What the World Needs Now Is Love

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We are deep in the heart of wedding season and our family is preparing to welcome a new sister into the fold, so our summer has been speckled with gatherings to celebrate my brother and his sweet fiancé’s upcoming marriage.

There’s something amazing about a diverse group of women from all walks of life and all stages of marriage – or not married, as is the case sometimes – coming together to launch a new wife into the world. There are all kinds of tried and true recipes shared, silly games played, delicious food prepared and toasts given to the bride-to-be.

What the World Needs Now Is Love | Duluth Moms Blog

My favorite, though, is always the advice for the new couple; things that worked, things that didn’t from marriages that worked and, occasionally, from marriages that didn’t. Bits and pieces of lives lived in tandem and how two people came together to form one unit. It takes time to truly flow as a couple, and the advice shared with love is sometimes not really appreciated until the high of the wedding has worn off and the ordinary of every day married life settles in. I think that it’s those times that a new wife can pull out her bits of advice and truly set about applying it to her life and marriage.

Eight years and three kids into my own marriage, I think I have a bit of wisdom to impart, but I also have a need to sit back in my own ordinary life and assess where it is I am, eight years later and no longer a “new” wife, and what it looks like this far removed from the white dress and long aisle. Maybe today you need to be reminded of some of those bits of early marriage advice, as well.

First, remember to kiss and kiss often. Our world is sometimes heavy with toddlers and teenagers. And life – maybe especially our marriages – can get relegated to the bottom of the never-ending list of things to do and places to go and bums to wipe and papers to sign and lunches to make. Our days usually follow a similar, albeit crazy, path and some days that path leads us right into our beds at an insanely early time and connecting with our spouse is just another thing we feel like we need to check off the list. Date nights are hard to come by and babysitters are expensive. Kissing is free. And it connects us to our partner in a way that a harried phone call or frantically jotted text cannot. Kissing can be quick – but it requires intention. It says all the millions of little things we didn’t say all day – mostly: I love you, I see you, I choose you.

Second, never lose your sense of humor. When life is at its most average, or at its craziest, or at its hardest, if you can make each other laugh then the boring isn’t quite so dull, the crazy isn’t quite so chaotic, and the hard isn’t quite so overwhelming.

Third, adventure. I’d love to say that means intricately planned family vacations or a romantic couple’s trip. The truth is, some days we hardly have time for the kissing and the laughing, much less multi-state/country vacation planning. Adventure is as simple as getting a babysitter for one hour and trying a new grocery store together. You’ve succeeded in getting out of the house for 60 minutes alone together and you’re accomplishing something essential. Or it can be finding a local park that you haven’t been to or exploring a bike trail. It can be taking the family to a movie or an impromptu backyard weenie roast. What I’m saying is that sometimes, what can appear to be a boring chore or an exhausting endeavor with small humans, can turn an ordinary event into an extraordinary memory.

What the World Needs Now Is Love | Duluth Moms Blog

Fourth, fight fair. I say this not to encourage fighting – although, truth be told, I love a good argument – but because we are human and we are not created the same so sometimes there will be fights. Maybe it makes you feel better to call them disagreements. Fine, when it comes to disagreements it’s best to remember that even when you’re right, you don’t have to be right. Practice taking turns being right. Practice compromise and acquiescing. But both of you need to practice. It cannot be left up to half of the pair to constantly bend to the other’s will. You are partners, after all, and marriage should be a healthy balance of both of your needs and wants being met. And while it’s certainly okay for your kids to see you disagree – they, too, need to learn the fine art of compromise and grace and they need to learn it in their safe spot so they can take it out into the world – it goes without saying that the big stuff, the heavy stuff, that’s not for them.

Finally, you chose to belong to each other every single day– whether you vowed in a church or before a judge or with the blessing of a minister, you chose each other out loud in front of a witness. When life gets tough – and it’s sure to have some deep, deep valleys – remember that your partner is your strongest ally. When words are hard, and maybe even kissing is hard, a hand to hold on to, a warm leg to tuck cold toes under, those little acts of kindness go a long way to healing our souls and soothing our hearts. If there comes a time when your hearts are broken at the same time, remember that there is no one who knows those infinite heart fractures better than your partner and even if it takes time to heal the broken spaces, know that you’re sewing up your hearts stronger together.

What the World Needs Now Is Love | Duluth Moms Blog

Marriage is not for the weak. It takes practice and a willingness to be intentional and lots of hard work. And if you should chose to add kids into the mix, it’s suddenly even more important to connect on a level that surpasses what you previously thought was enough. Even the best marriages have seasons of discord. The test is not in simply how you come through it, it’s in how you come through it together and stronger.

*Friends, I am not a professional advice giver; all of this is my own experience. Your advice may be different. You may have a different set of parameters. Your marriage is not my marriage. But, we can learn from each other that is all this is intended to do.

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Having lived in both Missouri and Iowa before coming back to her Minnesota roots 5 years ago, Heather Hefter is right at home on the North Shore. Married for 8 years to the easily the funniest man alive, she is also mama to Abigail, 17, Finneaus, 7 and Eleanor, 2. Aside from chasing small humans and naptime crafting like a boss, she enjoys coffee, martinis and donuts (not necessarily in that order). She can be found sporadically writing about life at https://themamaload.wordpress.com