A few weeks ago, Raleigh and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary at the beach. Spending 72 uninterrupted hours with my husband was AWESOME!!!!  We got dressed up, ate a fancy dinner, and slept in. We also got to watch grown-up shows the WHOLE WEEKEND (not a single cartoon!) on Netflix.

 During our weekend away, I realized three things that have been life-changing in our marriage recently, and thought I'd share them with you. Here you go:

3 things to make your marriage stronger

1. Let go of expectations

Life is never going to be just how we imagined it to be (shocker!). Nine years into being married, I'm finally accepting this truth and doing my best to enjoy what we have been given. I'm so thankful for my husband but I've spent WAY too much time putting incredibly high standards on him and the role he plays not only in our marriage but as the head of our household. Letting go of false expectations of what I "thought" our life together would look like has allowed me to see how hard he works and how grateful I am for the real life we've created together. It's messy, it's hard, it's busy, but it's also crazy-good. Letting go of expectations has allowed us to feel more at peace with who we are, what we are doing, and where we are going. 

2. Laugh

My husband makes me laugh harder than anyone else in the whole world. He gets me and he knows better than anyone when I need to laugh. Life is incredibly heavy and hard, but it is also happy and holy. I've realized that I'm often guilty of lingering on the hard moments and I let those difficulties infiltrate the holy covenant I made with my husband. Raleigh is on my side, and I am on his side. To continue onward as a team, we must find time to laugh, even when we don't feel like it. 

3. Be Light

For years, I have wanted to write a book. I can't tell you how many times this subject has been the topic of our conversations on road trips, dinner dates, and random Tuesday nights. We've prayed, cried, argued, and loved our way through this conversation over and over and over until one day, we decided to STOP. We were both sick of circling the same subject and on our eighth wedding anniversary, we made the decision to change our circumstance. We didn't know how, but we knew that I needed to get this desire out of my head and on paper. If I didn't, I'd be doing our marriage more harm than good. Now that I'm finally writing, I feel So Much Lighter. It's a LOT of work, but it makes my heart (and my marriage) so very happy. When a spouse does not feel like they are doing what they were created to do, this can mess with your marriage. Give each other space, permission, and freedom to work out your dreams. When you do, you will each feel so much lighter and in return, give light to others.

Marriage is companionship. Spouses see every side of our personalities. I wish that Raleigh only saw the best side of me but I'm so very grateful that he still loves me, even in my worst moments. When you and I can let go of false expectations, laugh, and be light, we will help our marriages be stronger than they were before. May we continue to strengthen our marriages through prayer and play, work and rest, love and grace.

What about you? What advice do you have for making marriages stronger? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Celebrating you,

Christen

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