Today is about something I feel really passionate about, and I hope it is helpful to you! Let me start this by saying Paul and I haven’t always had a “great” marriage (oy to our first year). Loved one another always. Communicated well? That’s a big fat NOPE. 😉
We have certainly had seasons we definitely were butting heads more than we were in sync, and even still we can *of course* have “off days.” But, I would say we are lightyears from where we started, best friends, and I truly would’t want to hang out with anybody else more than him. Our fights diffuse way quicker and we are on each other’s team! We’ve changed some things in our home and implemented routines that matter to us and have established for us a home culture that is peaceful, unified, and rooted in our faith. I really do believe (with counseling and mentorship!) that these are some practical ways our home has transformed into a peaceful and flourishing space for us and Knox to live.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
This scripture is so good! Though it’s obviously not God speaking into relationships or our homes specifically, we are called to match God’s heart. And the more we take on his character of humility and gentleness, we will find peace! In our homes, our marriages, our friendships. Everything!
Our individual relationships with God spur one another on together- it’s not the other way around.
When we got married, we knew that we were both serious about our relationship with God. But, for us, we’ve really watched our marriage grow the more we’ve valued our personal quiet times with God. Asking one another questions about our prayer life, worries, fears, etc… these help us grow even closer. But, it starts with our own personal relationship and time with the Lord. And, the more we grow in Christ as individuals, the more our home and marriage changes. It’s all hand in hand.
Getting control of finances and spending.
Mo money, mo problems… right? But, no let’s get real for a second. Careless spending and a frustrating bank account can be a tension point for couples. It really is true! It’s not about how much, but are you spending what you have well? Learning how to manage money, wise investments, and a healthy budget has changed our lives! Seek help and I promise, you’ll be amazed. Again- it’s not about how MUCH. It’s about learning to be wise with what you have!
Say sorry, and you don’t always have to “win” or be understood.
Holla! This one is for me. Listen, I get it. If you are a justice seeker, the need to “win” a fight can be a downfall of ours because we feel so deeply moved by our convictions or frustrations. Our marriage changed when I stopped needing to win. And, frankly, so many of my battles were rooted in unmet expectations that weren’t worth a battle to begin with. This has been a game changer for MY life and my marriage. I am not angry about things I can’t control in my marriage or home like I used to be. This affects me and my personal health more than anybody or anything else! I just feel… lighter? It’s the best word I can find to explain how it feels to care less about things that just don’t matter.
Help one another, take on burdens (chores included!!).
Ain’t nothin’ sexier than an empty sink. But for real, I feel like we are in it together when we evenly take on the burdens and challenges of every day things. Groceries, chores in the home, paying bills. We split it all!
Serve the local church together.
“Hannah, you guys work at a church. Of course you do.” NAH, you can too. And it’s important you do. Whether you are leading a small group or serving as a greeter at the front door together, SERVE. Serve the church and serve the vision to bring more people “home” together. Nothing will unify your home more.
Spend time at least once a week intentionally catching up on things without any distractions- worries, excitements, schedules, etc.
I mentioned this briefly above, but ask one another intentional questions and sit down to for real talk at least once a week. We honestly do this just about every night at dinner together. This includes discussing our week together, our schedules, current joys and frustrations, etc. I feel like our home is less chaotic since we’ve started valuing this!
It doesn’t have to be fancy. We pray together laying in bed before we fall asleep. Paul will usually ask, “What do you want me to pray for tonight?” It can be 30 seconds or it may be significantly longer. But pray together!
Be best friends and find joy in life together.
Paul really is my best friend. I hate experiencing things without him! All of the above things I have mentioned have laid the foundation for this. It’s a journey and one that isn’t anywhere near perfected (and never will be!). But our home and marriage is significantly different because of these things, and I think they can work for you, too.
Take these and tailor them to your own family! Pick things you value together, and stick to them. Fight for goals together. Write them on your fridge… Whatever it takes! Your home WILL change as you implement unified values together.