Picture the scene: The bride in all her wedding finery–veil, train, hair done up, make up–walks down the aisle, her hand safely tucked into Dad’s arm. The groom stands waiting for her in his tuxedo and a goofy grin plastered on his face. The strains of the wedding march glide on the air. Those in attendance dab tears from their eyes or smile in delight. It’s wedding season. According to Sound Vision, 2.3 million people are married each year and about 1/3 of those happen durring the summer months. That’s around 777,000 people in the US alone! No wonder it’s called wedding season.
Back to our picture. The bride has arrived, the father has given her away amidst many tears, and the groom now stands with her in front of the officiate and their witnesses. They are ready to state their vows. Vows–promises, committments, pledge, oath.
A vow is a serious promise to do something or to behave in a specific way. ~Merriam-Webster Learners Dictionary
Traditional vows state that the couple will accept the other member as their spouse in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse until death parts them. How many of us who are married really understood those vows on our wedding day? Did we truly realize that we were saying we’d stick with this other person until our dying days? If so, why then are one-third of the 2.3 million people being married each year being re-married? The same amount of people being married in the wedding season are on a second or third marriage!
Somewhere along the line, we’ve lost the vision of our vows.Tweet
In just under a month, I will have been married for twenty-four years. Over the course of that time, I’ve found a few things that have helped our marriage stay healthy. Has it always been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Oh, yes!
1. Don’t Focus on the Negative
A wise person once told me to never speak evil of my spouse to another person. Have there been times where I’ve been hurt and I’ve been ready to spew? Yes. However, somehow, I have been able to think before speaking.
Early in my married life, Mom shared a comment from a recent widow. The widow used to complain about picking up dirty socks after her husband. Later, when her husband had passed away, she mentioned to Mom that she would love to have to pick up dirty socks. Any time I begin to grumble about serving my husband, whether it’s picking up dirty laundry, folding clothes, or clearing dishes out of the bedroom, I think, “At least I have a husband to clean up after.”
2. Keep Romance Alive
This is a two-way street. Both spouses need to remember to speak love to the other. It doesn’t have to be expensive–a dinner for two at home where both dress up, a sunset outing, or playing a game together. I’ve heard of some people setting aside five minutes a day to just connect. They call it “Couch Time” and even trained their little ones that when Mom and Dad sit down on the couch, it’s Mommy and Daddy time and the kids have to wait. Be creative. We’ve had dates that started with the briefcase. If that briefcase showed up at work or any place, I knew I was being ‘kidnapped’ for an evening. The case held my change of clothes. Sometimes it just was a surprise dinner date, other times it was an elaborate weekend away.
3. Foster Shared Interests
Early in my married life, I realized that when my husband Eric would ask me to join him on a shearing job it wasn’t because I was the greatest farm help–I’ve never been the greatest or the fastest at taking care of sheep or wool. It was because he wanted to spend time with me. My times on the shearing job has dwindled over the years, but I still make a point of going with him on his smaller jobs once in a while.
Over the years, we’ve learned to foster hobbies that we both like. I’ve joined martial arts classes. That was a fun couple of years. I tested for my yellow belt in Aikido when I was eight month pregnant! My rolls were a little ungraceful, but it was fun to work together as a couple and as a family to perfect our athletic skills. If you look closely enough in my writing, you’ll find various Aikido moves in the fight scenes.
The most recent shared interest has been photography. Eric has grown in the last year in portrait photography. I have become his assistant. I’ve learned a lot about posing, how the camera sees things, and how to appreciate amazing photography. Just yesterday, we spent eight hours together enjoying a beautiful wedding. Eric took the main photos, but he had our daughter for backup, me for a third camera and his organizer, and our youngest son as a fourth lens.
My hope for you would be that you would foster your vows. That you would take the time to recommit yourself to your spouse.
You see, when we’re all starry-eyed at the altar, we don’t realize that our spouse will have bed-head, or stinky breath, or even not think about what he or she says.Tweet
We later get caught in the mad cycle of he didn’t show me love; so I didn’t show him respect and the cycle never ends. Sometimes, it just takes a moment to think back to that day, maybe far away, maybe closer at hand, when you made a committment to love, honor, and cherish your spouse. Take one more minute and renew your decision and then act on it.
Need more ideas? Just comment below. My husband and I have had many zany and even everyday dates. One of our more memorable ones can be found on Becki Brannen’s blog. My eyes glowed for days on end after this renewal of vows on our thirteenth anniversary.