7 Things We Do Now, That We Didn’t Do Then

7 Things We Do Now That We Didn't Do Then

When Michael and I were still newlyweds, we’d often look at each other and say, “We’re the happiest couple in the world.”

I really believed that we were. I couldn’t imagine another woman being as happy as I was, and I couldn’t imagine a husband measuring up to Michael.

Then life started to happen. Our days were busy, our nights were exhausting, and I couldn’t imagine another couple being as stressed out as we were.

It was during those years it all started: the cycle of impatience and a lack of respect.

Maybe I did have a reason to grumble at times, but I’ve since come to learn that grumbling doesn’t solve any problems– communication is the best form of action.

Maybe I did have a reason to be angry at Michael, but I’ve since come to learn that vengeance doesn’t change a man’s heart–prayer does.

And maybe I did have a reason to argue my point until he saw things my way, but I’ve since come to learn that being right isn’t worth fighting for–my marriage is.

Looking back on it all, I see where we’ve grown. There’s a maturity in the way that we love.

I see what we do now that we didn’t do then.

1. We pray for each other. I’ve come to learn that prayer is a powerful force that should never be overlooked. Whether I’m asking for something or simply thanking God for my family, I make sure to take frequent stops throughout the day to pray. Sure we used to pray for each other, but the difference now is that we’re fervent about it.

2. We seek to understand each other’s intentions. Even though I don’t understand Michael sometimes, I know that he loves me, and therefore I trust his intentions. His intentions are good and they are noble, but since we’re two different people, he doesn’t always do things my way. That’s okay.

3. We let go of the small stuff. Sometimes the small stuff becomes big stuff when you can’t let it go. I know of one couple who fought over the price of vegetables for three days. It started out small, but since they couldn’t let go of their anger it persisted and grew.

I find myself saying “So what?” a lot more often than I used to. If Michael says or does something I don’t like, so what?

Do I let it go or should I have a chat with him? Most of the time it’s not even worth bringing up again–like the price of vegetables for example. *wink* So what?

4. We listen well. Communication used to be more about talking than it was about listening. I say yes more often than I used to, because I know that if something is important to Michael it should be important to me. I might disagree with him, but if so I still leave the door open for him to decide. Listening to what he says is key to understanding his heart, and I want to do that.

5. Spend time together. Even if we’re doing something as simple as walking to the mailbox or going to Home Depot, we try to carve time out of each day to do something together. That doesn’t mean we can’t involve the kids. In fact most of our nights are family nights.

6. We eliminate pride. I can’t tell you how much I despise pride. It’s a relationship killer. When I feel it coming on, I do my best to choose well and walk humbly.

7. We forgive quickly. I don’t want to argue with Michael for three days. I don’t want to argue with him for three hours. If something is bothering me, I want to go to him right away and make things right. I’m not always perfect in this area. One day last summer I held onto my anger for a couple of hours. I just kept telling myself that it was his turn to apologize.

Where did that thought ever come from? It’s kind of silly when you think of it. Love isn’t a board game where we take turns rolling the dice. Love forgives before we’re forgiven.

Stepping forward in the heat of an argument to tell someone you love them is a sign of strength and courage.

If anyone is keeping score it’s God.

Finally, I’d like to challenge you today to do something that you haven’t been doing so well. Exercise your maturity by choosing a better path. Maybe you need to forgive. Maybe you need to let go of anger. Maybe you need to communicate with your husband… whatever it is, challenge yourself to grow.

The other night I reached out to Michael, grabbed hold of his hand and I said, “You know what hon? I’m the happiest wife in the world.”

That’s another thing I do now, that I didn’t do then.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

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  • denise

    i am not quite sure what i can do to improve things between my husband and i, but i now have a list to start with! i believe we just get too busy with the kids, ministry, and life that oftentimes we are last! thank you for your thoughts darlene, especially being real!

  • Quanasa

    Thank you so much for this post. Whats funny is that last night we got into this “disagreement” concerning groceries. How silly, huh? Well needless to say we havent spoken since about 6:15 pm last night. It really bothers me too. Looks like it is time to “man” up and do what i know is right.
    Lord forgive me of my wrong & help me to move forward. In Jesus Name Amen!

  • Rhiannon

    Wow! Such a great post! My husband and I are still learning, but I am glad that we haven’t carried an argument over a couple of hours. I struggle with wanting to be right and I am asking God to help me to let that go. In the end it doesn’t matter who is right, it is more important to be happy together. Thank you for this great word! I am really taking it to heart.

  • JoLynnH

    Darlene, my husband and I are in the “life happened” phase right now. Married 8 yrs, two children (5 yrs and 1 yr old). I care for our family and he works a 9 – 5 office job.

    We thought we had the best.marriage.around the first few years! We dated for 7 rocky yrs and always liked to say that we got all our “crazy” out in our dating days. Boy, were we naive and wrong. Now we are like ships passing in the night.

    Our 1 yr old is still up all hours of the night and I’m mentally and physically exhausted. Our sex life is almost ziltch due to my exhaustion (my admittance, not his) and I struggle to act respectfully toward my husband as I am called to do. We used to feel that we were on the same page about everything and now it seems there is NOTHING we are on the same page about…right down to the vegetables!

