A Talking Marriage

I came across a new blog the other day (well, it's new to me). It's written by a girl who reminds me a lot of me, but she's a way better blogger. Someone on Pinterest had pinned a post in which she lists "26 Questions to Get a Marriage Talking". I thought I'd walk through a couple of those questions.

My disclaimer: As always, I write in hopes that maybe one person can identify with me, maybe gain some sort of new perspective, or just know that you're not alone. I always want to be an encouragement to you guys, and on the flip side of that, I love to hear encouragement from you too!

  1. What things did you see in this person that made you want to marry him?
    First, I saw Jesus. Jason is kind, caring, loving, and sensitive. From the beginning he challenged me to grow in my relationship with Christ. He lovingly forced me to surround myself with biblical community and then seek ministry opportunities to pour out what God was growing in me. Beyond that, I saw a hard working man who was silly and allowed me to be myself around him and appreciated my quirks.
  2. What were your goals for your marriage when you were engaged?
    Always communicate with each other - even if that means over communicating. Love each other. Honor each other in front of others and also alone (sometimes it's easier to talk great about your spouse in front of others, but always honoring them when the spotlight is gone can be tough sometimes). Be closer tomorrow than we are today.
    Tangible: Travel. Buy a house. Live below our means. Love our jobs. Love our families. Adopt. Be prayerful parents. Have children who become believers in Christ. Send our children to college someday.
  3. If you could press a button and change your marriage, how would it change?
    I wouldn't change a specific thing, but I would just change our understanding of each other. I think it's God's design for men and women to have a different perspective on things, but sometimes when we're making decisions or dealing with a conflict or point of tension, it would be nice if I could understand Jason and where his thought process is originating and visa-verse.
  4. In what ways do you think God is honored in your marriage?
    I believe that Jason and I truly love each other well - or at least we try to. Obviously there are many many times that I put myself first, and I do not love, respect, and submit to my husband as well as I could, but it is my desire to. I believe the same goes for Jason. Obviously he isn't perfect, but I believe his true desire is to love me well, serve me sacrificially, and honor me as his wife in the most glorifying way. I do honestly believe that this bring glory to God and honors Him. We also want to adopt. Just as the picture of marriage is the most literal depiction of our relationship with God and His church, adoption is God's illustration of being welcomed into God's family upon accepting salvation, not based on any of our own merit.
  5. Describe how you and your spouse arrive at decisions.
    95% of the time we are on the same page when it comes to making decisions. Most of the time, we don't really have to talk further than our initial thoughts because they are very similar. BUT, there have been a few times that one of us didn't know what decision to make or we just disagreed on what we should decide. As the wife, I try to follow Jason's lead. If I feel as if we are not making a good decision, I definitely put my thoughts in. Usually, if we are not in agreement for whatever reason, we will take time to pray about it, and really talk through things honestly and extensively. So far, after that process we come to the same conclusion. I think it helps that we really trust each other and trust that the other is seeking after God's will for our lives and for our marriage.
  6. Describe how you as a couple resolve conflicts.
    We were told in pre-marital counseling to do this thing where I tell Jason what is bothering me or what I'm upset about and then he repeats back what he heard to make sure he's gaining the full amount of understanding that he can from what I'm saying. We do try this sometimes, but not always. Our conflicts are pretty few and far between, and they normally arise out of pure frustration that has nothing to do with the other person. Many times one or both of us is on edge after work. We are worried about something, so we're grumpy. Whatever the trigger, it's usually not the root of the issue. Usually, we just let that person experience the emotion (frustration, grumpiness, irritability, etc.) and then talk about what the root cause is. Sometimes it may have to do with something on of us did to the other, and I think that what is most helpful is that we both know that at the end of the day, we'd never intentionally try to hurt each other. Any hurt caused is accidental. The times we've had actual "fights" since we've been married, we've resolved the conflict by taking a step back, disengaging from the heightened emotions, and really talking through things honestly and efficiently. Those times aren't fun, but we always end up stronger and closer on the other side.
  7. Why do you think you have struggled as a couple?
    Two main things.
    We are from REALLY different families. I would almost go so far as to say polar opposites. Jason is an only child and was raised by his mom. I was raised by both of my parents, with siblings, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. My family is all up in each others' business constantly - and not just my immediate family. I have 21 first cousins, and by the end of the year I'll have about 30 second cousins. My family is HUGE...and that's just my dad's side. Almost all of my dad's family lives within about 60 miles of each other. Jason and I are two of the few who don't live there. So when he comes home with me, there are just people everywhere and there's no such thing as a quite moment to yourself. Anyway, all of that to say, it's been a huge adjustment to get used to. Being from such different families can be hard, but we strive to really learn from each other. Navigating how we want The Morales Family to operate and look like has been the hardest part of marriage so far since we bring very little to the table that is similar in relation to our families. But one thing is for sure, and this is by far the most important thing, both of our families love us immensely, and we love them as well. Jason and I desire to build a family and a home that is founded on what God's Word instructs us to do. Beyond that, the rest is just small details.
    #2: Because of our difference in family backgrounds, I think that sometimes Jason thinks that I want more from him than I let on. Whether that's more money, a nicer house, better cars, more time with my family, more extravagant vacations, nicer clothes, whatever, I think he thinks that I want more. Because of that, he does this thing where he tries to hear the message behind the conversation. I may be saying that we should renew our lease for another year, but what I'm really saying is that he's letting me down by not buying me a million dollar home right now. That's extreme, but you see my point. In reality, I'm really just saying, let's renew our lease for a year because that's what's best for us, and that's all there is to it. There's no message behind the statement. But when Jason feels like there is (and let's be honest, I probably do something to make him feel like there is), then he gets defensive, and then I get mad because I feel like he's accusing me of something I didn't say or do. We've had to learn to really express what we REALLY mean and also ask a lot of questions. We've improved in this struggle an insane amount since we got married almost 8 months ago.
  8. How do you communicate dissatisfaction with your spouse?
    When we first got married, I didn't really. If something happened or was said that I didn't agree with or like, I'd just bottle it up and then something would trigger it and I'd get really mad. I've learned that the best way to let Jason know if he upset me is to just say really calmly and nice, "When you did _______ today, it really hurt my feelings. I wish you would have done ____________ instead." Mostly, he feels really bad, but it also gives him an opportunity to explain if he wants to. I usually do this as we're going to bed so that we're both calm and relaxed. If something has bothered me for a while and I have a lot to say about it, I'll write it for Jason in a note. For me, I express myself the best through writing and it also allows me to step back and not be as emotional. If I write something out of emotion, I can go back and reword it or take it out completely before things get said that can't be taken back. Jason also does well with notes because he can look at it multiple times and really understand what I'm trying to communicate to him.
  9. What do you think God is doing in your marriage right now?
    I believe that God is just growing us. I believe He's growing us closer to Him and closer to each other. We are taking this season of life to just work as hard as we can at our jobs, on our marriage, on saving money, on growing closer together, on growing in our individual relationships with God, and with our spiritual relationship with God as a couple. This is a sweet season of life where we are just getting our footing and navigating how our marriage should work and look. I'm thankful for this season because I know it won't last long - there's always a busy schedule lurking around the corner. So while we're here, I just want to learn all that I can and allow God to mold us into what He sees we should be.
I hope that this has been helpful. It's always difficult to be transparent on my blog because it requires a ton of vulnerability knowing anyone out there can just read this. My hope and prayer is that reading this will bless you as writing it has blessed me. To see the rest of the 26 questions, visit Rachel's blog here.

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Posted on May 15, 2013 and filed under "marriage", "married life", "married".