A Marriage of Mistakes: 18 Lessons Learned from 18 Years of Marriage

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Today is my 18 year anniversary…(just caught something as I’m typing…Let me start over.)

Today is OUR 18 year anniversary. Outside of encountering Christ, May 23, 1998 was the greatest day of my life. But in the midst of the roughly 6,570 days of marriage, I’ve made a few mistakes. Mistakes are fine; they happen. Anne didn’t marry perfection nor did I. But the goal is, if there are mistakes, and there will be, is to try to not make them again.

So I thought what better day than our 18th anniversary to list out, for educational purposes, 18 mistakes we’ve learned from (that hopefully you will learn from too).

  1. Stop comparing with other couples. They are not you.
    • I believe that you can GLEAN ideas from another couple; just don’t think you need to duplicate who they are.  
  2. When your wife goes into labor, don’t make her wait to leave for the hospital so that you can unhook and bring your Playstation.
    • BONUS: Don’t tell her you’re bringing the Playstation because you “don’t want to be bored.”  That’s a whole other mistake.
  3. Assumption is cancerous to the unity in your home.
    • Assumption the devil’s workshop. If you’re going to assume ANYTHING, then always assume the best.
  4. Don’t sneak up on your wife purposely because you think that scaring her will be funny.
    • It’ll never be funny….never!
  5. Devaluing your wife’s idiosyncrasies devalues her personally.
    • God created each of you with idiosyncrasies none better than the other. They are a part of your personality.
  6. When your apartment is on fire, while she is grabbing the wedding photos and irreplaceable items, don’t grab the Playstation.
    • Things can be replaced. (Yes, I have issues and am getting help.)
  7. Couple’s devotions don’t work for Dave and Anne.
    • We both felt guilty for not doing them. The guilt lasted till we realized that we both have the same elements to a walk with Christ, but we do them differently and at different times. It doesn’t stop us from looking for moments to pray over each other, but we’ve felt a release of having to do everything the same in our journey of following Christ. Our steps may not look similar, but the steps will always be together.
  8. Don’t demand what your love language craves.
    • Serve first. Give first. Speak her love language first.  Let your serving lead to reciprocal giving.
  9. Refuse to try changing your spouse.
    • Pray that God would BLESS her and CHANGE you. Let the Holy Spirit do the changing and quite trying to play his role.
  10. Always offer the last of the ice cream so that, according to scripture, “it may go well with you.”
    • I may have taken that scripture a bit out of context but ‘yall know what I’m talking about.
  11. Anne doesn’t have to like sports.
    • My spouse liking what I like is not essential to a happy marriage. Our differences in leisure, hobbies, and overall personality adds to the makeup of our marriage; it doesn’t take away from it.
  12. The silent treatment might be the stupidest way to communicate anger.
    • I’m good at it. And as a professional in it I can confirm that it doesn’t work and does more damage than you desired.  
  13. I wish someone would have told me how to have a “timeout” during disagreements.
    • Instead of throwing a chair (early in our marriage), stepping away to calm down and remember what’s important would have been a far more constructive decision. My blow-ups created more casualties.
  14. Snuggling is fun for moments, not the entire night.
    • It sounds good, and I’m a physical-touch guy, but you gotta have your own space at some point. It’s the only way to get some solid sleep.
  15. If I’m after a win for “ME,” it’ll never be a win for the “WE.”
    • If the win isn’t for the marriage, it’ll never be worth the price of victory.
  16. I don’t “babysit” my kids. I don’t “watch” the kids so that my wife can go out and have a token evening with her friends.  
    • I’m their father. I spend time with them because I love them, I need time with them, AND they need time with me. Also, your wife needs some sanity away from the kids. Plan a father/kid evening in your weekly/bi-weekly schedule.
  17. Grudges rob more time than you want and consumes more of your mind than you’ll ever anticipate.
    • “Will you forgive me” and “I forgive you” may be the 7 most powerful words you and your spouse can speak. So speak them often.
  18. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it’s a sign of weakness to NOT ask for help.
    • Anne and I are very thankful for the men and women who have, and continue, to speak into us. We haven’t “arrived” yet.  There’s still a lot to work on

I’m capping it at 18 (having made more mistakes than this list can contain). But I love that practices what the Apostle Paul taught us,

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13.

Love ya babe!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble for the past 18 years…

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