Braxton and I have been married for a little over 16 years now. We started dating in 1992, which means we have been dating and married for 21 years now, more than half my lifetime or his. Our marriage is not perfect by any means, we have our moments, but our good moments far outweigh our bad.
My sweet sister and her husband Andy just celebrated 5 year of marriage on Friday. I started thinking about them this weekend and thinking through what my one piece of advice would be on this 5-year mark.
Here is what I texted her. “Don’t forget to be his girlfriend. It is easy to be his wife most days, to just do what needs to be done, to do what you have to do, but from time to time stop and ask yourself if you are loving, supporting, encouraging, and treating him like you did when you were just his girlfriend.”
You see when I was Braxton’s girlfriend I was his biggest fan, cheerleader, and encourager. I would send him a hand written note about once a week, I would see his favorite snack or candy and immediately buy it and go leave it in his car or in his mailbox. I would brag about him to others about how smart, kind, and affectionate he was. I would find ways to honor him and I always made sure he knew how much I adored him. I would clean his duplex with a cheerful heart not complaining about where underwear was left or how much toothpaste was left in the sink.
I always made sure I looked my best when I was going to see him for the first time in a day or two. I brushed my teeth, hair and made sure I had on at least a little makeup. Not because he expected it but because I loved him and I wanted to do my best to show him that.
I would lay down my rights regularly and eat where he wanted to eat, not argue about things that weren’t worth arguing about, watched some action movies that I probably would not choose on my own. And again not because he made me or expected it but out of a heart of love and just wanting to be with him.
And then marriage, life, 3 kids, 2 wayward pets, jobs, etc…got in the way. And it is easy to just do the mundane and just get through each day to make it to the next. Laundry is done, the house is picked up, kids are shuffled from one place to the next, and sometimes a little begrudgingly. Not always with a heart of love or an attitude of gratefulness. It is easy to nag, complain or think about what you would rather be doing. It is easy to find myself complaining to my friends about what he doesn’t do instead of all the things I love about him.
I truly believe this is where a lot of marriages start to go south. I get it and I can see how it happens. But I don’t think it has to be this way. If we can just remember as wives to be their girlfriend again. And here is the great secret I have found, the minute we start to do that they start to act like our boyfriends again.
Happy Anniversary Lauren and Andy! We love you both! Every year from 5 on has been better than the one before for Braxton and I and I am praying the same joy, fun, and laughter in your marriage.