Marriage takes work. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, loving someone exclusively, loving them when they hurt you, offend you, or when they bring you happiness and joy takes effort. It’s all work, and for us it's worth it. Our marriage, as his bride and he as my groom is worth it. To say it’s been a cake walk would be a big fat joke to us both, it’s definitely an ugly-cry laughter moment we’d both have! However, during our twenty plus years together, it’s come down to four distinct ways that despite the “work” in our marriage, I come first...as his bride, even when I didn’t before.
Before the kids
Although my white chariot may be a 15-passenger van full of kids, my knight in shining armor at the wheel still picks ME first! Just think, I have so much on my plate. The kids, preparing and shopping for food, handling schedules, and running a business, but at the end of the day I'm lucky because my husband puts ME first. As a woman - no matter all the background noise that’s going on, I need him to have my back, to stand by my side, and to support me. That’s when he displays his love and puts ME first. Our children’s needs are already met...their wants can wait when it comes to his bride.
There’s nothing sexier than when your man stands with your decisions in front of the kids (so they clearly see) backing your every move. This also applies when he doesn’t agree with me. That is something we discuss in private because in front of the kids, he puts me first.
Listening before Solving
Do you know how annoying it is to express your feelings about something that frustrates you or life itself is just annoying and your man interrupts and starts spouting off solutions? Or when you just want to share your feelings and he throws around his authority and wisdom (that sometimes sounds like criticism) as soon as you pause for a breath?
That’s how we used to communicate, then I said something magical one day. I didn’t even realize that it was the key to what I needed from him. This fairy dust of realization...these simple words and my groom put ME first.
“There’s nothing to solve, honey, I just need you to listen…”
That was literally it. Setting up the moment before I began talking to my husband using that phrase, is all I needed to come first instead of him waiting to pounce on a take-a-breath moment to give his two cents. If truth be told, he sometimes has to say the same to me. After all, I am a professional coach who tends to want to solve his problems too!
Serving Me Anyway
“How was your day?”
Jeff: “Long, I’m beat. Are the kids ready to go?”
Despite his exhaustion, Jeff offers to serve me anyway by taking the kids to their Tae Kwon Do class. Despite knowing that I’m fully capable, he offers to serve me and do the task anyway because he knows I’ve had a long day too (even if I’ve just been at home).
When I asked why one day because it had started suddenly and had increased over time, he simply said, “I just need to do more for you. Yeah, I’m tired, and…?”
Even before some of his own needs, he puts me first. *Swoon*
Knows and Shows My LL
If all my husband did was buy me gifts and presents, I’d be on the brink of being chronically depressed with him. He may think he’s showering me with love and adoration, however, according to Gary Chapman’s Love Languages(R), that is not one of mine. As a matter of fact, it’s so low on my love-language totem pole, I’d find it repeatedly insulting that he would keep giving me gifts if he saw that I wasn’t happy with them.
But, that’s not him. He doesn’t try to guess my unique love-style and what I need...instead he listened.
Remember that magical phrase preceding our conversation of how I just want to convey my feelings? Now that he listens, he’s receptive and he knows what I desire most.
He knows and shows me love exactly how I need it. There’s a profound depth of respect, adoration, and intimacy that goes into someone intentionally loving you on purpose.
It’s work. Not only do you have each other to grow with through trials and triumphs, but to also add children to the mix? That’s work. We have nine blessed children with us, not between us, under us, or ruling us...they are with us. Yes, we may be married for over twenty years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see him as my groom, the man I want to stay married to every single day. And as his bride (as he so greets me every day), he’s sure to keep our love alive by lovingly working at it, making it a priority to put me first. All of that makes for one crazy-happy wife and I too will work for that.
Photo Credits: AndiL