Stories From The Tolbert Home

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Some Lessons in our Marriage

          These days there is a whole lot of down time as I am nearing the end of my pregnancy. I thought I would share something that has been a beneficial part of our marriage as of the past 6 or so months. I would probably feel silly writing to you after a week or so of doing this but now that it has become habit, it is worth sharing.

         Getting married at such a young age, we knew right off the bat we would need to fight to make our marriage work. We quickly realized we needed to spend our time with people that had established relationships in God. We were new to a relationship with God and found ourselves backing away from those that were our own age for that season of our life. It did wonders. Fast forward 10 years, kids, jobs, household duties….and we realized there was something that needed to be done. Our problems were not huge, they were not even noticeable to the outside eye, and they were not something that we would have known on our own. 6 months later from when we made these changes I can truly say God knew what we needed to be doing and that I am so thankful he is a proactive God, and that he helped us make some decisions that have been crucial to us.

Disclaimer; what works for us, is not to be condemning on anyone else and how they choose to do things. It is what works for US.

         As the emotional wife as well as the pregnant wife I felt many concerns of how we were spending our down time. We were a few months away from celebrating 10 years of marriage and it was very heavy on my heart that we were about to have our 4th child, and life was just getting so busy. I kept thinking how great it is to have this big family we have always wanted but the truth is, our marriage would take a tole. Kids are so great, but really they can easily become first when the bible says to put God first, then marriage, then children first. We have ALWAYS established an 8pm (9 MAX) bedtime for our kids because someone back in the day gave us that wisdom of establishing their bed time so we could have time together. It takes training, but we found that no matter if they went to bed at 11, or 8, they still arise at 7 sharp. So might as well get more sleep.

         So back to our free time spent. We had some extremely harsh moments, and harsh talks that really woke us both up, we felt our personal filters had disappeared . Our personal demon was our screen time. It took us awhile to really narrow it in, but for us it was turning our brains into mush. We went AMISH. There had to be some extreme things happen or we knew that in a world where marriage is NOT sacred to 95% of America we would be joining them down the road. We sat down with a list of things that were important to each of us. My husband went more extreme than I did, because truth be told, screen time was his biggest form of entertainment. At the time we did not even have cable, or a source like netflix to watch TV because the year before we knew we were spending too much time on it so we wanted to limit that. Well we still found ways to enjoy our favorite shows by just going to the websites.

         Is TV horrible? NO. For my husband and I we realized we were watching shows that we thought were clean, but really they were doing things that we would never do. We watched them, and it was a way to relax, and we were feeding our spirit with entertainment and desensitizing our spirits to sins being watched that we would never personally involve ourselves in. So during our kids bed time, which is our free time, we would unwind with TV in bed or social media. There was nothing being invested into our marriage purposefully. So like I said, my husband went completely "AMISH" and deleted all social media, all forms of watching tv were stopped completely. I said that was too extreme for him, and his reply was I understand that in todays world this concerns you, and I want no question in your mind of where I am looking. I made choices to cut back on my social media, and to spend my evening time being more purposeful with him.

         The first month was like coming off of crack. We found a great app that you can listen to audio books and found some really great authors. I read anyways but my husband never did because he is just way too hyper. So finding audio books was a must for his brain. He now listens to audio books while at work, as well as at home. He also plays what I like to call a man's version of farmville. HA. I also listen to audio books, or I read a book, or look at Pinterest in the evening. We wait until the kids are in bed, then its when we spend our unwind time. Changing what we "fed" ourselves before bed has freed up our mind. We spend more time going on dates, and we spend more time purposefully talking about any concerns we have, or just over all talking.

         We do not have it all figured out, but we know that people all around us have been getting divorced, husbands have been leaving their families, as well as women. We are seeing more and more friends chose to skip marriage all together. These are christian families. As a young girl who did not have married parents I have always longed to have a marriage for my kids so they feel they have a complete family. I am learning it will not thrive on its own, we have to MAKE it thrive. Our love for each other never stopped, but our purpose for working on our marriage had disappeared because we got confident in the number of years we were celebrating.

We celebrated 10 years of marriage in Maui this last April, and we have went on some very fun dates. We know we have so far to go, but we are enjoying the process of getting to where we want to be.

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