Many of us have grown up in broken homes not knowing what is truly normal in marriage. My story may be the same or may be different from yours. At the age of 8, my parents divorced. After that, I was raised full-time by my grandparents with my parents still involved in my life. My grandfather was a traveling salesman, so we were primarily with our grandmother during the week. I really didn’t understand what was a normal, healthy marriage. Hopefully my journey can help you see what a healthy normal can be.
A little backstory – I got married to my first husband at the age of 18 and got pregnant shortly after. At he age of 19, I was a mom and a wife. We were living very destructive lives, that is until we got saved. Unlearning destructive habits and learning how to communicate is not something that is learned overnight. We managed to learn through examples of others in church and through the bible. We had a good marriage for 1 year, and then as many of you know he passed way from a motorcycle accident.
A few years later, I met my husband Robert. He is absolutely God-sent. Robert grew up in a christian home with a mother and a father and two siblings. I have learned so much from them, and of course what the bible says about marriage and love.
I am sure you are asking by now, what is normal in marriage?
When I met Robert, I had never prayed out loud but once. I was so embarrassed to pray out loud, because I felt he would judge me. Instead, he encouraged me and I felt safe to be vulnerable in front of him, with him, and for him over time. There is power in prayer, but there is even more power when a husband and a wife pray together in agreement. We pray for each other and with each other.
We should be able to sit down and have good conversations daily, and even the tough conversations if need be. If having tough conversations is hard for you, there are great communication templates available to couples to help you have healthy conversations and to address conflict. Thankfully, we can all learn and grow.
It is also healthy to communicate what is expected. Unstated expectations is where a lot of issues stem from. For example, you may have kept quiet about something that has been bothering you such as your spouse’s socks on the floor for days, and it really is making you upset towards them. Maybe you could talk to your spouse saying how having a floor free of clutter really helps you feel relaxed when you are home. Your spouse doesn’t know how to fix it if you do not tell them.
Telling the Truth
I Love Lucy is a pretty funny show that most people have seen. While it is hilarious, I now realize how much Lucy lies and gets into mischief behind Ricky’s back. If this was real life, it would be so stressful to live in a home where you and your spouse are always lying to each other and sneaky around. To not share something is also lying. Your spouse should be your confidant.
I will admit, this one can easily slip away when we are busy with work or kids. Spending quality time together is so important. I worked in sales for many years, and some people would live at work and never be home with their families. Some days, more work may be required than other days, but it should not come before your family.
Having friends as a couple and also individually is very healthy. It is healthy to do life with different people that are role models to you and can also support you and your spouse. My best friend and I give each other advice all the time about anything. She has a very healthy marriage, so I feel safe asking her for advice and vice versa.
Sometimes a few of us girls will go shopping together or scoot out to dinner. My husband will play sports with his friends or catch up over breakfast. As a couple we go out to dinner with friends or do some sort of activity with them. Our friends and us even babysit each other kids to make sure we all get regular date nights.
It should not be solely one person’s job to do everything. I know some stay-at-home moms may feel like it is unfair to ask their husband who works full-time to help them with house chores. Everyone needs a break, and I am sure your husband would not mind helping you out if you maybe give him a specific task he can help with. In our home, I cook most of the meals and Robert washes most of the dishes. Every family looks different, but be sure to help each other out. It is not just one person’s job; you guys are a team.
Each person should feel safe in marriage. You should be able to be your natural self and feel loved. If someone has a healthy fear of God, then they would not want to hurt someone because they answer to God first.
Maybe your marriage doesn’t look like this yet. It’s okay, I am here to tell you that it is possible. With God, all things are possible. Pray for your spouse, have patience and love your spouse even when it is hard. I saw the transformation that God did in my first marriage in myself and also my first husband.
If you are engaged or in a serious relationship that is leading to marriage, it is much easier to start off on the right foot.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Focus on the Family has a great marriage assessment that you can take and your results will include your strengths and growth opportunities with information.
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