Yesterday was my anniversary! And I’m in the mood to talk about LOVE.
Not just the feeling, but the action. As my husband and I reflect on and refresh our marriage, I thought I’d share our story and a glimpse into our glories.
When I met my husband, I wasn’t looking for love.
I was looking for a fresh and single start to my life. I was in the process of ending a long-term relationship and wanted to “just do me.”
You see, I was ready to fly solo. I wanted to explore being single, focus on raising my daughters, complete graduate school and build my career. I was actually sold on the fact that I wouldn’t have to cater to a relationship.
I was busy, focused, and ready to embrace a single lifestyle. Ask my best friend, she’ll tell you the same story. We were going to be fabulously single…together.
Then a situation happened.
That situation was tall, muscular, and a rich shade of brown. I met him totally by accident. He worked where I was assigned for my counseling internship. The fact that we even crossed paths, is totally divine. The internship site wasn’t my first, second or third choice. I was assigned to the location because no one else was accepting students.
When I arrived one Saturday, he was my escort into the secured facility. He was tall, dark, handsome…oh wait, I already mentioned that earlier. In a nutshell, he was divinely fine.
Let me make something clear, I’m a spiritually grounded woman, and I don’t recommend lustfulness or anything like that. But sometimes, a certain visual gets you off your spiritual path, and God placed the right man in my path for just that. He knew that this man, was a blessing that I didn’t know I deserved.
It took about 4-6 months of greetings and small-talk, before it became clear that my single life might be short lived. There were things about him that went beyond looks. He was kind, professional, and charming.
To make a long story short, when my internship ended, I asked for his number. Yes ma’am! The fabulously single me, wasn’t so set on singleness after all. I was set on him.
He gave me the digits, we had our first date soon after, and the rest…is our story.
On our third year of dating, he proposed. Nine months after we were married, and 13 years later…here we are…celebrating longevity and love.
Despite what you may think, being a professional counselor and mental fitness coach, doesn’t exclude me from the challenges that relationships face. The first 5 years, we experienced a steep learning curve. We were figuring each other out with a great deal of love and frustration.
The problem was, we felt love for each other, but we struggled to put that love into action.
We said the words “I love you,” every single day, but hadn’t yet mastered the action-oriented nature of LOVE.
Today, I want to give you a cheat sheet. This cheat sheet has four answers to the question, “How can I transform the feeling of love, into the reality of a healthier and happier marriage?
Based on the 13 years of my own marital practice and pursuit, here are my “love with purpose” giveaways.
To make it even easier for you, let’s use the word LOVE as an acronym.
L | Listen to understand. Give your husband space and opportunity to share who he is with you. The first 5 years of my marriage, I was so busy trying to be heard, that I wasn’t listening to the gems of information that my husband was sharing. We were both talking, but we weren’t listening, which in my opinion, is more valuable than the spoken word.
I learn more about how to level up my marriage, when my mouth is closed and my ears and heart are open.
O | Own your stuff. Whether we admit it or not, many of us have baggage from the past stacked within our relationships and marriages. The stench of those bags start polluting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As wives, we have the option of unpacking those bags, discarding them, and refreshing our marriage with the renewed energy of LOVE.
The sorting and release of bags from the past, isn’t an easy process. Collaborating with a professional counselor or life-coach, can be very helpful. If you go it alone, educate yourself through books, conferences, and other resources to assist.
V | Visualize what you want for your marriage. If you don’t have a target, you will never hit the mark. Knowing what you want is key to achieving and receiving. Take time to explore what your heart’s desire is for a healthy marriage. If you have no idea what a healthy marriage is, do some research, talk to married women that you admire, and consider getting a mentor that can offer wisdom and support in this area.
E | Establish healthy marital practices. A thriving marriage is created from purposeful practices every single day. Now don’t get me wrong, you’re going to have some off days or weeks, where the marriage takes a back seat, but that should be the exception, not the rule. In partnership with your spouse, decide what ACTIONS OF LOVE are most important for your marriage…AND ACT ON THAT KNOWLEDGE.
Being the wife that I wanted to be for my husband, was a learning experience.
I had no blueprint from my upbringing to reference, so I had to figure it out…from scratch.
That from scratch learning is no joke. You have to be ready to roll up your sleeves and weather the various seasons that your marriage will face. Even in the seasons that are cold and see little growth, or are scorching with hot tempers that threaten to burn down your progress, with effort and support, you and your marriage can be better.
What better means to you, depends on your marriage. How you proceed depends on you.