Getting married is more that getting a piece of paper; it’s making a huge commitment. A marriage that works well is not a matter of good luck. You have to work at it and that means making some intentional decisions.
Scott Kedersha’s blog post “5 Things We Are Glad We Started From Day One of Marriage” got me thinking; what things have I done since “day one” that have helped strengthen my marriage to Candy?
So, further to Scott’s list, here are two of the big decisions I made to support my marriage.
1. Say “I love you”
We’re often told that we should “go with your gut”, or “follow your feelings”. But feelings are fickle and can change like the weather. Perhaps even with the weather.
The decision to enter marriage is not one to be taken lightly. It is not a whim but a serious commitment. One that we should expect to be “until death us do part.”
Over the course of a lifetime feelings will change. Massively. Words spoken in the heat of romantic passion may feel a million miles away from where we are now.
Optimists and pessimists are both right. What we say lays the foundations for what we believe. What we believe shapes what we feel.
My first decision was to tell my bride, “I love you” every day. Whether I felt like it or not. The decision to say I love you, even when I wasn’t feeling very loving was made in the knowledge that I would feel it soon enough if I didn’t already.
Sure, I’ve had moments over the last 11 years when I didn’t feel very loving, but as I look back now to our wedding day, I love Candy more now than I did then. I couldn’t imagine that would have been possible back then, but just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
2. Resolve conflict quickly
In 20 Days To The Marriage Of Your Dreams I wrote about our first argument. It was petty – really petty – and was whilst we were still away on our honeymoon. Oh, and I didn’t feel very loving at that moment either! But as I sat in the passenger seat of the car I knew that I had a decision to make. This argument could be allowed to fester as I justified my reactions and my position. But by doing that it would escalate and divide us. Alternatively I could nip it in the bud and set the pattern for the rest of our marriage. You’ll have guessed which option I chose, and I am please to say that the disagreements we’ve had since then have been short-lived.
What things have you implemented since day one?
Perhaps you haven’t made any conscious decisions to fight for your marriage. Whatever the state of your marriage (or even if you’re not married yet), it’s not too late to implement a new game-plan with new tactics. Give it a try, you may just be glad that you did.