My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

3 Keys from 36 Years of Marriage

I bickered with my husband today. It was nothing major; I probably won’t even remember it in a few days. But there are fights I do remember. Ones that I wish never happened. They remind me of how hard this beautiful thing called marriage is, and how much we all need a little help along the way.

That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to Kathi. She’s been married for 36 years. Let that sink in a moment. 36 years. Yes, I had to say it again because sometimes 36 minutes seems hard. She’s here to walk alongside and show us three things she’s learned that can make a world of difference.

36 keys

It was a typical Saturday evening in our house, and I had just finished getting the kids down for the night.   Sunday morning was coming quickly, and I still had the kitchen to clean and laundry to finish.

My husband was preparing his lesson for his Sunday school class as I started my evening chores.   Having four children between the ages of two and twelve always made for many dishes.  Every glass of water required a new glass, and somehow that would spill justifying a new towel for clean-up.  After finishing the dishes, I walked towards the laundry room. Walking past my husband’s desk, I noticed his socks laying on the floor.

Exhausted I asked, “Would you like me to add those to the laundry for you?”   He smiled sweetly and said, “Thank you.” Rolling my eyes, I grabbed the socks off the floor and continued my tasks.

Upon my return to the kitchen, I noticed two open cupboard doors, a dirty bowl and an empty container of ice cream on the counter.   Slamming the cabinet doors closed, I glared in my husband’s direction and stomped off to bed.

It has been years since that evening, and I have learned a lot about myself and marriage.  To have a successful marriage, you have to work at it 100% of the time, and you have to be willing to compromise a lot!  Here are a few things I have gleaned over 36 years of marriage.

Choose Your Battles

I have learned to pick my battles.  Somethings just don’t make a difference, and my preferences don’t necessarily mean I am right or wrong.  If my husband leaves a cupboard door open, or socks on the floor, was he malicious in doing so?  I sincerely doubt it.  Even though this has frustrated me over the years, I am thankful to have my husband here to pick up after.  I have several friends who have lost their spouse and would not complain about picking up after them now.

Love Isn’t Just A Feeling

I have learned love is not what we feel; it is what we do.  There have been times when I haven’t always felt my husband loved me, which in turn would affect the way I showed him love.  Once I understood love wasn’t about what I felt, but it was about what I did, my thought process changed.   My husband has said for years, “Every morning when I wake up I choose to love you.”  His love is an act of doing something.  Whether he feels like it or not he makes the decision to love me, even before I have had my morning cup of coffee.


Divorce Never, Murder Absolutely

I have learned marriage isn’t about me.  Marriage is about dying to self.  Now before you read into that statement, let me say marriage is not about losing your identity or being submissive where you do not have a voice in the relationship. We must submit ourselves to God and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Voluntarily yielding our rights to one another in love as Christ gave up His rights for us.  It is not an act of will, but a condition of the heart.  When we talk to others about marriage, my husband and I have said divorce isn’t an option, murder, maybe.  We go on to explain murder is dying to self and putting your spouse first.

My husband is great at this.  He doesn’t like yard work but every spring he spends hours with me shopping and preparing the garden for new plants.  He never complains or reminds me of previous years where I have forgotten to water those plants and they ended up dying. My husband is showing me he not only loves me, but he knows this is one way to spend quality time together.

No matter where you are in your marriage, there will be beautiful moments and tough times.  When the tough times come, change your mindset and commit to giving 100% to your spouse.

Remember to choose your battles, die to self whenever possible and don’t forget to look for the little ways your spouse is saying I love you.  Most times they are being spoken without saying a word.

proof-01 KatieMae is Kathi Denn. Local Kennewick Author, Writer, Wife, Mother to four, Friend to many. She is on a journey to encourage and make an impact in the world, one word at a time.

You can visit her at her website, KatieMae, Twitter, and Facebook.

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I'm here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

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