Because I Love Him, I Gave Up: A Marriage Tale

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Because I love him,I gave up (3)I’ve watched the movies. So, once I got engaged, I knew everything was supposed to be blissful and easy.

But marriage is not like that. Especially for two people mostly raised as only children.  We both were, and still are,perfectionists to a certain extent.  Which of course means we believed that our way of doing things was right.

We ended up fighting about silly stuff that in the scheme of things didn’t matter at all – how to put a cup in the cupboard – rim up or down; how to properly load the dishwasher; how to get the toothpaste out of the tube; but fortunately, we both put the toilet paper on correctly so that was one battle we didn’t have to wage.  Amongst all these silly little battles were bigger ones too…like baggage from our previous relationships and issues around our family of origin.

Yes, we loved each other but over time these things can really wear on a marriage, especially when we didn’t want to deal with them.  Sometimes we  just got tired and instead of dealing with an issue head on, we “swept it under the rug”.  Some friends of ours who are marriage coaches and lead a marriage ministry (WGHJ) say you can’t put a baby snake under the rug because it just grows into an adult snake and then it’s worse to deal with.  That’s so true.  WE never realized we were sweeping so many baby snakes under the rug but once it came to our attention, we had to make a decision – kill the snakes or slowly kill our marriage.  My husband is my greatest helpmate, encourager, lover and defender and I should be his.  In order to give our marriage a fighting chance, I learned I had to give up.

 Because I love my husband…

1.  I’ve given up holding my phone when he’s around me.  Instead, I choose to hold his hand and have a face-to-face conversation.  I let him know he is more important to me than what’s happening on Facebook or in someone else’s life.

2.  I’ve given up on trying to understand how snuggling next to him while watching a movie and not talking is quality time.  He says it is, so I indulge in this as part of his love language.

3.  I’ve given up some of my time to learn about a sport I thought was pointless.  Now, I can hit a tiny ball into a tiny hole and one of his favorite sports is something we can enjoy together.

4. I’ve given up saying “I’m too tired” or “Not now” to his advances.  Rachael Carman actually challenged me and a roomful of women back in May to take a 30 day dare.  Basically, the dare is to kiss your husband back every time he kisses you and enjoy him at every sexual advance.  Now, I am here to say that I am so glad I took this dare!  Do it and you’ll see why. Actually, I dare you! I guess the best way to sum it up is to quote Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” – “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t shoot their husbands.  They just don’t!”  And I promise you, it will help get rid of any pre-sex headaches you may have had!

5.  I’ve given up my independent nature.  Wait. Wait.  Give me a minute to explain.  I am the only child of older parents.  I was raised to be able to take care of myself in case they died early.  (Grim but true.) I am one of those people who can eat in a restaurant or go to the movies alone and be completely content.  I lived an independent life before getting married and actually carried it over into my married life.  If I wanted to do something and had time in my schedule, I did it without even discussing it with my husband.  It was my schedule not his.  I was always overbooking our life and he was exhausted and missing me because I didn’t always include him in my plans.  About 3 -4 years into our marriage it became a real problem and then one day it hit me, my schedule affected his schedule…oops – our schedule.  We didn’t get married so I could still be independent.  When I said “I do,” we were pronounced “Mr. & Mrs” and planned on building a life of togetherness and sharing, deciding things together not separately.  Now, our marriage is so much stronger because we are communicating about our future together instead of slowly drifting apart in our separate directions.

6.  I’ve given up waiting for an apology.  Sadly, between us I’m the one who instigates most conflicts.  THEN, I get mad at my husband for engaging in the conflict instead of calming me down. (Makes sense, right?)  I must confess I am still working on this one.  My pride gets in the way many times, but my goal is that when I start a fight or even if I don’t, that I be the first to make an apologetic move and thus, calm the situation.  I want our kids to be a respecter of people, even when others are not nice to them.  Who better to practice on than their own precious Papí?  My husband is a wonderful man and I should show him not only love but also respect even when I’m in a bad mood or feel like he has done something wrong.  (Hint:  Learn more about this in the book Love & Respect.  It’s a great resource!)

7.  I’ve given up my Victoria Secret catalog and even Athleta.  I mentioned before my husband is my protector and I am his.  We have such an open relationship that we feel free to share our struggles with one another.  Because he wants to cherish only me instead of having others filling his head, one day he asked that when a Victoria Secret catalog or something similar came in, if I would look at it and dispose of it before he got home that way he wouldn’t be tempted in any way.  I so appreciated his heart and honesty that I canceled the catalog altogether.  In helping to guard his heart, I’m guarding our marriage in a way that I never even contemplated.  He still gets to see the fun stuff, just on me! It’s a win-win.

Truly, I guess I’ve given up very little (actually lots of pride & selfishness) and gained a whole lot in return.  This year my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  Our marriage is thriving. Don’t get me wrong, we still have our struggles but now we are working as a team, which makes all the difference.  I’m not normally a quitter, but I’m thankful that over the years I’ve learned it’s better to give up in some areas in order to blossom in others.

What have you given up to help your marriage thrive?  Better yet, are you willing to take the 30 day challenge?  

