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How to Be More Open and Honest about Your Feelings

How to Be More Open and Honest about Your Feelings

A few months ago, I received this email from someone who listens to my podcast and reads the blog. She ended up signing up for relationship coaching, and after a few months, I asked Stephanie if I could share bits of our conversations as a blog post to help others who are stuck in a relationship with poor communication. She agreed, and the result is today’s blog post.

If you could use some help in learning how to be more open and honest about your feelings inside your trusted relationships, today’s article is just for you. Thanks again, Steph.

Email:

I’ve been married to my husband, Michael for 15 years. Lately, I’ve noticed that when he says we’re going to do a particular activity that I’m not interested in, I just go along with him and say nothing. Even though I don’t enjoy the specific thing he’s chosen, I guess I just keep doing it to make him happy.

And there’s something else I’ve noticed—when we’re out with friends, Michael sometimes makes a cryptic comment about me. Once in a while, those comments really hurt my feelings! Yet, I show no response at the time. I never mention these situations later, but I can’t help but think about them.

I now find myself feeling less happy about our relationship than I used to. I don’t want to end our marriage or anything like that, but still, I wonder, are we doomed to a life of being just another married couple who seems not to enjoy each other that much?

Here was my initial response to Stephanie’s first email:

You have a right to feel disappointed about the changes in your relationship. It’s not unusual for married couples to experience transitions in their relationship over the years. However, the issues you bring up are situations that can be addressed and resolved, as long as both people want them to change.

I think the most critical aspect of these challenges you present is what appears to be your hesitance or refusal to discuss with Michael how you’re feeling. Our partners need and deserve to know how we are feeling, especially about on-going issues.

In the event one partner is doing something unintentionally hurtful to the other, the one being hurt has a responsibility to the relationship to bring up the topic for serious discussion.

The remainder of this article comes from bits and pieces of our coaching conversations throughout the past six months. I’m so grateful for Stephanie and Michael’s willingness to share what they’ve learned with other couples.

Q: But won’t it hurt his feelings or make him angry if I bring up a situation that caused me to feel upset?

A: Well, he probably won’t feel his best. But assuming that he loves you, he’s going to want to know about your feelings and about how his behaviors are affecting you.

Look at it this way: if you were inadvertently doing something that hurt Michael’s feelings on more than one occasion, wouldn’t you want to know about it so you could stop the behavior?

Q: I guess I see your point. I definitely would want to know if I was upsetting Michael so I could change what I was doing. Otherwise, I could be hurting him over and over again and not even know it!


A: So, step 1 in your relationship is to talk with your husband about how you’re feeling and about what has been bothering you. An essential part of your discussion will be stating to Michael what you want and need from him.

Q: Oh boy, the idea of doing that scares me to death! I’m afraid I’ll say it the wrong way or say something wrong that will make him mad.


A: Well, here’s the good news: you can learn some basic communication skills that will help you share your feelings in a non-threatening way. As you gain confidence in how you communicate, you won’t feel as much fear about talking to Michael about your feelings.

Q: How can I say my feelings in a non-hurtful way?


A: First, timing is everything. My suggestion is to wait to talk to Michael when you’re not terribly hurt and angry. It’s best to keep a cool head when you’re sharing your feelings.

Also, choose an appropriate time and place to converse. For example, just after dinner. Your talk should be private with only the two of you present. It’s important to be able to make eye contact, so sit at a table or in the living room together.

Q: Give me an example. How can I tell him I don’t enjoy going to play pool on Thursdays anymore?


A: Now you’re getting very specific, which is super helpful when you’re communicating feelings.

You could say something like, “You know babe, I’m learning something new about myself, and I’d like to share it with you. I’m really not enjoying going to play pool as much as I used to.”

Then, you have a few options: you can pause and wait for Michael to respond. If you prefer, you can go on to say, “I’d like to stop going to play pool on Thursdays.”

Also, you could make an alternate suggestion for the time spent together on Thursdays, like “Let’s try something different on Thursdays—how about going bowling or meeting some friends for dinner?”

The focus here is on stating your feelings, wants, and needs using a non-threatening tone of voice. And be clear. This way, Michael will be more receptive to you and respond to what you’re saying. You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating—start out with an “I” statement.

When you say, “I,” it shifts the responsibility for the conversation on to you, which is reasonable, given you’re the one who has something important to say. It’s best if a “feeling” word follows. So, “I’m concerned” or “I don’t enjoy” or “I’d like to” are great ways to start a sentence when you’re sharing feelings with a partner.

Q: Sounds simple enough. What if I start out this way and Michael still gets annoyed?


A: That’s an excellent question. Try to remember that Michael is entitled to feel however he feels, too. Listen to what he has to say. Refrain from taking his annoyance too personally.

When he’s finished talking, you could say something like, “It sounds like you’re annoyed right now” or “It seems you’re upset about something. How can we work this out, so we’re both happy?”

The critical part here is that you avoid getting upset. That’s because, once the both of you are upset, annoyed or angry, the chances of effective communication occurring decreases dramatically.

Allow your partner to have his own feelings. However, recognize that how he feels isn’t your fault. Each person is responsible for his own emotions. It’s absolutely vital that you not give up your own feelings because the other person wants you to. If you do, you’ll most likely be unhappy later.

Take a firm but non-threatening position about what you want to do. If you state what you want clearly and concisely, a loving partner will listen and understand.

Q: Okay, I think I’ve got it. I have a responsibility to my marriage to keep my husband informed about how I’m honestly feeling. Since I know he loves me, I’ve got hope now that I can get some of my troubling situations straightened out.

