There have been a lot of weddings lately! I attended my old roommate Christy’s wedding just a few weeks ago. (This is Christy’s, and by default, our household’s, signature pose. We all look pretty amazing after five years, if I do say so myself.)
My friend Anita was also married around the same time. She and one of her bridesmaids, Darla, and I knew each other back in middle school. Darla had the cool idea of putting together a book for her. She asked me and some other women who know Anita to put together some marriage advice for her.
Being the awesome friend I am, I procrastinated and missed all three deadlines to get the advice into the book. Sorry, Anita! (And Darla!)
So in an attempt to remedy that in some way, and to encourage all the newlyweds out there, I am posting my best marriage advice here. This is from all my experience of five years, mind you. So clearly I’m an expert. Kidding. This is the best marriage advice I have…for now.
The advice is:
Don’t keep score.
This has happened throughout our whole marriage, but it was only after the baby was born that I really noticed it. If James did something sweet or kind for me, like cleaned my car, I’d feel guilty until I did something “back”. If I did something to benefit James or our family in general, even changing a diaper, I felt like he “owed me”. It could have been anything from household chores, to taking care of Theo, to even major life choices, like careers. It all became one big list of checks and balances.
At the end of the day, neither my entitlement nor my guilt benefits our marriage. My relationship with James usually reflects my relationship with God, and I can do the same thing with him – if a blessing happens, I feel guilty. If something challenging happens, I feel like I have to make up for it. But God doesn’t work like that – neither does James.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace is unearned, and we can’t pay it back. It’s a free gift. Love gets stale when it’s all about what we do for each other, and not about each other.
That’s definitely not the only challenge we’ve encountered so far. Fights and mistakes happen, and you just have to take them as they come. But marriage is awesome. It keeps getting more awesome with time. I was always scared of growing out of the “Honeymoon phase”, and losing the romance, but that hasn’t happened.
Congratulations, Christy and Anita! You were both gorgeous brides, and I am so happy for you!