In the three short years that I have been married, there are several things that I have learned.
1. He doesn't see how messy the house is- he just sees how much he loves you.
This one is very hard for me because I am a bit OCD. I like things in order, and I like them neat. I feel out of place when the dishes need done or clothes need folding. And I often feel like I'm neglecting wife duties, even when I do have a job too. But then I realize, he doesn't care that the trash needs out or that the laundry needs washed- he is just glad I'm home with him.
2. Don't read too much into what he says....or doesn't say.
I have a bad habit of over-thinking everything. I have learned hard not to read into things too much. Same goes when he doesn't say something. Just because he doesn't tell me I"m pretty one day doesn't mean he doesn't think it's so. It plainly means that he doesn't think he needs to tell me because he knows I know that he thinks that.
3. It is more enjoyable to love your spouse instead of yourself.
I have noticed that the more effort I put into showing my husband how much I love him, the more I love myself. When you live to love someone else, your life becomes more valuable. I guess that saying "It's better to love than to be loved", holds some truth.
4. Love isn't about grand gestures.
Romance isn't just flowers and poems. Romance isn't fancy dates or sexy nights. (Sure, it's always nice!). But love is about the small gestures- the kiss goodnight, the decision to purposefully show love in an argument, the sticking it out through a hard season. That's love.
5. What others say about your marriage doesn't matter.
In fact, outright ignore what anyone else says about your marriage. Plenty of times I"ve been told that this is just my "first" marriage. Others often think our marriage is superficial because we haven't had any outright fights (but that's down to the fact that we are both non-confrontational and don't like to disagree). The key is....it doesn't matter how anyone else views your relationship. What matters is how the two of you view your relationship.
6. Be friends.
This means finding something to do together, laughing together. We have plenty of romantic days, but some of my favorite are the days where we just hang out and be friends. Some of the best days are camping in the cold, or working in the yard together. Just being together.
7. Never speak bad about your spouse in front of people.
Never speak bad about them ever, really. If you bad talk your spouse to friends, someday, somehow, it'll come back to them, and think how they will feel when they do hear what you've been saying. Instead, uplift them to your friends. When your friends start talking poorly about their husbands, interject how great your spouse is- how he did something that made you feel loved. Sure, they may feel like you are rubbing it in their faces, but in reality you are uplifting your spouse in the midst of put downs. You are doing the right thing and setting a better standard for your marriage. I could go on and on about this one for a very long time, but I won't today....
8. Don't let trying for a baby jeapordize the importance of your time together.
I don't think we've actually ever had this problem. But I know it happens ;)
9. It's important to sleep in the same bed.
I've heard a lot of christian speakers lately talking about how you should have intimate time with your spouse but that since sleep is so vital to your health, it is more important to get a full nights sleep than to sleep in the same bed as your spouse. They say it's fine to have separate beds or separate rooms to sleep, as long as you meet marital requirements. I disagree. I think it is important to sleep in the same bed with your spouse (of course the occasional couch sleeping because you are sick or something is different. There are circumstances). But when you sleep in the same bed as a individual, there is a special, different kind of bond that develops. You are so vulnerable in your sleep, that sharing that time of vulnerability builds a special kind of intimacy. Aside from that, it also demonstrates strength together, and marital solidness. And when you have children, it shows your children that you two are one- that you are together as partners. I could go on about this one for awhile, but I won't today....
10. Brag about your spouse in public.
Post on their walls how awesome they are and reasons you love them. Brag about them in pubic- demonstrate how proud you are to be loved by them and to love them.