    To make things worse, I had found myself searching his phone this past month. Past trust issues from our dating days have never dissolved for me and in this crazy, sleep deprived, lonely phase of life, it’s getting the better of me. In searching his phone several weeks ago, I discovered a text conversation that I was suspicious about and confronted him. Absolutely no shame on my part for having secretly looked at his phone- sigh. Long story short, in his words, because I don’t believe it, he reached out to an old girl friend that he had dated during one of our dating breakups…was simply curious about how she was doing, nothing more. Met for lunch and then carried a text conversation with her for several weeks about a half-marathon she was in which is what I found on his phone.

    YES, I have become the woman who knows she is not taking care of her husband, suspects something and goes looking for it. I hate where we are in life right now. I know this is not what God intends for us but I am having such a hard time looking past the fact that he sought out another woman, an old flame, over me and did not tell me. I’m afraid to put my trust in God. I’m afraid to put my trust in my husband. I know, God can make all things right, but I can’t see the end result and that is so unbelievably scary. A the same time, I know I do not want a divorce or a separation and my husband says the same. We want to work on our marriage but I’m afraid that this feeling of untrust will never go away and I’ll always be suspicious of his actions outside of our marriage. I want to work on what got us to this point and focus together on God and how he wants to work in our marriage and family but I’m having such a hard time letting go, forgiving, accepting what I cannot control and moving forward with a secure heart.

    Forgive me for throwing up on your post. I have not spoken to any family or friends about this and so it’s just boiling over. I know you and your husband have had to dig out from infidelity in your marriage. How did you both navigate those early days of getting past the trust issue so you could truly work together and find a new sense of commitment to God and each other? You can feel free to email me privately at the address attached to this post. I would greatly appreciate any insight/advice/encouragement you can give…If you are unable to respond in any way, I understand and thank you for your blog and your ministry. It really is a blessing and an encouragement for me and many others.

    God Bless and Merry Christmas,

    • Darlene Schacht

      I think that when you are truly repentant like I was, you make every effort to avoid the presence of evil. I handled his heart carefully. I knew that he might need time to build trust so I was more open than usual. I confided in him often. We talked more about the present and the future. He completely closed a door on the past. I think that’s important to do, but if one person isn’t truly repentant it might be difficult.

      I wish I had more answers for you, but I can pray for you now. Also I’m sorry that the comment was in moderation for so long. I wasn’t on for most of the evening and afternoon.

  • Diane Hoskins

    After 43 years of marriage…I find myself doing most everything you are recommending! It really works!

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Wow! Talk about pride! I read this list thinking. “Oh, I do that. Yep! That one, too. Uh-huh. I’ve got all of this down.” That is until I got to #7. I don’t have trouble forgiving. I just sometimes have trouble forgiving quickly. My husband is much better at this one than I am. It takes me just a little bit longer to let things go. I know this is an area of weakness for me and that’s half of the battle, right? Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder!

  • Renee Aldrup

    I found your site by accident, or by divine intervention . Thank you so much for your words of encouragement to us wives.
    My husband and I have been married for 25 years. We have raised 3 fine sons together. For the last 5 years all we have done is fight, complain and mismanage our marriage. We used to be best friends but illness, financial issues , alcoholism and infidelity has taken a huge toll on our marriage. For me your blog has been a life saver .
    Your words of wisdom backed by scripture has helped me to become humble, to give up the need to be right. This made a huge difference for us both.

    Renee Aldrup

    • Darlene Schacht

      Renee, sounds like the theme of my book, Messy Beautiful Love. There are so many unforeseen things that challenge our marriage over the years. But humility is key in overcoming them together.

  • Sherry Graham

    This is so true, my babes range from 23-29 and we are still there when they ask. Very diffulicult when 2 of them live out of state. I love what you are doing for so many of us.

  • Shana Roybal

    Oh so happy to have read this post. I just honestly wish I had the energy to spend the time with my family, I’m always so…tired it’s sad!

  • Belinda

    “And some days I need a kick in the side to remind me that family is not an interruption to my otherwise busy life—they are my life.”
    Oh my goodness … I need to print out this quote, enlarge it and stick it up on my tab, on my books, on my stove, and on everything else that I sometimes make more important than the actual work Christ has called me to do – be a wife and mom to my family!!
    Thank you for this “kick in the side” – I really needed it!

    • Belinda

      Yikes, this reply was meant to be on the thread for “How to say you matter to me”!! Not sure how I put it here 😉

  • Emily

    This post was a great reminder. I think I needed to hear this TODAY!
    This is good: “And some days I need a kick in the side to remind me that family is not an interruption to my otherwise busy life—they are my life.”
    Also-we are quick to blame technology (I’m guilty!), but really it’s a matter of what we prioritize.
    Thanks for this great post!