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I'm a wife to an amazing husband and a mother to four super active kiddos ages: 7 & under. Seven years ago, I traded in my career outside the home for a career as an adventurous homeschooling mom and gave up microwave cooking for organic homemade meals. Truly, dance parties, lots of prayer, and laughter are the only ways I stay sane, along with working out, traveling, crafting & reading in my spare time. Most of all, I love serving God, my family, my friends and my community. My family is constantly looking for ways that we can grow and have fun together while blessing others with what the Lord has given us. I hope my words will be a blessing to you!

10 COMMENTS

  1. I am home sick and enjoyed reading your blog today! Even people who have been married 26 years can learn and remind themselves of things they already knew but lost sight of. Thanks!

  2. Wow! Krist!! You nailed it!!
    Way to go with such inspiring, challenging, well expressed words! You can hear your heart!
    When you have snakes in your house, you live in fear never knowing when they will strike — choosing to Create a Sacred Marriage makes for a Holy Home!! God bless you for focusing on “owning your own” – making the decisions to “give up” in order to “Honor”!
    Thank you, Kristi!! God bless you!

  3. Very beautiful article. I will say that the Victoria secret catalog cancellation was a little extreme. If he is seriously tempted by women in a magazine.. He could be facing deeper issues.

    I had a church friend who was seriously addicted to pornography and cheated on his wife with other women frequently. He also asked his wife to get rid of any temptation in the house.

    Overall, If your married and trust your partner completely there shouldn’t be any “temptation issues”

  4. Hi Kristi! I so enjoyed reading this today! Thanks for being vulnerable enough to share! As a Licensed Marital and Family and Therapist, I have to say my favorite part is that you focused on what you could do to impact your marriage in a positive way rather than on what your spouse needed to do change. I’d love to see a corresponding article about things he has given up to improve your marriage! Guest post maybe?

    I find myself compelled to respond to the previous comment. Kate, thanks for opening up the conversation about a difficult topic! My heart goes out to your church friend. Pornography and sex addiction is a heart breaking problem in our culture. However, I think acknowledging temptation, acknowledging the darkest parts of each of us, is actually the only way to build a foundation of true trust in a relationship. Not because it was ever your friend’s job or Kristi’s job to manage temptation for their spouse but because when our spouse shares a vulnerability they are working to manage and have good boundaries around then responding with empathy is never a bad idea. Kristi’s response to her husband was empathetic. Currently, I’m trying to take off some extra weight. It’s my job, not my husband’s, to manage what I eat but I sure still would appreciate it if he doesn’t bring home a chocolate cake. If he does, it is still my responsibility to walk away from it but I think I have a much better shot at it if I’m able to acknowledge out loud that it’s a struggle. I’ve got to say, I think we probably all know someone at this point whose life has been dismantled by porn or sex addiction and so we all feel a bit skittish. I’m guessing your friend did respond with empathy and still got blind sided by the depth of her husband’s deception. With the limited information you posted, it appears she may have been dealing with a true addict who wasn’t putting any of his own boundaries in place and who had not acknowledged the depth of his addiction. However, it’s been my experience that when we say there are no temptation issues we give temptation more power rather than less. Again, thanks for opening the topic, Kate. Kristi, thanks so much for your beautifully written post. Also, thanks to your husband for allowing some of his vulnerability to be shared on the world wide web. How brave and generous of both of you!

  5. Thank you all for your encouraging words!

    I honestly debated whether or not to put #7 in the blog. I love my husband and definitely do not want anyone thinking badly of him, because he is an amazing husband, father and Christian man. However, after talking with him, we both agreed that including it was the best thing to do. Why? Because when he first talked to me about the potential for temptation, I didn’t understand it. I probably said something like “Well, don’t look at it.” or “Why? I don’t get it.” But after talking with him and seeing his heart, it made me realize how brave he was for even talking to me about it. So, we decided that if I could help other wives, who may be naive about it as well, understand how visually damaging sexually provocative images can be for our husbands even when we simply see the item being sold, then it would be worth sharing.

    As a Christian, I believe that the main way of thwarting temptation is by openly talking about it with someone who will support you in the struggle. I also believe that Satan will use anything to destroy a marriage and for that reason, if either of us brings up a temptation, one will defend the other.

    Any time I see a Victoria Secret catalog now, I am so thankful to my husband for caring more about our marriage than feeling embarrassed about something that once tempted him. Then, when I look into the eyes of my two little boys I am thankful I decided to cancel the catalog. I don’t want to unintentionally introduce them to this soft porn, which is a stepping stone to many other issues. I haven’t seen a catalog in years but I would bet that if I looked at one right now I would see a beautifully, airbrushed woman on the front cover with her chest poised in the air and her legs seductively open. It’s more than just selling bras and panties. It’s selling sex and it does a very good job.

    And yes, thank you Kate for bringing up the topic. It is one that definitely needs to be talked about. Too many homes are being ripped apart by it and the age that boys are getting exposed to it is so young.

    • I am also glad you included #7. My husband and I have had a similar conversation. I agree it took courage for him to be so honest. I think we all have temptations and if there’s anything we can do to help each other not be tempted then I say it’s worth a shot.

  6. Thank you for sharing this great post! I love your perspective and the approach you took to working on your marriage in order to keep it thriving. These days so many others would have just given up. I appreciate your honesty and I think we can all take some important lessons away from it. Thank you!

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