Today Brooke and I are celebrating seven years of wedded bliss. This morning, while we were taking a special anniversary trip to get coffee, we started to try and piece together the timeline of our last seven years together, which is so difficult because neither of us are really "date" people.
The conversation went something like this :
"We got married in 2009..."
"I quit my job in 2010...."
"We opened the big kiosk in 2010 and the store in 2011... so our first kiosk for three days was in 2009, right? Wait no, 2008?"
"Stone Harbor was 2012... Yeah, I think that's right..."
It's so much fun to reminisce and think about all the things we've done together and all the amazing places we've been. Never did I think my life would be like it is.
My marriage is awesome. I am not afraid to say that with confidence. I think marriage has a pretty bad reputation. People are quick to talk about the things they don't like about being married and not as quick to talk about the things they love about matrimony. Whenever someone asks me about marriage, I always try to tell them as many of the best parts so it will counter-balance all the "You just wait..." crap that they've probably been hearing.
Marriage is awesome.
Now, here is where you might expect a but....
However, you will see no "but" here.
*I am so tempted to insert a photo of me mooning the camera, but I will refrain for the sake of all the eyes viewing this post.*
Marriage is awesome. The but has nothing to do with marriage. God invented marriage and it is one of his greatest creations, right above sloths and cheese.
The but has nothing to do with marriage, but instead has to do with me and you, as fallen, broken and frustrating humans. Often we want to blame our problems on our marriage (or anything else for that matter), when in reality we only have ourselves to blame. So, instead of writing another post on how to have an awesome marriage, like I have in the past, I am going to tell the world wide web the seven things I hope to work on over the next seven years to make my marriage even more amazing and wonderful.
Because if I am constantly trying to be more like Jesus then my marriage will improve. If I am quick to listen, slow to become angry and extravagant in my love, my marriage will flourish. So, instead of blaming marriage for all the troubles in your life, find a mirror and confront the real problem - you.
And while my marriage is amazing, I know there are still things that I want to change about myself to make it more amazing. There is always room for improvement. I want to be more like Jesus and to do that I need to keep working at it all the time, until I meet face to face in heaven. My hope is that by challenging myself and working on these seven things, I will be able to look back at this anniversary and think my marriage was nothing compared to what it is at 14 years, in 2022 (wow that date seems weird)! Amazing things take hard work and I want my marriage to be amazing, so I am going to work on it!
Seven Things I Want To Work On The Next Seven Years Of Marriage:
1. More Bible Reading
I am the worst at reading my Bible regularly and I have no one to blame but myself. I'll get in a good groove for a while and then a butterfly will fly by and I am distracted. I really have always struggled with this and I think I have gotten use to that mentality. I am always saying "I am not good at reading the Bible" and letting that define me. Well, not anymore! I want to look back at my seven year anniversary as the turning point in my Bible reading time. I want, at 14 years of marriage, to be so excited about the time I spend in the word of God because I know the more time I can spend reading the word of God the more my marriage will blossom and grow!
2. Less Screens
I am pretty sure that there has been at least one night in the last week where I am watching Netlfix on the TV, while playing a game on my iPad and looking at Snapchat on my iPhone. I have talked about screen struggles on my blog before and I really want to continue to take the steps necessary to reduce the amount of time I spend in front of a screen. I want to use my phone and technology for my job and business and then shut it down to spend as much FACE TO FACE time with my wife, daughter, friends and family. I love technology and the potential it brings to reach people. I think it's great, but I also think going on walks and sitting across the dinner table and talking is greater, so I want to do more of that over the next seven years and less time scrolling aimlessly through social feeds or binge watching shows I've already seen. I really want less screens over the next seven years and that will start in a big way in July of this year, when Brooke and I say goodbye to Netflix and Amazon Prime for the entire month! Look out!
3. The Tone of my Voice
At times, I can have a really harsh tone to my voice that makes people feel dumb. If I am being really honest with myself, I know that and I use that tone to make people feel dumb on purpose, not exactly the shining bright example of Jesus in those moments. I know it's something I need to work on, especially with Brooke. I simply talk to her the most, so she gets that tone the most. We tend to be the roughest on the ones closest to us which is why love and forgiveness are so amazing. I need to be loving when I am questioning something or disagreeing with someone. I can't let the tone of my voice close down a conversation that could potential lead to growth in my life. I know that this will be difficult for me, but I am glad that I married the most patient and understanding woman in this world to help me with it. If you see me in public make sure you ask me how the tone of my voice has been lately.
4. Living By Faith
I don't want to live a complacent, comfortable life. I always want to be ready to give my time, energy and money away so that I have to trust God in my life. The tendency in life is to get more and more comfortable the older you get, especially financially. I want to get less and less comfortable, so I can depend on God more and more!
5. My Physical Health
I don't want to be overweight and struggle to play with my kids. I want to treat my body well so God can use me as long as I am able. I think it's easy to get complacent in marriage and pack on a few extra LB's, but I don't want to. I want to stay fit and healthy, so that things like running around with June, picking up toys and walking up the stairs stay as easy as possible for as long as possible. And again, if I am being brutally honest, I want Brooke to think I am attractive so we can make more babies!
6. My Patience....Ughhhh...Why did I type this one out? Now I have to do it! WHY!?!?!?!
So, Brooke is the sloooowest person at getting out of the car.....like EVER. I could park at a store be inside and checking out and she would still be opening her door. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get my point. I end up getting frustrated with her car-exiting-speed, when I really just need to be more patient. The only way improve at being patient is to be patient when you don't want to be. So, over the next seven years, I will have to wait for my wife to slowly get out of the car and not judge her while she does it. Lord, help me!
7. More Alone Time
I was recently listening to a sermon by Judah Smith in which he was talking about Jesus getting away for alone time and how it happened so often in His life. I want to be like Jesus and outside of a trip to the bathroom, I don't give myself a lot of alone time. I don't mean sitting on the couch at night watching TV alone time. I do get that. I mean praying, worshipping and interacting with God alone time. I mean going on a walk outside and not filling that time with a podcast alone time. I mean praying in my room without my iPad in my hands alone time. I mean drinking my coffee with my bible open alone time. I know the time I can spend re-setting will be so much more valuable to my marriage then filling that time with media, tech and noise, which I tend to do so often. I can't expect to hear or see the subtle movings of God in my life if I am always surrounded by that much noise.
There you have it. My laundry list of areas that I need to improve in my life. They won't happen over night and they might not even happen in seven years, but I will try and try again because a striving for a happy marriage is worth doing all the hard things! Make a list of things you hope to improve in yourself that will benefit your marriage on your next anniversary! Maybe the marriage you've been wanting is only a short list of self-improvements away. By the grace and goodness of God I will be able to improve these areas of my life, and be blessed with a healthier and happier marriage because of it!