  • Mona

    Good morning ladies,

    First off, I just want to say thank you to you Darlene for such an honest and open heart. It is not an easy thing to do to put yourself out there in this world the way that you have, but I believe that when you are called by God to do so; you do it! There is a lot of fear that exist in “coming clean” before others, but especially so in front of God, where we can feel an immense amount of guilt and sorrow.

    I read the Messy, Beautiful Love book and I have to say that the cover really grabbed me in. I saw these shirts outside hanging on the line together arm in arm, and I thought, “wow, what an awesome way to symbolize how our marriages are totally not disposable. We do not throw our clothes away just because they are dirty and soiled, we wash them and make them clean again.” The symbolism really struck me. The cover just resonated with every bone in my body. I have read quite a few books on Christian marriage, but I have to say that your book is very personal to me and to our situation.

    I’m coming to a point where I can speak about my choices and after nine years of marriage last year, my husband and I fell into the selfish trap of our society and sin. We found ourselves playing a game of “lets see who will stop this first.” A lot of anger and resentment was built up because our priorities had gotten lost from where they had been for so long. We found and fell in love within Christ and made those promises to one another, yet years down the road found ourselves falling into the evil of this world. It is different for some of us, but for me it was doing too much outside of the family. I was what I would call “the ultimate volunteer”. I was constantly giving my time to everything and everyone else except my husband, as well as going to school and working full time. I thought that I could do it all, but I couldn’t it. I wanted my husband to see my “worth” in “this world” and lost sight of my worth in God’s eyes- as this mans wife and mother to my child. In the meantime, I was losing my husband to the sin of this world and we became angry and hurt, mostly hurt, but did not communicate that well. I didn’t want him to see my hurt, or that I needed him, so I built a wall of resentment. But inside my hurt was so deep, I wanted him to know, I wanted him to fight for me, but I remained stubborn.

    Resentment and pain will cause you to make very ill mistakes when you just “react”. Everything happened so fast, it seemed like nothing but a speeding train of a horrible nightmare. We found ourselves in what seemed like the fastest divorce to ever happen. (The courts do not care about families, trust me, we are just a number to this world). This was something that neither of us truly wanted or were prepared for at all. Again, stubbornness, reaction- and not response; will equal grave consequences. We will go to our graves letting other people know that it was the biggest mistake of our lives.

    However; I thank God though that both of us had the beginning and love that we did at our start, because it is what has lasted even through the darkest days and has shone through like a beacon in the night. Our promise to God ten years ago at the altar to love one another through everything has truly been of another realm, Gods realm. We were “apart” for not even 90 days and found ourselves asking “what did I let go of?” We truly put our whole selves, tears, pain and repentance at one the others feet, ready to do whatever it took to once again be whole together.

    This society and world tells you that, “if you love something, let it go,” and I am here to tell you that that is the most UNTRUE advice you could ever receive! If you love someone; you FIGHT for it and you place it in God’s hands every moment of your life, and you work on changing yourself- your responses, your mannerisms, your level of forgiveness and take responsibility for the cross that you have to bear. You pray for your marriage and your husband/wife, and learn to listen. You cannot change your husband, but you can love him with the unconditional love that Christ has given to us, and no that he is not a perfect person, but broken just like you.

    Because I placed this matter in His hands, and I put myself before God, in my sin and in my failures; He granted our love the grace that only He can give. Because I changed, because I let Christ into my heart-fully, asking his forgiveness, as well as my husbands, we are again what God had planned and would not “let go of”. “What God has joined, let no man bring asunder,” this is truth, a truth that cannot be broken. Despair will follow when we try to veer from Gods path, and this society is full of highway pull off signs, but I can assure you and testify to what you have to share with this world, Darlene, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this book and inspiring me to come here and write this today.

    Marriage is the most beautiful relationship you will ever have. Each night my husband and I fall asleep holding hands and know that each moment we have is a gift, he is my best friend and has given me more than I could ever hope for. He is my jewel from above, from an almighty, ever loving God who loves all of us and calls us to his grace each day . . . We just have to listen and respond.

    Thank you,

    • Darlene Schacht

      Mona, thank you for sharing that. I’m sure that others will be blessed as well. I never thought much about that quote before and I like how you pointed out, “If you love someone; you FIGHT for it and you place it in God’s hands every moment of your life,”

  • Anna Friend

    I am enjoying your website this morning. Perusing the many gems of knowledge and encouragement. I have made a copy of the 31 Marriage Tips, acknowledging you as creator/source. I plan to keep the list in my daily devotional and journal. My marriage is a testimony of healing and God’s bestowing of a miracle. Thank you for the love and time you give in this ministry.

  • Anna Friend

    You are killing me Darlene! What an awesome post and reminder of how things should be now for us…my husband and I! We have to work on some of this list still. We have been married 27 years! Love ya Girl!

  • Rachel

    I have found your articles, and they are a life saver for me. Please pray for me and my husband. I can’t share many things with people here in my home town, so please pray that I can listen to what God has for me to say or do, or ; NOT say or do in my marriage. We’ve been married 40 years and my husband has changed. I’m not sure how to handle the changes that I see don’t glorify God. I’ve starter praying for him daily, the 5 things that are hard to pray for your husband. God bless you and thanks