How Do You Prepare A Marriage For A Big Move?
How do you prepare for marriage at all? I’ve always been the type to kind of roll with it. For better, and for worse.
How do you prepare for miscarriages, special needs children, unfulfilled expectations, unmet dreams? How do you do that with another person?
In marriage and in life, I’ve been the one planning for the next adventure. Introspection doesn’t come naturally or easily for me. The last few years, Acts 29 coaching, pastoral cohorts, and trusted mentors have encouraged me to go deeper into myself, to ask myself why I’m always seeking, striving, focused on the outward appearance of things. It’s allowed me to look in more on God’s work in my life, my marriage, and our family. I’ve become more settled. More secure. More reflective.
As I’ve been more internally focused, my wife has been doing her own personal work. She is ahead of me on this. Her reflection and processing has led us to see patterns in our marriage that are both healthy and unhealthy. Yet we’ve also been able to realize more where we compliment each other, where we fit, why we believe we were led to one another. As no person is an accident, neither is a marriage.
We began to see and become more aware that we could do better together, because we are together. I’m not simply talking about moving to Paris. Even more than that: raising kids, growing each other, becoming one unit, instead of two separate ones. We are vastly different in background and personality, yet together, we are simply unique (just like any other marriage, mind you). She is strong where I am weak. I hope to be strong where she is weak. And in the journey of marriage, we have grown in deeper unity than ever before.
My vote for the blog post title was “When Your Husband Sleeps on the Couch”. I was overruled. Seriously, how do you prepare your marriage for life changes looming ahead? Maybe for you, it’s not an international move. Maybe it’s a new baby, financial turbulence, health concerns, a wayward child, empty nest ahead, a difficult job situation you need to exit? I hate complacency. I thrive on a challenge, and marriage is no exception. In 2018, I realized our marriage had fallen into a comfortable ditch that an international move would shatter. It’s so easy to sweep difficult issues under the rug or to fight the same fight on repeat like the movie “Groundhog Day”.
Have you ever sent your husband to sleep on the couch? As a pastor’s wife, I had mentors drill into me: 1) I had to work it out before bed, 2) we go to bed together no matter what. But in the midst of being a submissive wife, I buried feelings that became bitterness and resentment.
Sending your husband to the couch is not a weapon. True intimacy is not sexual, but spiritual and emotional. It’s letting other people see into your soul. Intimacy = into me you see.
What I realized in 2018 was I needed self intimacy. I needed to get to know myself first – the way my God sees me – in order to let others in. We expect our husbands to read our minds, and that is unfair. We need to know our needs, our feelings, our wounds, and our fears first.
Have I sent my husband to the couch recently? Yes – not as a threat, but as a boundary. If he spoke to me in a highly conditioned way that is automatic for him, a source of deep pain for me, and a habit he has unsuccessfully tried to break for 10+ years, I warned him he would sleep on the couch. I was not looking to embarrass him, retaliate at him, or even inflame a situation – my typical tools to control the situation. I know myself well now. I am seeing myself the way God sees me. I can be open and honest – even kind – to set a boundary that respects how I need to be treated.
Your trials in marriage are not an accident. We will be growing immensely in this next season, but a sweetness awaits at the end of often uncomfortable journeys (1 Peter 5:10). Don’t be afraid to dream again for your marriage. Start with a few favorites that helped jumpstart our marriage. Click and explore. Feel free to contact us directly with questions.
PRIVATE BLOG POST
What are the number one hesitations in marriage about the move? How have you navigated each other’s fears in preparation for a move to Paris this summer? This private blog post is for our 200 partners. You are welcome to partner with us here.
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