Growing my Marriage

When I was 16, there was this boy that I had a HUGE crush on. He was shy & quiet & funny & a hard worker. He was nice to me & I got to know him a lot better when I started working at the same place as him & he trained me in. He finally asked me out a couple months later & I was over the moon! I moved away a month after that & somehow, our 17 year-old selves were able to make a long-distance relationship work for 2 years before I moved back. We knew then that communication was the key to a relationship & we did really well at it! I married that shy, quiet, funny, hard-working guy in 2004. Marriage has been pretty easy for us- most of the time. On my 2019 list of being Intentional tho, the first thing listed is my marriage & I need to up my game.

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Scott & I appear to be very opposites from the outside. I’m 5′ tall, 120 lbs (on a good day). I have blue eyes, dark hair & love to talk. I am out on the dance floor, talking to everyone & laughing. I love to read & write, play board games, listen (& sing along) to country music. I workout 5 days a week & drink coffee & wine. Scott is 6’3″, 240lbs. He has brown eyes, dark hair & is perfectly happy listening. Scott is content to sit at the table & watch me dance- but on occasion will sneak up behind me & join in. He enjoys talking about guns, farming equipment & 4-wheeling. He doesn’t read books, hates to write, it is like pulling teeth to get him to play a game & hates country music! I learned to love Eminem & Shaggy because of him! His job is very physically demanding which is his only form of “working out”, drinks SunDrop in the mornings & has an occasional Coors Light.

Many years ago, someone who was very close to me tried to break us up by pointing out all of our differences. She said he’d never make me happy & I’d regret wasting my life with him because of our social differences. What she never new, but we did, is that we balanced each other out perfectly. Over the years, Scott has become much more social & I’ve seen the positive influence of the strong friendships we’ve created & how he enjoys them too. We’re on the same page with parenting (98% of the time) & we don’t fight-ever. Marriage has been easy for us- & yet I feel like we’re missing something.

I’m on the same Rachel Hollis train as many other women right now. I’ve been reading books about personal growth, listening to podcasts & working to explore the bible. So while I’m working on me, I also really want to work on us. The other day, Scott ‘informed’ me that he was trading trucks. I was pissed. We had talked about this while on our vacation in January & had agreed to save the money he had been putting towards a truck payment previously. We would like to add-on/remodel the house & I was hoping to have some money set aside for this project. So Wednesday night on our way out the door for church, he drops this info. I stewed over it. I prayed over it- I was afterall in God’s house.

While I spend all day helping direct employees & vendors & our kids to get things done & have no problem voicing displeasure…. I revert to a meek child with a quiet voice when I have something tough to talk to my husband about. I was raised to believe that my opinion had no merit & voicing it would only create more problems, not solve them. I was also taught/given the ‘silent treatment’ when I ticked my mother off. Being in a relationship with Scott opened my eyes in a real big hurry to how wrong all of that was! I actually remember our first fight ended when he pointed out that I was acting like my mother by giving him the silent treatment & how it only made things worse. That habit was instilled in me, even tho I hated it so much! I needed to learn to find my voice, even when it’s hard. Even when it’s intimidating. So, Thursday morning, dripping in sweat after my 3 mile run, I brought it up & explained my frustration. I still didn’t feel like it resolved anything, but I voiced my feelings of inadequacy as a financial contributor to our family & how I feel he adds to that at times. He listened, like he does, but said nothing. I know I contribute in SO many ways, I’m not discounting myself there, but he makes way more money than I do.

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We had a chance for a date-night Saturday night & took full advantage! We still hadn’t discussed the issue any further, but I knew I wanted to talk about it Saturday night at supper. I brought it up & he smiled & told me he loved me. He then said that he realized it wasn’t the right time & he didn’t want to spend that money right now. He agreed we needed to talk with a contractor & get plans drawn up on our house project so we have an idea of just how much it’s going to cost. My heart leaped for joy! Not because we’re closer to our house goal-but because we communicated with open minds & hearts. Our marriage isn’t where I’d like it to be in the growth area. Tough conversations are hard & I can’t get him to open-up about future plans or goals to save my soul. The thing I always know tho- is that he doesn’t make a decision without thinking it through completely. He always discusses financial decisions with me before actually making them (so maybe I jumped to being mad too soon also). He always does what he feels is in the best interest of our family. On the financial front, the only debt we have is our house (other than when I shop on-line 😀 ), so I also know that trading trucks wouldn’t have put us in a compromising position.

I will keep pushing him to open-up & build a stronger communication system between us. I will keep reading books & my bible & listening to podcasts. We will keep teaching our children that it’s OK to have a disagreement with someone you love & that it doesn’t mean fighting or divorce, but communication & love & respect. I have loved this man for half of my life already & there are many reasons for that. One of the best things to look forward to is our marriage growing. Remembering that our girls will be grown & moved out some day & it will be just me & him again. I don’t want us to get lost while raising kids & making a life- I want us to write the map. I want to be Intentional in our marriage & the ways we do this. We need to set up some goals- like consistent date-nights & strategies to give us the best life we can. This life is crazy with kids & running a business, but our marriage is worth it.

Marriage is easy- & hard all at the same time. It takes work & dedication & communication. I’m worth it. He’s worth it. You’re worth it. Don’t let a moment slip by in silence if saying something will save your relationship & help it grow. My 16 year-old self knew about communication, so do you. How about you? How do you navigate those tough conversations with your spouse or significant other? What are some changes you want to make for your relationship?

Until next time!

Jenni

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