My heart is full. My mind is nostalgic.
Life is crazy. It throws curveballs, forces you to climb steep mountains, sticks it's nasty hairy hobbit foot out and trips you, but then grants you a break and lets you rest a whole until it tricks you into falling in a ditch. For what? It's not because our Father in Heaven enjoys seeing you fall on your face, it's the lesson you learn in watching out for those branches and learning to walk around them next time. Maybe to also let another hiker know what to watch out for.
We've all had those trials. That's nothing new, but isn't it funny to look back on those hardships and reflecting back to when we thought that was the end? The world is over? Yet here we are. We picked ourselves back up, brushed off the dust, and climbed our way back to the top. We may even had others give us a boost.
I've learned a lot from my stumbles, and from the stumble of others rather it be by watching it happen or hearing about it later. The number one lesson I've learned throughout such experiences is that it all leads up to the grand finale. The reason for the falls. As I've shared before, mine was my husband.
Getting to the realization and "ah-ha" moment was never easy. It was difficult, and quite a bumpy ride for us both. However, I wouldn't change a thing. Otherwise I may not have ended up as blessed as I am now. I worked through the trials to receive this blessing.
After we got engaged, I prepared myself for my marriage. I studied my scriptures, prayed with and without my then fiancé, and studied my temple prep manual like crazy. I'm grateful I did, otherwise I don't think I would have expected that first year of marriage. I'm grateful we did those things together and separately to prepare for each other.
Those first few months after we got married, we were asked to give a talk in our ward about how we can strengthen our marriages. Personally I thought it was funny they asked the newly weds because of course we would just say, "love each other and you're set. Duh." But here's what we gathered:
1. Love as He loves YOU! This basically encompasses everything, but simply remind yourself of how much our Savior and Heavenly Father love us, and more importantly HOW they love us.
2. Don't be prideful! You aren't always right, and you don't need to be. Recognize when you've made a mistake, FORGIVE, and move on. Plain and simple.
3. Communicate! You know how everyone says that the key to any successful relationship is communicating? Totally 100% true. It's the foundation for success. Tell each other how you truly feel, express yourself lovingly, and don't do them the disservice by bottling it in.
4. Date each other! Dating doesn't stop once you're married. The flame only burns brighter after that as long as you keep it alive. Flirt with one another, be spontaneous, wear the black dress and heels! Make it a goal to go on a date at LEAST once a month. Make that special time outside of work, school, kids, etc for just each other.
5. Participate in wholesome activities! Going to the gym together, bike riding, watching a clean movie, board games, service projects, actively attending church, or outdoor sports are all examples that keep the spirit in your hearts while being a part of fun activities. It can also unify you more as a couple.
6. Always say 'I love you' no matter what! We all know it can be difficult during any disagreement to tell the debater you still love them. However, it's important to let them know that just because you are upset that does not mean you don't still adore them and love them. This can also tie into never going to bed mad? Also true.
7. Be unique! This is totally something Brandon and I gathered just ourselves, and didn't necessarily read on the internet that would bring us together. But from the beginning of our relationship we created this sign to tell one another we love each other without saying it out loud. What we do is we squeeze the others hand 3 times to symbolize "I love you." It's cute. It's goofy, and something just between us. Find that within your own relationship!
8. Be one another's cheerleader and counselor! I can't remember for the life of me which talk I read this in, but I read somewhere that you are each other's best counselor. In our marriage, any struggle or decision I need help making, I turn to my spouse. He knows me best, and knows what would be the best decision for me. One of the things I seek from him and vice versa is his support in those times, and he seeks mine. You need to be their biggest cheerleader! Encourage, uplift, and help each other.
9. Serve each other! One of the love languages! Service. Give a head rub, run an errand, pick up their dry cleaning, make their favorite meal, get them a present just because, or simply help them get tucked in bed after a long day at work. It goes a long way. There's a scripture that comes to mind in mark 10:45, "for even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. And to give his life as a ransom for many."
10. Point out the pros! This also ties into being a cheerleader, but it is more imperative to tell your loved one of all of the great and wonderful characteristics and traits they carry. Recognize them. Point them out. Love them. We are our own worst judge, and at the end of the day, we don't need to be reminded of our shortcomings.
Those were the top ten lessons we have applied and learned throughout our relationship and marriage. We continue to learn more as we journey down this wonderful road together.
I'm eternally grateful for those stumbles and falls in my life that led me to Brandon. I'm grateful for the trials Brandon went through that led to me.
I'm grateful for the time we took in preparing for the temple covenants we made together to honor, serve, and love one another. I'm grateful for the memory of kneeling across the alter from my best friend and superhero and being sealed to him for not only this life, but ETERNITY. I'm grateful for that knowledge. I'm grateful for his example to me in being a worthy priesthood holder in my home, and provider for our family.
Love your spouse. Tell them that, and don't just assume they know. Remind them.
Remember your wedding day.
Honor your covenants.
And by golly, laugh together.
Yes this post was a "just because" where I needed to turn my thoughts into words. Hopefully y'all can take away something from this.
Thanks for reading ❤️❤️