Because of the ever-increasing need for efficiency in my life, I'm falling back in love with a list. I'll make a list out of anything these days. And because it's a rainy Friday night and I'm so very glad to be enjoying it at home, my brain is relaxing. And because my brain is relaxing and it's a rainy Friday night, I'm making some cookies that I will simply say are going to have their very own post soon. And because my brain is relaxed and I'm baking cookies and I have to stay out of my fuzzies until I go pick up Brenna at 8:30, I decided to sit down and make a list that I've been thinking about for awhile. About 20 years, actually.
(*** I interrupt this post to address The Spanish Expert (Brenda? Amanda?). Thank you for calling me out on my Spanish skills. I believe "hombre" is the word I should have used. Thank you Spanish/English translator. And I'm sorry to my high school Spanish teacher.***)
Anyway, back to the list of 20 and my relaxed brain. I've been thinking a lot about how fast 20 years have gone by. I've listed, in my head, 20 highlights of the last 20 years. I've thought about the top 20 things I love about Brad. And on and on my thoughts have gone.
But what I settled on for this is 20 reasons we have a happy marriage. Our happy marriage is not a happy accident. It's not a lucky break. It's not because we have figured it all out. It's not because we don't have problems. We are both aware of the fact that we don't have big beastly issues that we deal with, and we are so grateful for that. But we also are aware that we have been very purposeful about some things. There are things that may seem small in the moment but really have big impacts. It all adds up. We started young and grew up together, individually and together. Lots of bumps and bruises along the way, but no breaks. We've both been dumb jerks and messed up plenty, but we've both also received and given lots of forgiveness. Two incredibly imperfect people do not live together for 20 years without needing to forgive and be forgiven! So some of these have been from the get-go, some have been learned along the way!
Just over a year into our marriage, my mom began her long road of terminal illness. That strongly shaped us in many ways. We saw the fragility of life. We saw how temporary our life here is. In our very early years, we were forced to be continually aware of what really matters.
So this is no way intended to be "advice" or, heaven help me, a pat on our back. It's just for fun. It's just for me to reminisce. And it's for my kids, who I pray will someday look at our marriage as something they aspire to for themselves.
20 Reasons We Have A Happy Marriage
1. We each chose someone we liked.
2. We each chose someone we were very attracted to.
3. We each chose someone who had a relationship with Christ...a growing, active relationship, not just a belief.
4. We waited. It can be done. Saving yourself for "the one" can save you from a lot of baggage. And now it's always okay.
5. We have mutual respect for each other, and express it regularly.
6. We are very affectionate with each other. We hold hands a lot. We hug and kiss every day.
7. We say "I love you" every day. But more importantly, we show it every day.
8. We fight fair. Mostly. We aren't afraid to argue and disagree, we'd rather get it out and express ourselves and know we are always being honest.
9. We forgive quickly and completely. (Brad from the get-go. Me? Had to learn.)
10. We spend time together. Not just "quality time", but quantity! Every Thursday night for the last 12+ years, with very rare exception, has been our date night. We eat dinner together alone, without kids and just hang out. Almost always at home. The kids have grown up with this, so even they will say, "Tonight's your date night!" We taught them from very young to respect that time. Translation: to leave us alone!
11. When we say something we don't mean, we take it back. Somewhere along the way, most of us are taught that you need to be careful with your words (true) because you can never take them back (not true). We all say something stupid that we wish we could take back, right? So we gave each other permission to "take it back" and try again.
12. We both put the other person's needs ahead of our own. When we both do that, it's a win/win.
13. We laugh with each other, at each other, and at ourselves.
14. We make eye contact. It's so easy to forget to stop and look at each other. I married a man with amazing eyes: the color of chocolate!
15. We speak highly of each other to other people. We do not trash talk each other.
16. We choose to stay best friends. We do fun things together. Lately, that's been running together or biking or even a very occasional swim. (Just to make him happy.)
17. We set each other up to succeed. I've said for a long time that I'm his "set-up girl", providing the assist for his goal. Whether it's reminding him of important dates he needs to remember, or slipping him an email about a kid that needs something from him, or sending desserts to work with him to make people like him (ha!), I set him up to look good.
18. We never make a big financial decision without being in agreement. Unless he's surprising me with something, we always know about major purchases before they are made. Total disclosure. Oh, the stories of stereo speakers purchased...when we didn't own a stereo... Let's just say we've taken the long road to learn that one.
19. We talk to each other. We LISTEN to each other.
20. We pray for each other. Big one. It's pretty great to see how praying for each other makes all those previous 19 things so do-able. And we know that:
"Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecc. 4:12
Now it's time for my fuzzies. The end.