As only the sappiest of saps can do, in a few days, my sweet man and I will celebrate our dating anniversary. I use the term “celebrate” loosely because we don’t even really “celebrate” our wedding anniversary. Certainly not because we find it unworthy of celebration, but we just don’t tend to do anything normal so why that, either?
Frankly, I would be mad at Christian if he bought me jewelry or roses or took me to a fancy restaurant. That’s just not us. At some point, he is threatening to lay down some cash and buy me what he calls a “real ring” since I’m still proudly sporting the “diamond” he bought me with his first real paycheck and with which he proposed. It’s no rock, and I think it embarrasses him, but to me, it tells our story. It’s where we came from. It’s how far God brought us! And, I don’t mean financially. I mean from two kids who didn’t have a clue to a place of love and harmony.
So, though I hate to say I’m old enough to remember anything from 22 years ago, I do remember a boy who turned my very world upside down.
And, in celebration, over the next few days, I am going to attempt to share 22 things I’ve learned with you, my faithful readers.
This does not come from a place of claiming, “I have arrived” because just a few minutes ago, we had one of our little moments that make our children roll their eyes and ask if we would just hurry up and make up. We are laughably imperfect, but I do adore that man and think he might just say the same.
So, not necessarily in order of importance, here I go.
22. Make sure it’s covered.
I’m referring to refusing to keep secrets. From the beginning, tell each other everything. If you’re best friends, this one is a no-brainer. Best friends spend time together and share everything. I can’t tell you how many couples I have talked to that keep plenty to themselves. Not cool. If you can’t talk it through, you can’t work it through.
21. Get a sweater.
In case you didn’t know it, it is a proven fact that the temperature of the room or car is a huge bickering point. Usually, she’s cold and blasts the heat, and he’s sweltering and getting irritated. So, girls, bring a blankie until he gets closer to middle age and starts to feel the same chill you’ve been telling him about your whole life. Then you can smile when he wants to share your blankie and he’s the one to wonder why the thermostat is set so low.
20. Use a Q-tip.
Listen up. In this world of rectangles (all things with screens) eye contact seems to be a rare commodity, and with it goes true listening. All anyone wants is to matter. Though it has been claimed that women have some 20,000 words to spend in a day and men only 7,000, if we choose you to share them with please honor the most you can with clean ears.
And, for the record, I highly contest those statistics. Anyone who knows a
loquacious, verbose, Kirksey male will agree.
19. Keepin’ it PG
Ladies, never, for any reason, buy granny underwear.
That is simply all I’m gonna say about that.
18. Above the belt.
Having seen fights that cross lines, we decided early on to draw lines and stick to them. And we have. It is possible. Fights never get physical. And they never hit below the belt emotionally either. Stick to the issue at hand. And speaking of fighting…
17. Stay up really late.
We have renewed this promise to each other recently because, well, we got older and sleep becomes boss sometimes when your old. But, it shouldn’t. Solomon was pretty smart and he reminded us to resolve things before we sleep. I guess with all those wives, he knew what the day after felt like if there had been a unresolved issue. Not cool. And let’s just admit, it is sometimes just a way to punish someone to let the problem sit so long it starts stinkin’. Get it over with, but remember #18 even when you’re really, really tired.
16. Never say “never”.
Never say “you always”, “you never” or “divorce”.
Or the grandaddy of all, “You’re just like your mother.” Ever.
Seriously, when you fight, avoid statements that begin with the word “you” unless they are super big compliments.
15. It’s all about you.
In that moment where your heart is pounding ’cause you’re so mad, and you wondered if you were insane to ever choose your spouse in the first place, pray for them.
Ha! You’re gonna pray through gritted teeth and it will start something like, “Fine, I’ll pray. I’ll pray a big brick falls on their head so some sense gets knocked into them!” But, it’s a proven fact (by me, anyway) that you cannot stay mad at someone you’re praying for. Try praying that God will shower them with His love and peace and give Him permission to work in your marriage.
Then try this one, “Search me, O God. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the path of righteousness.” Ouch.
Don’t hate. It works. And if you are serious at all about your relationship, you’ll try it whether he/she does or not.
14. Slow dance.
To be continued…