I’m so glad I got married pre-Pinterest.
Pinterest and I have a love-hate relationship. I'm a pretty crafty chic, but even on my best day, I cannot recreate miniature custom wine bottles with our name and date in gold dust as favors to go home with every guest. Some of the ideas on Pinterest would require the staff of Martha Stewart.
Our wedding day was perfect - if by “perfect” you mean borrowed folding chairs from the Baptist church and a catering team that consisted of grandmothers, aunts, and best friends. We were so busy dancing and mingling that we didn't even get to eat our own wedding potluck. After the guests dispersed, we sent my husband’s best friend down the street to Subway, the only place still open in rural Alabama at that time of day, for a sandwich and chips.
In the nine years since that day, my husband and I have loved hard, fought hard, and earned some hard-won wisdom along the way. But I still love to browse Pinterest, and in doing so, I’ve found 3 myths of the Pinterest-perfect marriage.
Myth #1: Read the Pinterest list, “31 Days of Verses to Respect Your Husband” and follow it as if it were the Bible.
You’ll find stuff like this: never ask him to do a household chore. Doesn’t he have have enough responsibility being the breadwinner and protecting your family? Is it really fair to expect him to change a diaper or take out the trash? Have dinner ready at 5:30pm, with a smile and an apron on, and greet him at the door with his favorite frosty beverage. Respect the umbrella of authority, like it’s your j-o-b. Because really, it is.
Truth #1: If you think this is what the Bible meant by being a helpmate, we need to have a chat.
Find a man who loves the way you think and look, who enjoys your company, and - most of all - who respects you as an equal. If a man is looking for someone to wait on him hand-and-foot like his Mama did, keep moving, sister.
Myth #2: The Bible says not to be a nagging wife, which means to never speak up about your own needs.
Always put your husband and children first. Christ came to serve, not to be served, and this should be the goal of every Christ-like wife. Follow Titus 2:4 by studying your husband and children, to make their lives easier. This is your highest calling.
Truth #2: Does anyone else smell a load of BS?
Should it be your desire to care for your husband and children? Sure! But does that mean you ignore your own soul and never create time for yourself? Of course not.
Here’s the truth: if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will. Life is busy, marriage and children are demanding, and if you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will! Say what you need and don’t be afraid to confess what you want. Mamas are not machines!
Myth #3: Do the study on The Five Love Languages and make sure you are speaking your partner’s love language at every opportunity.
Truth #3: The Five Love Languages is a great book, but you two are the only people who live inside your specific marriage.
No one else lives in your house, knows what your spouse is like behind closed doors, and no one is going to stick this thing out but you. You are the one doing the hard work to make things last (and hopefully thrive). The Five Love Languages is not the Gospel. Give yourself and your spouse a break. And that goes for any marriage book. If you read something that resonates with you and makes your relationship better, that’s great. But if a certain book doesn’t jive with you and your partner, move on.
Let’s get real: marriage is hard work. These days, both partners typically work, which means chores around the house and responsibilities with the children should be equally divided. This is not 1950 and you are not June Cleaver.
If you’re tired, overworked, and underpaid, listen to the voice of Jesus saying, “Come to me and rest.” Even if all you’ve can do is lock yourself in the bathroom for an extra five minutes of peace.
Marriage is a partnership and there is no perfect path. Communicate with each other to see what works best for you. It’s your marriage. If it’s great, it’s because you put in the work. If it sucks, put in more work or consider other options. Only the two of you can make your marriage strong. So brush away distractions, shut out negative opinions and unrealistic expectations, and do what it takes to make it last. And no matter what, don’t let Pinterest be your only marriage counselor.
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