A week ago my husband and I returned home from our 10-year anniversary getaway—an incredible 10-day Caribbean cruise that I will never forget.
It was a much needed and much appreciated, retreat after probably the hardest year we’ve ever faced as a family. Looking back at the year, I have no regrets. We are stronger and more unified than ever. Trials have a way of growing and shaping us in ways that good days never could.
Nearly every year I make a point to blog about “5 Lessons Learned in 7 Years of Marriage”, or something of that sort. Now that we’re ten years deep into this thing, I get to look back and see things from a whole different point of view.
I’m grateful to be able to say that I have grown. And thank God, because I sure was a hot mess back in the day (not to say that I’m still not, from time to time).
With my new perspective, I’m taking a new approach to this year’s anniversary blog.
I’m sharing with you ten mistakes I made personally along the journey, and how to turn them around.
So without further ado, I present to you 10 easy steps to destroy your marriage:
1. Always assume they are lying, cheating and pretending
Allow your mind to play into those suspicions, building elaborate story lines that leave you anxious and frantic.
OR always believe the best. Fill the gap with trust. Take every thought captive to the truth. Trust. Walk in faith, not by feelings.
2. Don't waste your time and money going on dates
They’re overrated. That money could be saved, or used to buy more important things.
OR invest in your marriage. Be proactive about regularly scheduling time alone together. Sans kids. Value your relationship over possessions.
3. Hang onto low self-esteem
I mean, look at you. You’re too (fill in the blank), and too (fill in the blank). You (fill in the blank) too much and you're not (fill in the blank) enough.
How could anyone ever really love a person like you?
Project those negative thoughts onto your spouse and assume that that is how they truly feel about you. Surely they’ve been pretending all along.
OR choose to believe what God says about you. You are loved. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You belong and you are valuable.
Choose to believe your spouse cherishes you. Choose to believe that just because one person didn’t love you; or one person left you; or one person said those terrible things about you that everyone will do the same.
4. Keep score
You did the dishes, now he should take out the trash. You woke up with the toddler last Saturday, now it’s her turn.
OR seek to serve. Look for opportunities to bless your spouse. Remember that even Jesus—our ultimate example, the Son of God—didn’t come to be served, but to serve others and give His life for others. He asks us to do the same.
5. Nag whenever possible
Make sure they know every time they forget and every time they mess up. Highlight every character flaw so they can know how the many ways they need to change and improve.
OR encourage at every opportunity. Make sure they know every single time they are a blessing.
Don’t keep the good thoughts to yourself--unspoken gratitude communicates ingratitude. Highlight every good quality that they possess and praise even the smallest efforts. Always show honor.
6. Don't make a financial plan
To each his or her own. Budgeting always causes fights, anyway.
OR communicate about finances Be on the same page concerning your budget and financial goals. Share accounts and hold each other accountable. Set goals and make decisions that move toward them.
7. Be easily offended, and carry offense
Did they treat you wrong? Don't forget it.
Did they say something with "that tone" of voice? Log it away.
Just because you settled that argument doesn’t mean you have to forget what caused it in the first place. And next time they offend you, pull out the old records and remind them of their many sins against you.
OR Forgive, always and completely. Let it go. Let them go. Realize that they are human and have bad moments and bad days, just like you. Remember that God’s forgiveness has no contingencies and neither should yours.
8. Compare your life to everyone else's
He’s so romantic. They’re so in love. Did you see their family photo? Did you see their vacation videos? Look at the neighborhood they get to live in.
Everyone’s marriage is better than yours, and every family has it more together than yours, and everyone’s house is perfect, unlike yours.
OR live a life of gratitude. Thank God for your spouse, your kids, your house, your life. Remember that the grass always appears greener on the other side… until you realize it’s turf.
9. Stay Busy
Fill up every minute of every day with activity. Say yes to everything. Sign your kids up for 16 activities. Never leave time to communicate and connect
OR leave margin in your life. Cultivate ongoing connection and communication. Set non-negotiable time with your spouse throughout the week.
10. Stop Trying
What good will it do anyway? Your marriage is too far gone. Romance is a
thing of the past. Your spouse isn’t trying anymore, why should you?
OR pursue your spouse. Remember the many reasons you fell in love in the first place. Pray for them. Be grateful for them. Know their love language and speak it. Continuously look for ways to connect with and bless them.
In wrapping up, one of the most powerful things to remember is that life is about choices.
At all times, in all areas of life, we have the choice--
of building up or tearing down,
of speaking life or speaking death,
of walking in truth or walking by feelings,
of believing the best or believing the worst.
You choose today.
Dwelling in Him,
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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