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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Investing in our Marriage

This is going to be one of those times where I'm just super honest and open. I think it's important in my blogging to be real and be true. So often the world of social media is "our best" selves rather than our real selves and I don't ever want to be that way.

I'm confident in my "mom skills." When I first became a mom it changed my life and I became very passionate about all aspects of parenting. I've read books. I've put in the work and time and effort. I never, ever just "wing it" when it comes to my kids.

I've been married for 9 years this coming May. NINE years. And just about 6 months ago it finally hit me: I've been "winging it" as a wife this entire time. I invest SO much of myself into being a mom. But what do I really invest into being a wife?!?! I can say with confidence "I'm a good mom" but I can't say "I'm a good wife" with that same confidence.

Sure, I can sit and say that I didn't have the best examples of a healthy marriage growing up (both of my parents have been married multiple times and divorced each other when I was 9). But that's not an excuse. And even if it is, I'm not the kind of person to have crutches and use excuses.

A light bulb finally went off for me and I realized that I had work to do. That I needed to really and truly put my husband as my top priority. Above my kids. Being a good wife is more important than being a good mom.

While Zach and I have always had a good marriage...we have SO much potential to make it GREAT. Why settle for mediocracy? Why sit back and take the easy route when we could put in work and get an even sweeter reward?

If you follow my Facebook page then I'm sure you've noticed over the past several months that more and more of the articles I've been sharing have been more about the journey of marriage than the journey of parenting ;) I realized that in order for my marriage to be great, and in order for me to have that confidence as a wife that I had to get to WORK.

{2006}



My first step was just to start reading more articles related to marriage. I read a LOT of articles on parenting topics and I felt making that shift into more marriage related subject matter would help me grow in that area.

It was through those articles that I stumbled upon Marriage 365. At that point I hadn't really said much to Zach about my desire to grow in our marriage. I felt like the growth was about ME and about my priorities changing and about my full investment in our marriage. Yes, he matters in that but I didn't want it to be a situation where I looked for him to change, I wanted to keep focused on myself and what I needed to do.

When I found Marriage 365 I started following them on IG and they posted SUCH great content. I ended up tagging Zach in some of their posts and he started following them too. That ONE decision has lead to so much growth in our bond. Yes, social media helped my marriage grow :)

The couple behind Marriage 365 is the real deal and through us following them on IG we learned about their webinars and both agreed that it'd be a great thing for us to do. We had a real open and raw talk (I love that they call it "naked conversations" although Zach wishes it legit meant being naked haha) about our marriage and where it's been, where it is now, and where we want it to be in the future.

2015 started a bit rocky for us. We hit a pretty rough patch in Feb and it took us time to work through it and making the decision to fully invest in our love and our marriage through the webinars with Marriage 365 was a game changer for us. We went from "eh we're ok" to "dang we're on fire for each other" in a matter of weeks.

The first webinar we watched was on the topic of communication which is an area we have struggled with. I think the great thing about the webinars is that 1) Casey and Meghan (the couple behind Marriage 365) are SUPER relatable. They don't act "better than" or like they have it all together. Plus they remind us of ourselves haha 2) They are 3rd party credibility. Hearing an outsider say something sometimes makes it click better than having one of us point it out to each other. 3) It can be on our time. We took the first webinar, which was about 2 hours long, and split it up. We watched 30 min a week and took the time to talk about it and it was AWESOME.

During our talks I shared with Zach my goal for our marriage. My parents divorced at the year of their 10th wedding anniversary. When we hit that marriage mile marker...I don't want to be "ok" or even "good" I want to be GREAT. I want our marriage to be the type that draws others in. I am confident in offering up parenting advice. But I want to be equally confident in helping people with their marriage as I am helping them in their parenting. I want our children to learn from our love. To want to grow up to have a marriage just like their parents. 10 is a big number and I want it to be super significant for us. It's also a great goal (and I love me some goals!)

From August - Oct we were really on fire for our marriage. We were both investing a lot and working a lot on us and were kinda patting ourselves on the back for it. Look at us. Look how awesome we've become. When I watched War Room with Aunt Karen I told her when it was over that I really didn't need the parts about marriage. My marriage was awesome and getting better every day! I didn't need to be worrying about that! On my drive to my solo trip I even thought about my marriage. I literally sat there and thought "it's all smooth sailing from here on!"

Sometimes we forget that Satan is listening, don't we?

November was a slap in the face. Nothing major happened. No major wrong-doing on either party. Nothing life shattering. I honestly can't even tell you how the valley point started but it came. We had been on this marriage high and then hit a low. And it was 100% nothing but Satan. And through that? I realized a KEY error I'd made in my efforts to become a better wife: I thought I could do it alone.

I failed to realize that in order to make my husband a top priority in my life, I had to make GOD the top priority first.

It's not about what I can do for my marriage. It's about what GOD can do and through giving it ALL to Him I'm able to be my best self. I have failed as a wife because I have failed to love GOD the most. To find my inner peace through HIM. To have that deeper connection and understanding of HIS love for me. THAT has to come first. And through that all things will flow!

Zach traveled a lot for work in November which made working through things hard but also gave us that space we needed to think clearly and to really focus on ourselves and our personal walks with the Lord. And man, did we show Satan that God prevails!

We both are really on the same page right now as to what our focus needs to be. It's SO simple to say "God comes first." But do we live it? We are striving to LIVE a life for Christ. Not just talk about it. Not just slide through life without a purpose. We want to THRIVE and we know the only way possible is through Christ. I'm so proud of Zach for his ability to put that pride aside and see where he needs to grow. I know how hard it's been for ME to look at myself and see my areas of weakness and see how truly empty I am without the Lord filling me. I think it's even harder for Zach as he's been raised knowing Jesus his entire life. It's hard to sometimes appreciate something that you've just always had, ya know? But we have both seen how God works and we both have a renewed outlook on our faith and a stronger relationship with God and each other.

I'm really, really excited to see where 2016 will lead us. Our focus is on God but specifically on His perfect timing. We've both had personal hardships where we have realized we can't do it alone and that we can't make God do something on our time. Our goal is to be prayerful, be patient, and be quiet. Truly give it to God and fully TRUST (not just have faith, but have TRUST) Him in all things!

{2015}



This post isn't sponsored in any way but I do encourage you to check out what Marriage 365 has to offer. Our goal is to work through more of the webinars together. To continue to have more open communication with each other and to fully focus on our prayer lives. Our individual prayer lives as well as praying together and as a family. Again, I also HIGHLY recommend watching War Room (today is THE last day to enter the giveaway to win!!!). I have not talked with a single person who has seen it who hasn't grown in their prayer life!

A note to wives: I encourage you to watch War Room on your own before watching it with your husband. I just think there is a lot to be gained from it on a personal, intimate level that may be lost a little if you watch it for the first time with your spouse!

Our marriage is still far from perfect, and I'm still not to that "confident wifey status" yet, but the important thing is that we are growing. And we are SEEING results already! Not just in ourselves, not just in our marriage...but also in our children and our family. I truly believe that by being a better daughter to my ultimate father I'm then better equip to be a better wife to my husband and then able to be an even better mother to my children. When I give my all to God, every aspect of my life is blessed! As we end this year and begin another I'm filled with so much joy for the family surrounding me and am so excited to see what the year of "sweet '16" has in store! Happy New Year to you!


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