Marriage is a beautifully complicated, time-demanding, life-fulfilling experience that has the power to bring you more joy than you have ever encountered. It's one of God's most alluring creations.
The reality is that we will all be remembered by our spouses for the things that we do. But what we must remember is that we have the choice to be remembered in a way that brings joy and comfort, not pain and agony.
Here are 10 things I believe your spouse will remember about you:
1. How you handle confrontation. Confrontation is unavoidable, but the way you respond to it is completely up to you. It's easy to get mad, throw up your hands and try to let things blow over. But without properly handling confrontation in a mature manner, one will set their relationship up for failure. It's like Taylor Swift once said, "Bandaids don't fix bullet holes." That'll preach!
Take the time needed to handle confrontation in a mature and timely approach. Your spouse will remember exactly how you approach confrontation; respond to it and the way you journey through each of its life-learning facets.
2. The way you prioritize faith, family and work. It's easy to feel like you've been put on the backburner when your spouse seems to put work before their faith and family, you know, when it seems all they are focused on is emails, Facebook, phone calls and work texts. And even when they're present, they're not really that present at all.
But while not everyone has this problem, we must all guard ourselves from allowing work and pleasure to become a greater priority than our faith and family. I'd be the first to admit that I've failed to do this on several occasions throughout our marriage. The backburner is a distressing place to be, and my wife deserves the first of my time and emotions, not the leftovers. Don't be remembered as someone who loved their family, but not enough to keep them a priority over your job.
3. How you handle finances/spending. Finances are hands down one of the biggest reasons couples argue. And while not everyone has issues of charging thousands to their family credit card, how you manage and handle your finances is something your spouse will always remember about you. Be open and honest with each other about spending. When two become one, so does their financial homestead.
Don't be remembered as someone who wasted money on petty things, but instead as someone who managed their finances to better support the longevity of your family's future.
4. How you treat people who are different from you. The world is full of people who are different from each other, and how we respond to those people shows a lot about our character. How do you treat people who live a lifestyle different from yours? Your spouse will remember exactly how you interact with individuals who are different from you. They will remember how you act and respond.
5. The way you treat them when no one is looking. Treating your spouse like a king or queen while everybody has their eyes fixed on you is easy, but what happens when the doors are closed and nobody can see what's really going on? How have you treated your significant other in the comfort and safety of your home? Your spouse will remember how you treated them when nobody was looking, when nobody could see the truth, and when nobody was around to call you out if something was said or done out of turn.
Treat your spouse with the respect and honor they deserve, regardless of where you are or who is watching. The way you treat your spouse when nobody is looking will say a lot about you.
6. The way you show them affection. Affection in marriage, or in this case any relationship, is key. It's just true. We like to know that people care for us. And while everybody might show affection differently to their spouse or significant other, there is something true to be said about physical touch and words of encouragement. Don't be a spouse who is remembered as someone who lacked affection, compassion and concern for their husband or wife.
Everyone has different love languages. Learn what makes your spouse tick and be diligent in showcasing the affection they deserve. Learning what your spouse enjoys out of affection will show them that you truly care about their emotions, feelings and emotional security.
7. How you listen to them when they speak to you. You might listen to your spouse, but are you really listening? It's easy to hear what your spouse said, but it's a completely different thing to understand it. Being present is key, and I don't just mean physically. It's easy to be standing in front of your spouse, but your mind is still 1,000,000 miles away. Work, emails, business opportunities and more—put them away!
These are all things that keep us from truly engaging with our significant others when they are communicating with us. Teach yourself to turn it off, and instead, focus in on your spouse when they are verbalizing something to you. Give them the time that they deserve. Take the time to truly listen.
8. How you handle seemingly impossible situations. When impossible knocks at your door, how do you handle yourself? When your account gets wiped out by fraud, what will be your next course of action? When a family member comes down with a life-threatening illness, what is your immediate response? We will all be remembered for the way we handle seemingly impossible situations.
While nobody is perfect at responding to these type of things, choosing to trust God, be patient and slow to speak is always the right choice. It may not always be easy, but it will always help calm the nerves of everyone who is involved. Be a person that people can look to in times of trouble, and lean on when the storms of life hit.
9. Whether or not you keep your promises. I'm really bad at keeping promises. It's not that I deliberately ignore the promises I've made, I guess I just say "yes" to so many things that I often forget 75 percent of what I've committed to. When it comes to my marriage, I've realized the importance of keeping my promises, regardless of how small I think they may be. If you promised your spouse time together, then make sure you spend time together.
If you promised your spouse a day without interruption, then make sure you turn off your electronics and focus solely on them. If you promised a weekend of intimacy and connectivity, then make sure you say no to other opportunities, even if you think those opportunities are once in a lifetime. You cannot afford to let down your spouse, especially when you've made them a promise. You want your word to have value. The second it no longer harnesses validity is the second you're in trouble.
10. Your spiritual walk. Do you pray? Make church a priority? Read your Bible? Surround yourself with God-breathed community? If not, then there is a good chance your spouse's remembrance of your spiritual walk is anything but favorable. Your spiritual journey plays an important role in life, and I believe the way we treat our spouses are sometimes a direct reflection of our spiritual fuel tank.
Allow God to direct your steps, teach you humility and encourage you to continuously strive to be a better mate. When you learn to put God first, your marriage will come anything but last. Make your spiritual walk a priority.
What else will your spouse remember about you? Leave a comment below.
Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor and author relentlessly sharing the love of Jesus. For the original article, visit jarridwilson.com.
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