After a whirlwind of dating and having the time of their lives, the boy decided to "put a ring on it."
The handsome boy took the beautiful girl to a big white castle, where they were married for Time and Eternity.
Then they rode off into the sunset and lived Happily Ever After!
WHOA!! SLOW DOWN....Why is it that Fairy Tales always end with "They got married and lived happily ever after"? It's because no one wants to hear the truth about what "happily ever after" means.
They don't want to hear about how you will live in the smallest apartment known to mankind. Or that even though you work two jobs you are still scrambling to make ends meet. Or practically living off of bags and bags of Reese's Pieces because you literally got 1 bag with every wedding gift you received! They don't want to hear about the years and money and stress that you will spend on a college degree. They don't talk about the small silly arguments over laundry detergent brands, what to watch on tv, or who's Family do we spend holidays with.
What about when kids start coming? No one wants to talk about the horrendous pain you will be in while also battling days with no sleep and being on the brink of a mental breakdown. The puke in your hair, poop on your face, (yes, that really happened) and never-ending piles of laundry. Or what about finding the right job that will help you support your Family? I can go on and on about all of the things that we never hear about in fairy tales, but the
bottom line is folks, being married can be stressful. Not everyone can hack it, and that my friends is why the divorce rate in our country is soaring though the roof!
About a year ago someone said to us "Ya'll are just so cute! Always having fun like brand new newlyweds!" Tomorrow, Captain Hunk and I will celebrate our ELEVENTH wedding anniversary! Even though we went through ALL of the above said things (and a lot more), and we are certainly no experts, we have a few secrets about the foundation of our marriage and what keeps it standing strong, even through all of the storms.
"Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 11:11
First and foremost, it's no secret that we are a religious Family. We would not have the things that we have, including each other, were it not for our Father In Heaven. He is the MOST important person in our lives and because of our love for Him and our faith in Him, Captain Hunk and I are able to love each other as deeply as we do. Without Him, we would be nothing. That being said, one thing that we do, and probably the most important, is pray together. When we have big decisions to make or are seeking counsel, we turn to our Father in Heaven. We have taught Troop how to pray and to love our Father in Heaven as well. Every night before bed, as a Family, we read from the scriptures and say prayers as a Family. We love our Savior and our Father in Heaven and because of that, we have so much more love in our home.
"Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered...Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good, and the foundation of a successful marriage."
- Richard G. Scott
Being selfless in a marriage, or loving unselfishly, is SO important. It's so easy to put our children's needs before our own, but how often do we put our spouse's needs first? On that note, your spouse should come before your children. As hard as that is to hear, it's true. While we also need to love our children selflessly, they should be 2nd in line only to your spouse. In order for your children to learn to have good strong relationships, they need to understand and notice how important the relationship is between their parents. Make it known to them. Let them know how much you love them, but also let them know much you love your spouse. Being openly affectionate (to a point) is OKAY! In fact, it's necessary. A lot of couples like to go their separate ways and have a girls/boys night out. Don't make a habit of this. While I believe it is important to have your own friends (I've got to have my "sisters" who support me through deployments) I don't believe that ditching your spouse to go "party with the ladies" is ok. It leaves too much room for trouble, temptation, and regret.
Remember before you were married or even dating, you flirted with people to get their attention. You flirted with them back then and it was fun, so why stop. It's still fun to play hard to get, or tease each other, or say silly flirty things to each other. Flirting keeps things lively. The same with dating. How many dates did you go on BEFORE you were married compared to how many AFTER? Dating while you are married is so important. I understand it can be hard with kids. But you NEED to do it. We try as best as we can to go on a date, just the two of us, at LEAST 2-3 times a month. It doesn't even have to cost money. Take the time to be just the two of you, as a couple. Pretend you are still young and out on a first or second date. Only the best part is, you can invite your date inside for a sleepover!! And never EVER miss a chance to say I Love You!
Keep it fun/Laugh
Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't get angry over something that you know you will laugh about later down the road! Go ahead and laugh at it now, and then laugh again later! Dress up in those ridiculous matching halloween costumes, and when you are out on a date, don't miss the opportunity to dance your heart out. Even if you are just taking a walk in the park. Most of you have music on your phones, and if you don't, dance without it. Just two weeks ago, we enjoyed a little slow dance in the living while discussing somethings and we had NO music playing. We were just enjoying the moment. Something I can promise you, Captain Hunk probably doesn't enjoy dressing up for Halloween every year, but he does it just to see me smile. Same goes with the dancing thing. He never misses an opportunity to line dance with me, not because he loves it, but because I do and he loves me. That is selfless love! We love being silly and we love to laugh! It is a major part of our foundation.
The lack of communication can be very damaging to a marriage. While Captain Hunk and I have done our fair share of finishing each others thoughts, we can't always assume that the other knows what we are thinking or feeling. If something is bothering you, keeping it to your self will only make it worse. You need to talk about it and not assume or just think that they should already know. Verbally express those feelings. I am the worst at this. I can write/type ALL of my feelings and emotions, but expressing them verbally has never been easy for me. Take time when it's just the two of you to discuss these matters. Our deepest thoughts and worries always seem to come out late at night when we are already in bed. This is also a great time to talk about why and how much you love each other. It is important to remind your spouse of these things, and by saying them out loud, you also remind yourself. Being a Military Family, we know what it is like to be separated for long periods of time. Don't let this ruin that great line of communication you have going. When he deploys, TDY's, or whatever it may be, although we talk on the phone everyday, we also take the time to email each other, everyday, if possible. In his year long deployment we may have missed 5 days of emailing. I don't want him to miss out on one minute of our life back at home and visa versa. I would tell him in detail what happened that day, so he still felt apart of things. It also makes the transition of him coming home a little smoother. Most importantly, discuss your finances. That is such an ugly subject, but if everything is out in the open then there is no need for argument about it later. Communication is the key to success!
Another thing that I feel is a part of communication is grief. The hard times WILL come. Don't feel like you have to face them alone. That's what you have each other for. In our time together we have dealt with deployments, PTSD, miscarriages, the loss of loved ones, my parents divorce, negativity towards us, moving far far away from Family/friends...just to name a few. Each of these things have made us grow closer because of the way we went about them. We turned to each other. We cried together. We comforted each other. We loved each other. And we did it together.
This is such a big thing. It doesn't matter if you have been married 2 years, 20 years, or even 50. Never stop touching each other. Even if it's just holding hands while you sit next to each other on the couch, or a light peck on the cheek. Never miss the chance for a quick or long meaningful hug. We love to cuddle. In fact, I am pretty sure neither one of us can fall asleep without touching the other one somewhere. Even if just our feet are touching. A small touch to your spouse can speak a thousand words. I promise. A soft kiss on the cheek means more to me than diamonds or flowers. And as much as some people don't like to say it out loud, it is very important to have a strong and active intimate relationship. But be sure to talk to each other about your needs and wants. Again, communication is the key to success! ;)
We have made it through and will continue to make it through the hard parts of marriage by working together and doing the not-so-hard things. Most of these things seem like obvious things, but sometimes we need to be reminded. You made this choice! Now love it like it will end tomorrow!
Do things together. Play together. Laugh together. Discuss problems together. And if your spouse is the problem, talk about it, nicely. Yelling will not get you ANYWHERE! Flirt, tease, dance, cuddle. Don't let your marriage end at "And they lived happily ever after". Let your marriage begin at "And they LIVE happily ever after!