Check-ups are important!
In honor of my recent 5 year anniversary, I am writing a series of posts on marriage. If you missed the last one, you can find it here. We’re going to call it a “check-up” because its healthy to have those frequently. Also, my son has his 12 month check-up later today, so that is what is on my mind! So here are 5 check-ups for your marriage! (Below photo credit goes to Wendy Mayo Photographer.)
1. Do you have marriage “models”?
Modeling is how we learn a great portion of our skills as people. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is super important to have role models for your marriage. My personal top marriage models are my parents, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law. What is so impressive about their marriages? They’ve successfully raised children, kept their marriages strong through countless trials, have healthy communication, and so many other awesome things! If you don’t yet have any marriage models, some other things to look for are positive conflict resolution, the ability to rely on each other, and their positive marital satisfaction. If your parents aren’t helpful marriage models, don’t worry, anyone that you admire who has a healthy marriage can fill this role.
Hint: Do NOT look to television for your marriage models. Except maybe Fixer Upper because lets be real, Chip and Joanna are adorable. Contention and drama may sell and boost television ratings, but they don’t do anything positive for your marriage.
2. Do you consistently put your needs ahead of your spouses?
Not to say your needs shouldn’t be met, but if your needs always come first, turn the tables in your mind. And here’s another question: how would you feel if your spouse treated you the way you treat them? If you aren’t comfortable with this visualization, then you have some work to do! It’s simply not acceptable or sustainable if one person always gets their needs met or always gets their way. This leaves one individual with never getting their way, and never getting what they need, and you shouldn’t want that for the person you love more than anyone else in the world.
3. Does teasing go too far?
Teasing each other is fine, and can be a fun way to bond as long as everyone is comfortable and not feeling hurt. Make sure you are on the same page, and that you are both aware that it is all in fun. You need to let your spouse know if you aren’t having fun, and if it has gone too far. Teasing is NOT the appropriate time to air your grievances. It’s never acceptable to be passive aggressive, and it is definitely never ok be passive aggressive towards your spouse. We all have our trigger points and things we are not comfortable with being teased about. If you know what is off-limits or a trigger point for you, let your spouse know. Or you can learn them the hard way, like most couples do. 😉
4. Do you spend way more time with your family/friends than theirs?
I am aware that this is a super sensitive topic. Out of the 5 check-ups for your marriage that we are covering today, this is the one that is one of the more difficult ones for couples to work out. When both families live near a couple, it can be tricky to balance time with both. However, it is incredibly important to do your best to balance time with both while still getting enough alone time as well. Turn the tables again, if you were spending the same amount of time with your family as you currently do with your spouses family, would that be enough?
Are holidays equally shared between families? My parents have a really good system down with spending holidays with their families. Everyone is happy, and I am super impressed! For us, we have the unique challenge of having my family live far away, along with my husband’s inconsistent work schedule (Let’s give a shout out to nurses, they are amazing!) It makes it difficult to visit for Christmas, and often our Christmas visits are simply in the vicinity of the holiday, and not on the actual day. But you better believe that we make it work, and my husband does all he can to make sure that we see them at least a few times each year. They are his family too, and he loves them as much as I do!
When you get married, their family becomes yours. You get TWO families to love and cherish! To me that is super special, and I love the family I married into. As far as friends go…do your best to choose friends that you both like, and that you can spend time with together. It can be hard to find married friends that both of you enjoy spending time with, (Especially if you are opposites like my husband and myself!) but be patient, and you will find some! Good choices if you don’t have some already are neighbors, friends from church, and maybe even friends from work! While you complete these check-ups for your marriage, know that finding friends you can spend time with together can be very enriching for your marriage.
5. Do you allow outside influences to have a negative impact on your marriage?
Whether it be family, friends, or your job, do you allow anyone outside you and your spouse to dictate your marriage? Not to say you can’t ask others for guidance, or seek counseling if necessary, (because you totally should!) but make sure you and your spouse are running the show. It’s your marriage after all.
As you complete these check-ups for your marriage, think about those closest to you. Is there anyone in your life who isn’t rooting for your marriage? Even if they don’t come out and say it, do their actions indicate that they aren’t on your team? You need to do some soul searching to see if they should remain in your life. Life is difficult enough with out inviting someone into your inner circle to sabotage your marriage. You deserve better.
What check-ups for your marriage do you think are important? Let me know in the comments below!