Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rookie Advice

August is going to be a crazy month. Every weekend will be occupied by weddings and receptions; we’re at that stage in life where our peers are involved in relationships that can lead to the big ‘M’. Also, Paula and I will have been married for five months this weekend as we travel to Minneapolis for Ty’s wedding. These events have caused me to reflect on marriage and why I’m so good at it. (First part serious, second part facetious; no one be trippin’.) Here are some things I've learned that have blessed Paula and me. (Minus prayer, scripture study, fidelity and such...they're givens.)
Hard times = best times: It seems masochistic, but it’s true. We’ve grown closest when everything hasn’t been roses; it’s been situations where we only have each other to rely on. The appendectomy (pre-marriage) and bills (marriage); working through that which shall not be named; having our apartment broken into; all in addition to the regular learning curve associated with marriage. I don’t enjoy trials; I do enjoy the cohesiveness it creates.
Speak up: When Paula asked my preference (what do you want for dinner, what do you want to do tonight, etc…), a lot of the time I'd say “I don’t care” because it’s not a big deal for me; I've learned to speak up and let her know. Ongoing, candid communication has helped our marriage because there are no pretenses – we both know where the other stands; if we don’t agree, at least we know. The first couple times aren’t easy, but the growing pains are worth it.
Less is more: We do better than most new young married couples: two incomes, no consumer debt. As such we wield the double-edged sword of disposable income. In a world where instant gratification is king, the temptation to accumulate things (easily absconded by punk kids) is powerful and one of the worst traps a young married couple can fall in. A goal of substance and working towards it nurtures a marriage; just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Debt for things (clothes, jewelry, trips, furniture, etc…) is plain asinine. It’s contrary to fundamental principles of the Gospel. I’m serious. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t “Zero down, Zero obedience until the judgment bar”. It’s sacrifice now and blessings later, faith precedes the miracle. Try to find an example to the contrary. Dare ya. Good luck.
TO for QT: That isn’t 'Terrell Owens for Quik Trip'; it’s ‘Time Out for Quality Time.’ Between friends, family, work, errands, varying sleep schedules and church stuff, spending quality time together can be tough. We work out together 3-4 times a week, have a date night once a week, dinner together nightly and try going to bed together (during the school year Paula sacks out around 9-10pm; I’m more 11ish.). All these provide opportunities to talk and get to know the other. It may sound silly, but unless you make an effort you don’t see much of your spouse.
Grab the tab: For 26 years my parents paid for dinner; they provided food and shelter for 18 years. Since our marriage, we’ve gone out to eat with each set of our parents and picked up the tab. (I practically had to fight my dad for it, but after I told him if he didn’t let me pay I’d never talk to him again, he consented.) This reciprocity (the quality or state of being reciprocal: mutual dependence, action, or influence) was a great feeling. It let our parents know they're appreciated and now they can focus more on each other. Too often children want to be treated as adults, yet they don't accept adult responsibility; it's hypocritical. Parents will always worry about their children; they shouldn’t always have to provide for them. Let their primary concern be each other. It'll be the first time since the oldest kid showed up.

1 Comment:

Paula said...

I couldn't agree more sweetie