Man… 12 years I have been married to my sweet wife, Natalie. I feel like I should have some dramatic word of wisdom for people, but as I sit here in the courtyard of Trammell Crow Center reflecting on our relationship, I’m struck with how much we enjoy each other. Lots of laughing, lots of great friends and family, lots of adventures – some good, some I would be ok forgetting. We’ve also had our fair share of tough times too… Natalie’s ambiguous health issues have been a central story line within our time together, but something the Father uses to continually teach us more about Him. But what I’m most thankful for with Natalie is the depth of our friendship. She truly is such a joy to spend time with and I’m so happy to run this race with her! But that’s not what this blog is supposed to be about! It’s a Lessons Learned prompt! C’mon Man!
Don’t worry, this all ties together… The lesson learned is this – purposefully investing in your relationship / friendship with your spouse is time well spent and will pay dividends for a lifetime. Hear me, it’s worth it to have the hard conversations. It’s worth it to be fully known, so that you can be fully loved by your spouse. This vulnerability, while seemingly risky, allows for a greater degree of closeness that, I’m convinced, is how God intended it.
I know that it’s “me” writing this… but really Natalie is the one that is good at this. She has a unique ability to parse through surface talk and encounter a person at a different level. This deep conversation hasn’t always been easy for me. I’m more the guy that cracks a joke and runs off before things get too deep! I’ve had to learn that depth of conversation allows for a deeper friendship with my spouse. For us, dates, eye contact, evenings without a TV on after the kids go to bed is huge. Again, not my forte, but I’m so thankful God paired me with a lady that is good at engaging people.
I guess the second part of any great friendship is patience. Give each other patience. We are all broken and all of us need a little extra grace. And while I still haven’t figured this one out quite yet, a hug or a hand hold goes a long way to diffusing an argument! I need to read this blog during our next one!! Lastly, (and so importantly) pray for your spouse!! God wants to fight our battles for us. Praying for each other is the best way to engage the full power of heaven. Prayer changes things… but that’s a blog post for another time!
All of this to say, love your spouse and accept nothing less than a great friendship. If you don’t feel like you have it, or feel like you once had it, but lost it – hit your knees and ask God to intervene. Loving your spouse can take many forms… it could be an extravagant date night, or it may be cleaning your side of the closet. It’s taking out the trash, making dinner or cleaning up afterwards. It’s getting the kids bathed and tucked in when your spouse is worn out, etc… Making the necessary investments into this relationships is the only way to go! You spend so much time with this person, it’s so much more fun to have a great friendship with them. I am beyond thankful and supremely blessed to have a wife like Natalie who loves me so well and engages me on deeper levels. What do you say, honey…BFF’s for the next 12 years? ;)