I had a dream of the perfect life. Plans of my own filled with all the expectations of a teenager who read a lot of Christian romance novels. I didn’t expect a fairy tale or anything like that, but I thought certain things would happen in a certain order and at a certain time. Well, that didn’t happen. But when I look back on it, I’m thankful that I didn’t get what I thought I wanted. The way it all worked out is much better.
How did you meet Mark and how long have you been married?
Mark and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary in just a few weeks! We met in Dave and Cassie’s living room. Dave and Cassie were part of a Christian rock band. Dave and Mark were working together at the time and Dave, knowing that Mark plays guitar, invited him to a few practices. A couple of months later, I moved in with Dave and Cassie. Practices continued to be held at their house so Mark and I naturally found ourselves in the same place at the same time week after week. We had many non-dates on Dave and Cassie’s couch after band practice. It was months before we admitted that we were a couple. Two years later, we got married.
How do you share responsibilities? (caring for children, household chores, finances, etc)
The way Mark and I share responsibilities keeps changing. When we first got married, we both worked full time jobs and were out of the house all day. Back then, we split our weekly chores more evenly. When the twins were born, I dropped to part time employment and started doing more of the cleaning and home management tasks while Mark was at work. After Lia was born, I became a full time homemaker. Currently, I do the bulk of the day-to-day tasks. Since I’m home and am able to do these things, I have no problem doing them and actually prefer to. Every chore I get done when Mark is not home means more time together when he is home.
As a kid, my mom always did the dinner dishes so us girls had time to play with my dad before bed or other evening activities would begin. It was her gift to all of us. She made it possible for my sisters and me to do fun things with Dad. I’ve never forgotten this and try to do the same thing for my girls. I don’t want Mark to spend time doing things that I am capable of doing. I want him to spend time playing with the kids and hanging out with me.
Mark still does all the “big projects,” like home repairs, and has always managed our finances. He is a financial whiz! Since it is our common goal to reach financial independence and retire early, this is a big deal in our home. We wouldn’t be where we are in life without his knowledge and discipline in financial matters.
What does Mark value most in a wife, and what do you do to be that for him?
Food! The man loves good food and has taught me to appreciate it too. It’s something that we have in common and our mutual appreciation of food only continues to grow. He’s pushed me to be a better cook and has prompted me to try things I never would have considered. I’m quite grateful, actually. 🙂
For real though, he values loyalty the most. He once said that he picked me because of my loyalty. It was not what I expected to hear but I do understand what a high compliment that is. Mark’s integrity and good character are what drew me to him. He is trustworthy and I’m glad he views me the same.
I believe that loyalty is about much more than not flirting with other guys, it’s also about how I represent him to other people. If you badmouth or belittle your husband to someone else then you are not being loyal. I really try to build up Mark and am sensitive to any situation or conversation that tears him down. Careless words cause wounds. It may seem harmless to tell a friend that your husband did something that annoyed you, but each time you allow yourself to think and speak those words, I believe you poison your heart against him. While you may not be able to ignore his weaknesses, you can choose to remember his strengths.
Sometimes, as I run around the house taking care of all the little things that were left undone, I get frustrated. In those times, I remind myself that the only reason I’m even home to take care of all those things is because Mark is at work. He works really hard so I can stay home with the girls and I appreciate that. Even while I was working part time there was a part of me that desperately wanted to stay home. Now that I’ve been home for a couple years, I go through seasons where I forget how important it is to me. I get lost in the mundane, the day-to-day. I get drained from the attention my kids and home demand and overwhelmed by its constancy. If I’m not careful, this can lead to resentment. I try really hard to make sure I don’t start seeing my role in the home as a burden.
What words of advice or encouragement do you have for women who may be struggling in their marriage?
So many of the little squabbles we had in our first few years of marriage were over stupid, meaningless things. Most of the time, it was just a clash of preferences, and it was almost always me that got upset. My advice to younger married women would be to focus on the good character traits that drew you to your husband to begin with. The quality of your life, and your marriage, has nothing to do with whether or not the cup was put in the dishwasher, the shoes were taken off at the door, or the laundry was placed neatly in the drawers. To have a good marriage, you need to find ways to bond with your husband over common interests or create a common interest for you to bond over. Beauty fades, but friendship grows. Nurture the friendship and you nurture the marriage.