Today I'm going to continue my little series on a few lessons I've learned through life.
Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I decided today I would blog about lessons I've learned about marriage.
For a little backstory, Mr. Farmhouse and I were high school sweethearts. We've been married now for almost 17 years.
We've owned three homes together, we are raising three daughters, and we are still head over heels in love with each other.
I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I do know that it takes hard work to maintain a healthy marriage and I do feel like we've learned some important lessons through the years.
So here are five pieces of advice for keeping a strong marriage.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
This might seem obvious, but trust me...it's not.
Listen first to understand what your spouse is saying and then talk.
Brené Brown talks about how our brains really crave "a closed loop" in situations, so we sometimes make up stories in our heads to fill in the gaps when we don't know all the details.
You know that moment when someone doesn't acknowledge you in the grocery store and you think, "Oh no...did I do something to offend that person?" or "I wonder why she doesn't like me."?
This is what Brown is talking about. We don't like unresolved loops in our brain, so we make up stories to fill them in.
And it happens in marriages ALL THE TIME.
So when something is bothering you...talk about it.
When you are unsure of the motive for your spouse's actions...talk about it.
Sit down and have real life conversation.
2. Be Present
This one goes hand-in-hand with number 1.
Put the phone away and be with your spouse.
Turn the television off and be with your spouse.
Carve out time in your day to be together.
When you are with your spouse, be fully there...not distracted by outside influences.
3. Find Out Your Spouse's Love Language
Here is a quiz you can take to find out your love language and the love language of your spouse. TAKE QUIZ HERE
When Mr. Farmhouse and I found out that his love language is quality time and mine is acts of service, this was a game-changer for us.
I learned that I needed to stop multi-tasking and trying to "get stuff done" and just sit down and BE with him.
He learned that doing the dishes or filling my car up with gas before I realize it's empty really fills my cup.
With that said -- I would encourage everybody to take the love language quiz because it is great for ALL relationships -- friendships, parent/child relationships, work relationships, and others!
4. Focus on intimacy
I'll make this short and sweet because I'm pretty sure my parents read my blog.
Ladies, even if your husband's primary love language is not "physical touch", he still craves physical touch.
Wives, commit to initiating an intimate encounter with your husband twice this week and see what happens. I promise, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what it does for your relationship OUTside of the bedroom.
Okay, moving on...
This next piece of advice might step on a few toes and I don't mean to do that, but I think it's a very important point to discuss.
5. Do not elevate your relationship with your children "above" your relationship with your spouse.
I know this is difficult to consider because, my goodness, those sweet babies are just our WORLD!
But there will come a time in 18-20 years, when those babies will grow up and move out.
During this season of the "empty nest", I've known so many couples who feel as if they don't know their spouses without the kids in the house.
Serve your spouse in front of your kids.
Put his or her needs in front of your own needs.
Schedule monthly date nights...just the two of you!
Take trips (after COVID)!
Sit on the porch together after the kids are in bed.
Love your kids well WITH your spouse.
Back each other up! Our kids have known from a very young age that if one of us says "no", the other parent will say "no". There's no reason to even ask. This is not to say they haven't tried!
Your relationship with your spouse will serve as a model for them as they build relationships when they get older. Give them a healthy marriage to watch & model in their formative years.
I hope these five pieces of advice were helpful for you.
What would you add to my list?
Spending this cold, cold day inside with the family here at the farmhouse,
There is a phrase that I have used over and over in my lifetime.
Life can change in an instant.
Until this point, I have used this most when discussing moments of tragedy in the lives of my friends and family members.
However, over our school's spring break during the first week of March, we started to hear more and more about the Coronavirus crisis in our country.
Within a few days of the original mention of the virus, we had extended our spring break into the next week...and then the following week...and then through the rest of March.
Just four short weeks later, we are now under a state-wide "stay-at-home order" and we won't be returning to school in the foreseeable future.
Just. Like. That.
Track season. Gone.
Piano lessons. Gone.
Dance class. Gone.
Family trips to the grocery store. Gone.
Eating out at restaurants. Gone.
Yes, life can change in an instant.
And just like that, we're navigating the world of "home-schooling". The girls have some assignments from school they are working on and we are really getting back to the basics of reading books for fun, exploring outdoor play, and being creative "just because".
Just like that, we're worshipping via Facebook Live on Sunday mornings and connecting with believers all over the country. We're watching sermons cuddled up on the couch and taking communion with homemade bread made by our daughter. The girls are spending over half an hour every morning studying God's Word together...an opportunity they would not have if it weren't for our current situation.
Just like that, we're practicing softball outside in the evenings, riding the ranger around the gravel roads, and having art class with sidewalk chalk under the sun.
Just like that, our house is clean, laundry is caught up, and we have decluttered more unnecessary belongings than I ever would have thought possible.
Just like that, we are eating out of our pantry and freezer, only going to the store for necessities. We're making meals at home and sitting around the table every single night. We are laughing and telling stories together and taking time to enjoy each others' company.
Just. Like. That.
Just a little over a month ago, we were meeting ourselves coming and going every night.
We were leaving the house at dark and getting home at dark.
We were running kids from one activity to another every single evening.
Yes. Life has changed.
There are many challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many scary aspects of this virus and I am thankful that there are so many people in our country taking it so seriously.
As we work to get through the current crisis, I hope and pray that we can be intentional in continuing to connect with people.
And maybe...just maybe, we will be able to use this time as a reset for our families.
A reset for our communities.
A reset for our country.
Maybe when we again have freedom to congregate, we'll remember what this time felt like.
So many stories of people helping people.
The everyday miracles that are coming to light during the time we are spending "stuck" in our homes.
Feeling hopeful in the farmhouse tonight, as we spend our time together -- apart,