celebrated or overcome. I ask myself today, “What lessons did I learn in marriage?” Given that I don’t want to live my life like a soap opera as one of the characters that relives the same lesson with different lovers or die and yet don’t really die,” as you put it, Grace, then I need to be reflective.
Lesson #1 – Placing Number One on Top of the List
In my marriage, God was not a priority. Actually, Grace, Adam didn’t acknowledge God. He would laugh at me when I went to church so I felt discouraged to go at times. I know in my future relationship, I’m putting God first. With God, all things are possible and I have faith that he will take care of everything for me.
Lesson #2 — Communication is Key
Communication is so important to marriage and in any relationship. Whether it’s expressing myself or letting others, communicating what we feel, think or believe opens space for so much more. When I can freely communicate my feelings without being invalidated, I know I am respected and valued. When I can articulate my opinion without being patronized, I know I am respected and valued. When I can share my beliefs without being snickered at, I know I am respected and valued.
Lesson #3 – Silence is not Golden
In conflict, I don’t want to accept the silent treatment. I feel being ignored is one of the cruelest forms of emotional abuse. I feel like I don’t belong, like I’m invisible and this just doesn’t sit well with me. If there is conflict, I would much rather discuss it openly and immediately to resolve the differences and come to an agreement or compromise.
Lesson #4 – A Home is as Good as its Foundation
God is at the base of any good home. I realize that building a home requires a solid foundation from which to hold up the walls and ceilings. If God, in addition to our values and beliefs, is the foundation, then it is up to us to construct the walls, spending time together to pray, be present to the moments that God gives us and live in gratitude for what we have been blessed with. The ceilings we apply are only there to set clear boundaries, expectations and commitments to each one living in the home. They are not meant to be constricting, but symbolize the loyalties to one another to be faithful and committed to each other.
Lesson #5 – Scheduling Adult Play Dates
Adam and I failed to schedule time to play and have fun as adults. We forgot the playfulness and flirtations of a new relationship. We forgot to make time to be with each other. We forgot the foreplay of having sex. Actually, Grace, we forgot sex! I have vowed to not let this happen again. I know in our busy schedules, we don’t make time for our own play dates, but rather schedule our kids’ play dates and extracurricular activities. But I figure, I better schedule mine with my future partner, before he decides to schedule his own extracurricular activities like Adam did!
If I can remember these lessons and apply them as criteria for my next relationship, I’m one step ahead and one less statistic for a second divorce. Oh, my, did I really think that?!
Visit in the next day to learn what Grace shares on Pearls of Grace