I'm going to start with one of my biggest pet peeves. My husband and I got married fairly young. We were both only 21 years old and were the first of our friends to get married. It was difficult not having any married friends. We would get attached to a friend's boyfriend or girlfriend and then they would break up and it would be super awkward. Really the only example we had of marriage were our parents (we weren't really active in church at this point in our lives). We had been married for around three years when we started hanging out with another married couple. They had been married for about 10 years at the time. One day while visiting with the wife she said "Just wait until you've been married for as long as we have. You'll not even be able to stand each other and be sleeping in the other room." Woah! Wait! What?! Where was this coming from? And even though Jon and I had only been married for a few years at the time, I knew that she was wrong. I use this example not to embarrass that couple or knock their marriage, but to make a point. It is completely uncool to speak that negativity over someone's marriage. And this was just an example. People do this all the time thinking that they are being funny or making jokes. It's so offensive to me! Not only are you basically telling someone that their marriage is going to suck after a few years. You are bad mouthing YOUR marriage. Why on EARTH would you do that?! There are so many obstacles that married couples have to endure without the additional battle of trash talking each other. My advice... keep your negative opinions on marriage to yourself....or better yet, try saying something positive about your marriage. After all, I'm a FIRM believer that what you think about you bring about. I'm going to say that again because it's SO important. What you think about, you bring about! If you're talking about or even thinking about how awful your marriage is, chances are it's going to be pretty awful. Negativity breeds on negativity. I don't want that in my life...thanks! So my first secret to a successful relationship is:
1. Don't trash talk your relationship - or anyone else's for that matter!
(On a side note- I think it's in very poor taste to trash talk your husband/boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/ex-husband for everyone to see on Facebook. It makes everyone who reads it really uncomfortable. Just sayin') This idea or way of thinking comes from the most amazing book/movie ever: The Secret. If you haven't already read it/watched it....do it. Take notes. It will change your life! I will blog about this topic separately another time!
This next secret is a BIGGIE! 2. Fight fair,admit when you're wrong, and forgive.(Okay so basically that's three secrets for the price of one!)
One might suggest that you shouldn't ever "fight" in a marriage. I completely disagree. I'm not saying you should break out the wrestling moves and screaming fits and get the cops called on you for domestic violence. Not at all. I'm simply suggesting that it's healthy to disagree with your partner. Heaven knows Jon and I don't always see eye to eye. And there are times when we want to claw each others eyes out. But one thing that we've learned from each other is how to fight fair. What does that mean? It means when we disagree and are angry that we don't call each other names and we TRY not to use phrases like "You ALWAYS" or "You NEVER". I highlight the word 'TRY' because we're not perfect. I catch myself using those types of phrases ALL THE TIME (haha see what I did there?). Calling names is something that people do and write it off that they were just mad and that they didn't really mean it. Those are the times when it's most important to keep your cool and not call names. Names can last forever. I still remember some of the horrible names an old boyfriend of mine used to call me. And unfortunately I chose to believe him. Jon still has to deal with some of the "clean up" from that one. One thing that I absolutely love about my husband is that he is not afraid to say "You're right, I'm sorry" and actually mean it. There are some men out there that just don't use those words but I am SO thankful that I have one that does. It makes it a lot easier for me to use those words when I know he'll say them when it's his turn. The last part of this secret is to forgive. Jon and I have been through some pretty big world rocking issues that require forgiveness. We've both done or said something that really hurt the other. And as important as it is to say "I'm sorry, I was wrong" it's even more important to say "I forgive you because I love you." I remember clearly a time when I went to Jon to apologize for something. When I thought he would blow up and be angry at me, he wrapped his arms around me and said "I forgive you because I love you." What an amazing feeling it was and how much stronger we are because we use that phrase. We've learned so much from our mistakes, embrace them and learn from them is my suggestion to you.
Jon and I met when we worked together at a call center. There were about 400 employees at the call center and we just so happened to end up on the same "team". At first we were just friends as he was going through a divorce and I was dating someone at the time. But our friendship grew into something so much bigger (after I broke up with my boyfriend who had left for the Army) because Jon had a trait that I find SO important. He could make me laugh. I've always found him hilarious and I know that I can count on him to make me laugh when I need it most. We have so much fun together playing indoor basketball, dodge ball around the house, singing in the car at the top of our lungs, and just having a good time whatever we choose to do. Jon is absolutely my best friend. If we couldn't find a way to have fun together and enjoy the others company, our marriage would be miserable. Jon used to work a job that required him to cover vacations for people in his company in Utah. When he would travel, the amount of arguments we had would go through the roof. We just get along better when we can play together!
3. Couples that Play Together, Stay Together
There are so many more "secrets" we've discovered but I'm only going to share one more for the sake of keeping this blog relatively readable. Before I get into the most important secret that Jon and I have found I was to preface it with a little disclaimer. I try to be respectful of everyone's belief system and their right to be a spiritual or not spiritual person. As much as I respect everyone's right to choose, I expect the same respect for my beliefs. I will not apologize for what I believe and know to be true. With that being said, I fully believe that any successful relationship needs to be centered around our Heavenly Father.
A few years back Jon and I were not living our lives the way we should be. We were making choices that were sending our marriage straight down the toilet. There was one particular day that we got into an Earth shattering argument. What was strange was that we weren't really fighting over anything in particular. It was an argument that if it were to have happened today, we would have just giggled our way through it. It wouldn't have even been an argument. But this time it was. It was HUGE. And Jon left. He walked out the front door and said "I'm done. I want a divorce." I was absolutely terrified. Sure, I was mad at Jon. But I didn't want him to leave. I certainly didn't want a divorce. I had originally written out the details of what happened that day but decided to use my better judgement. The details were not important. What's important to take away is that we were faced with the end of our marriage and we had a choice to make. We could let our story end there, or we could turn around and go a different direction. When Jon walked out the door, I hit my knees and pleaded for direction from my Father in Heaven. It was not easy, and it was without a doubt one of the hardest things Jon and I have ever been though, but we made it back. We were able to turn it around and go a completely different direction. One that includes our Heavenly Father and Savior in our marriage. One that realizes that a successful marriage does not involve two, it involves three. I thank the Lord every day that he gave our family a second chance. Our marriage is so much stronger and we are able to face challenges with much greater ease.
4. Seek the Lord's Guidance in Your Relationship
BONUS! So not to toot my own horn or anything but my husband is so fantastic that he's even started a little blog. Check it out HERE!