Five intentions for the next five years of marriage

15 September 2017

When I read this post from T.J. Mousetis last year, I immediately knew I wanted to do the same thing for our five year wedding anniversary. I love T.J.’s boldness and honesty in sharing that he thinks his marriage is awesome. I also love that he is so open and unashamed about the work that can be done within it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. That’s not a message I hear often, but it’s one that fires me up.

One of the truest things that’s ever been said is that you can’t change anyone but yourself. If I want my marriage to be even more awesome on our ten year anniversary than it is now, that starts with me. To that end, I submit to you five things I want to work on in my next five years of marriage (I’ve already shared them in a card with John!):

1. Listen to the things he wants me to change, and actually do them. I am extremely guilty of glazing right over John voicing something he doesn’t like or wishes I would do differently, registering it as nagging, and letting it go in one ear and out the other with hardly a second thought. It’s often small things — a specific example that comes to mind is not leaving food in the sink disposal — but they matter enough to him to voice. I am committing to giving him the grace of a response (“yes, I will work on that”) and then ACTUALLY WORKING ON IT. My first thought is to start a new note in my phone so I can remember the things (baby steps!).
2. Maintain patience, kindness, and calm when faced with stressful situations. John and I are typically calm, level-headed people. (Our pediatrician even said to us, “Wow, you two seem very chill for first time parents” at June’s two week visit. Ha!) However, we have this strange but persistent habit of COMPLETELY falling apart when faced with certain stressful situations, including but not limited to missing a turn when driving and loud scenes that draw attention to us (ahem, toddler). I am committing to staying on the same team in these situations by controlling my tone of voice and not holding a grudge when things don’t go my way.
3. Respect and honor his food safety ways. Bear with me here, people. I know this might sound silly, but it is very, very real. On the spectrum of germaphobia, I am at one end (the eat things off the floor end) and John is at the other. Instead of teasing him, raising my eyebrows, or getting into arguments over whether food in the refrigerator can still be eaten (one of our most common causes of tiffs), I am committing to to respecting and honoring his preferences for how our kitchen is run without groaning or complaint.
4. Hug every day upon reentry. Simple enough :) We do this often, but I want it to be a rock-solid, never-fail, indelibly-printed-in-June’s-mind kind of thing. Home should be the best place to be, and a warm welcome goes a long way to making it so.
5. Grow in my relationship with God the Father, particularly through prayer. If I am constantly trying to be more like Jesus, my marriage will improve. If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to talk to him often and listen to him even more. This is already something I’m working on (and I’m sure it will be a lifelong pursuit until we meet face to face!) but it deserves a mention here, too.

5 intentions for our marriage on our fifth anniversary

Marriage is unique: in our case, it’s two imperfect people helping each other toward perfection. These things won’t happen overnight and they might not happen in five years, but I will try and try again (with joy and by the grace of God!) because I love my husband and I love my marriage.

Thank you for always being so encouraging, friends! It is a joy to share here. xo

P.S. Intention number six: take more photos of just the two of us?! I could not find a single one from this year without June in it…

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September 15, 2017 7:50 am

I LOVE this! I want to make a list right now for year two!

September 15, 2017 8:00 am

Happy five years!! That’s so exciting – and definitely something worthy of celebration! I love how honest, transparent, and encouraging you are in marriage (and sharing a peek into yours), and it’s deeply inspiring. The five (or six – ha!) intentions are really thought-provoking, and I have my own version of intentions as we navigate newlywed life and the first months of marriage. I have learned SO much about myself (strengths and weaknesses and growing points), and marriage is so incredibly refining. And AMAZING!

September 15, 2017 9:07 am

This is exactly why I love your blog, Em! “One of the truest things that’s ever been said is that you can’t change anyone but yourself.” I wholeheartedly agree!

I also have to respond to Intention 1 & 2 in particular:
#1. How blessed you are that not leaving food in the disposal is a small thing you can sometimes ignore! We are at war in our little fixer upper against cockroaches so running the food disposal and plugging that drain every night has become a MUST! Ha! I figured the threat of cockroaches just might provide extra help with this intention! ;)
#2. I distinctly remember one evening out for dinner after MTH where June was having a minor meltdown and you and John both remained so patient and calm, and you shrugged, smiled, and said, “babies be babies!” I honestly will never forget that moment! I was so inspired and filled with so much respect for y’all! Just wanted to share as an encouragement to you! :)

Happy Anniversary!! xo

Kelly E Strawberry
September 15, 2017 9:11 am

I laughed out loud at some of this! So relatable. My mom, as a medical person, is so funny about food safety, or rather lack thereof. If something had mold on it when we were growing up, she would just remove the moldy area and then try to serve it to us!!! She claimed that mold is good for your health and that it builds your immune system, ha!

September 15, 2017 9:35 am

Happy anniversary!! Can’t believe it’s been five years, but at the same time, I can’t imagine knowing you and John not married :)

First, I need to respond to Robyn’s comment above with 1. Cockroaches, EW!! and 2. Thank you, Joanna, for “babies be babies.” I practically wanted a tattoo of it when Charlie was first born :P

Now on a more serious note, I’m so grateful for the way you shared some “imperfections” in your marriage and the intentionality you’re pouring into making even small things better. I’ve come to believe that especially in a marriage that is already pretty darn good (praise God), the little things are what can build up and cause the most potential division. You’ve inspired me to pray about the areas I need to work on that I may not even notice right now!

Love you, friend. Thanks for always being a light!

September 15, 2017 10:00 am

This is awesome! Thank you for openly sharing your heart and insight. These are things I can be thinking about even while were in the dating stage, and how to better our relationship.

September 15, 2017 10:41 am

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Emily! I hope you don’t mind me pinning this post to my secret wedding/marriage inspiration Pinterest board (we all have/had one of those, right? ;-) ) because this is solid marriage advice that I want to have handy for the day that I say I do. Happy anniversary!

September 15, 2017 11:18 am

“Home should be the best place to be” – Love this. I don’t have kids yet, but I’m tucking away the idea of what images I’d want to be indelibly printed on their minds. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful list!

September 15, 2017 12:36 pm

Happy happy anniversary, Em and John! We love you guys and hope it’s a special weekend celebrating :)

September 16, 2017 6:21 pm

This made me laugh; for some reason it had never occurred to me that other couples might have certain things that consistently lead to mini arguments! Guilty of the missed turn squabble over here, and my husband and I are also at opposite ends of the germophobic spectrum – though in our case I’m the worrywart :).

Thanks for such an honest post, Em. I enjoy a lovey instagram post as much as the next girl, but this is the real-life stuff of a marriage between two imperfect people – and, in my opinion, this type of post is way more inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

September 17, 2017 11:55 pm

Love this. How inspiring! What a great idea!

September 20, 2017 10:08 am

Happy belated anniversary, you two! This was such a great post, Emily. I really enjoyed reading each of your goals and thinking of my own in the process. And if you ever need a friend to vent to about life with a germaphobe, I can give you Michael’s number! John and I sound like kindred spirits when it comes to germs. (I feel like we might have discovered this during that Memorial Day together?! Nonetheless, reading #3 made me smile big!)

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