Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for (love, companionship, their dream that came true...)
The truth is at the beginning of every marriage the box is empty. It's your responsibility to fill your marriage box. Fill it with all of the things you want in your marriage. Build your marriage on a solid foundation. Use your creative side to build memories. Learn what works and what doesn't. Know that marriage doesn't work by itself. It takes both of you.
Remember, if you take out more than you put in, then eventually your marriage box overtime will become empty. Meaning you either didn't make enough deposits to have a happy marriage or you didn't make any deposits at all. You have to make deposits into your marriage. You have to nourish your marriage. You have to make good deposits into your marriage, in order for it to grow. A deposit can be when you cook for you spouse, you engage in conversation, and you go out of your way to make him happy.
And one more thing to remember is, you must replenish your marriage box often. You can't depend on anniversaries, birthday's, and special holidays to fill your marriage box. I remember when my husband bought me my first car. It was the month of April. I promised him, since he bought me a car, that I would not nag him or ask for anything for the rest of the year. A week later we were arguing again. The car was a great act of kindness, but it didn't fulfill me in the ways I needed to be fulfilled. It was a temporary happiness. A in the moment happiness. One that I would remember for a long time, but not a fulfilling act of kindness that would fulfill what I needed from my husband. Your spouse needs you each and every day of your life. They need to touch you, kiss you, hold you, and be able to have a decent conversation with you.
Don't allow the hustle of the day to day tasks, keep you from replenishing your marriage box. I understand you work, you get tired, or you may get sick. But saying thank you is something that's not work. Thank your husband for his love. Thank him for working so hard to provide for your family. Thank you for watching the kids for a couple of hours while I go work out. I appreciate you. I love you. Those things only take a few seconds to say. You can tell your husband I love you as you are walking out the door. Greet him with a kiss and thank him before he even gets out the bed in the morning. You're not that busy, where you can't offer your spouse something every day.
The Marriage Box Myth
Marriage is not a fairy tale all the time. Yes, there are moments where married life can seem like a fairy tale or maybe a dream come true. But the truth is marriage is work. It's hard work. Almost every single day of your lives it's going to be work. People think marriage will change people, but you have to want to change, before a change will take place. I think there are so many high expectations put on a marriage, that you feel you have to live up to what is expected.
So, this is where the myth about the marriage box starts. People will wish you a great life and tell you with love you can make it through anything. I believe that, but I think they fail to tell you that marriage takes work. If your spouse is having a bad day, don't allow their day to mess up your day. Help them to get through that day. That may take some extra time out of your day to cheer your spouse up, but it's worth it. It's worth it, because it shows you care. That you're not selfish and only thinking about yourself.
When I think about the marriage box myth, I think about how no one tells you that you are going to have problems. You are going to fight with your words and argue. How temptation will try to force itself into your marriage. How sometimes. you will come to a tough place in your marriage, that makes you want to file for a divorce, because it's just too much. No one really says those things to someone before they get married.
It's traditional to wish the bride and groom a great life. It has become tradition to have a grand wedding ceremony. Invite friends and family to the wedding to witness the ceremony who really don't like you. It's all tradition, a front, and a way to be a people pleaser. Instead we should be focusing on how to provide support for the couple who is getting married. How we can contribute to their marriage instead of just attending a wedding reception, because we can eat for free. Encourage date nights, give cooking books as gifts so they can enjoy a home cook meal every once in a while, and let them know that you are there.
As many of you already know, this is my first marriage. I plan to make this my only marriage. I don't want to put in the time or the effort into another man. It's just too tough. I think about how much I have grown in this marriage by being with this man. I'm proud of that growth. Everything has not been peaches and cream, but I appreciate our struggles. I can say that now, because I know what the outcome is, but while going through the challenges, sometimes I felt we weren't going to make it through.
For me that's my truth. However, telling myself that marriage was a problem solver was untruthful. That was a story I made up to help me cope with the different issues we were having. It was my myth. We were two imperfect people getting married. Getting married did not change our imperfections. I learned those were things we were going to have to work through. Meaning we were going to have to put in the work to fix the issues that were holding us back so we could move forward in life, because life had a whole lot more to offer.
So, yes I thought marriage would solve all my issues. I thought everything would magical come together and all our obstacles would magically disappear. And to be honest with you, marriage did solve some of my problems, but while those problems were being solved, more started to come our way. Our arguing was on a different level. I believe more so, because I was telling him this is not how a husband is suppose to act and he was telling me this isn't how a wife is suppose to act. I guess you're asking, how did we deal with our problems before? Well, before we would leave or give one another the silent treatment. When we married, I felt obligated to work through every issue. I forced him to talk, because I thought that's what married people did. I never gave him room or myself a chance to cool off and try to talk about the issue later. If we didn't talk about the issue right then and there, I always took it to the extreme. So, yes more problems were definitely coming our way. With every argument, it seemed like things became worse than ever before.
Another thing I realize was, my marriage could not be a problem solver for every issue. Some of my issues were
Your Marriage Box is Empty
Know that going through things while dating is a little different when you're married. I was probably the biggest advocate that said marriage would not change me. The only thing that is changing is my last name. But marriage did change me. I can only speak for myself. I was the type of person who gave up when things, became hard. This marriage has forced me to stay, even when I didn't want to. When that happened I was always tested. A lot of the times I failed the tests, but failing the tests grew me in major ways. I learned I had endurance, I could be with one person for the rest of my life, I learned to cook, and I learned I could be a great wife. Even though I really didn't have an example to go by. A lot of the women I grew up with aren't married. I wanted to prove to myself, I could get married and stay married. I have children. One day they are going to get married. I want them to know that it is possible to have a successful marriage. How could I ever tell them how to have a successful marriage if I never had one myself.
A lot of the times in the beginning of my marriage I felt stuck. When we would get into arguments I would complain to the Lord, why did you join us, if we were going to continue to have these same issues in marriage. I felt stuck, because we took vows. No one gets married to break their vows.
But one day I begin to feel different. I begin to have a new outlook on marriage. You see when you don't have examples to go by, when you don't have a mother and father or a grandmother and a grandfather who stayed together and worked through their difficulties there is no example to go by.
But one day, I made up in my mind I was not going to allow my marriage to be destroyed by the petty things we were arguing about. Like taking out the trash, picking up your clothes off the floor, or washing your dinner plate before you put it in the sink. My marriage box was empty, because I had not filled it with anything good or positive. As a matter of fact I felt, I had buried it with my wedding dress, shoes, and veil in my closet. But one day I made up in my mind this was not how my life was going to be for me and my husband. As I stated before, the arguments starting lifting, I felt us getting in-tuned with one another, we begin to take more vacations together, we were communicating, and I felt more passion from this man than I have ever felt in my life.
How to start a marriage box and keep it replenish
As a mom and wife I cook about five days out of the week. I wash clothes just about every day and I am constantly cleaning after everyone. I have learned it is important also, to take time out for yourself. It's important for your spouse to do the same thing. And then, I'm sure you know it's important to take time out for one another. This may be a phone call, a text, or waiting until the kids are off to bed to have some good late night conversation.
Just about every day I do these things, because to have a successful marriage it takes dedicating me to it each day. I also know I am setting the foundation for my marriage, my family, and our home. Starting a marriage box and keeping it replenish requires work from you and your spouse. As you can see it can be done. I'm sure your story won't be mines, but maybe it is similar. Your actions in marriage will always speak louder than your words. Don't tell your spouse you want to change, instead show them a change in you. Take the initial step (it may not take as long as you thing), and remember what God has joined together, let no one or something separate it.