But what about the negative comments he makes about me when we’re out with friends?


A: The good news is that if you use the communication techniques we just discussed, they’ll work in almost any trusted relationship. I recommend that you wait until you get home, after the outing when Michael made a comment that bothered you. In the event either of you drank any alcohol, it’s best to bring up your issue in the morning.

Once you’re ready and feeling calm and confident, use your “I” statements and feeling words and be specific.

Here’s how:

“Last night, when you said to Peter and Leslie that I never take a turn washing the car, it really bothered me. Will you please not say comments like that to our friends anymore? I am very interested in how you feel, though. So, if you want me to wash the car or do something, will you please come and talk to me directly about it?”

Hopefully, Michael will reveal to you what he truly meant by the comment. If he doesn’t, feel free to tell him you’re concerned by the comment and ask him, “Do you really feel that way?”

Make it clear that you’re interested in resolving the issue, if, in fact, it is an issue, with him. Emphasize that you care about his feelings and that if there’s something you’re not doing that frustrates him, you’re willing to discuss it.

Q: So, I should use the same communication tactics when my feelings are hurt about a comment Michael made, and I want to talk to him about what he said.   

So, when I’m feeling like I don’t want to go along with Michael and do something he wants to do, or when I feel hurt about something he said, I’ve got to take steps right away to resolve each challenge as it happens. Right?


A: Nailed it! Allowing a lot of hurts and distress to build up isn’t good for a marriage – or any other relationship, for that matter. When that happens, one or both partners end up feeling not as happy about the relationship. All those hurts and distress can build a wall between you, resulting in boredom, hurt feelings, or an unhappy marriage.

Keep your relationship uncluttered from all those emotional issues by dealing with each situation, one by one, as soon as they occur. You’ll have a lifelong, joyous marriage when you work to communicate openly and honestly with your beloved partner.

More resources:

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45 Pieces of the Best Marriage Advice Ever

Lindsey and I have been married more than a decade. The first seven years or so were full of more downs than ups, more bad than good, more sickness than health. During those dark and fearful days, we both considered quitting more times than we’d like to admit.

These days, we’ve become best friends. But there was a whole lot of living in between the hard times and these much better days. So please don’t read this like there was some cosmic snapping of the fingers and suddenly our marriage was a Nicholas Sparks’ novel.  No way. Not a chance.

No magic potion will promise you a pain-free marriage or a perfect life. But here’s 45 things marriage lessons we’ve learned in the past decade. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

  1. Love is a give and give, not a give and take. Try to out-serve each other.

  2. Screw the social norms. If she likes to be outside, let her mow the lawn! If he’s creative, let him help decorate the house! Your marriage is unique – celebrate that!

  3. Form a unified front. Whether you are dealing with friends, family, or your children, be united. Talk to your partner first! Make a game plan and have each other’s backs.

  4. Own your issues but don’t feel like you have to own theirs. It isn’t our job to “fix” the other.

  5. Honest and direct communication should be at the top of every list for a successful relationship of any kind. Say what you need. And say what you don’t need. No one is a freakin’ mind reader. A badass marriage starts with robust communication.

  6. Balance the serious with the fun. Life is too short, and marriage is hard work. Do what you can to live it up!

  7. Be vulnerable. If you use humor as a defense mechanism, stop. Speak your truth. If you want to stop feeling overwhelmed with marriage, sometimes you’ve got to let it all hang out.

  8. Be trustworthy. Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship. You can’t have love without trust. That means that if your partner tells you something personal or hard, it goes to the grave with you. Ride or die.

  9. Forgive quickly. Keep the small things the small things. I’ll never forget the ridiculous fight we once had over the exhaust fan in the master bathroom our first year of marriage. Decide what matters, and work it out.

  10. Take some time apart. A good marriage knows not to smother each other. Let him have a guy’s night. Or leave the kids with him and go enjoy a glass of wine with the ladies. A little absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

  11. Know which family you belong to. Your spouse and/or your kids are your family now. You can honor your parents and respect your in-laws without letting their opinions control your relationship.

  12. Don’t neglect date night. I know life is busy and babysitters are expensive, but don’t neglect time away with one another! Whether you go out, or order pizza and stay in, be intentional about your time together.

  13. Even if you love your person, sometimes they are going to piss you off. In times like that, the best thing you can do is calm down before you blow up. This will allow you to respond instead of reacting.

  14. Stop running. Sometimes the best thing is to take time to “cool down,” but it is never okay to have something that serves as your “escape” from your family. If you feel the need for a constant “escape,” you need to ask yourself what you’re running from.

  15. You are not his mother. 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.

  16. Take care of yourself. Caring for your spouse and children doesn’t mean you neglect yourself. Don’t ignore your soul. 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!

  17. You 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, so ignore the critics.

  18. Choose your battles. Socks on the floor don’t matter.

  19. But she ain’t your Mama. Put your own dishes in the sink.

  20. When things fall apart (because they will), hug her tight and silently count to thirty. You’ll be surprised just how much that can fix.

  21. It’s your marriage. If it’s excellent, it’s because you put in the work. If it sucks, you better put in more work. Only the two of you can make your marriage healthy. So push away distractions, shut out negative opinions, and do what it takes to make it last.

  22. Guys: flowers for no particular reason are always a good idea.

  23. Don’t just hope for the best. Do something. Don’t avoid the hard conversations so long that resentment takes root. Address problems as soon as they come up.

  24. Listen more than you speak.

  25. When life is stressful, look for opportunities to laugh together.

  26. Girls: Don’t throw away his favorite t-shirt without asking first. No matter how many holes it has.

  27. Intimacy is about more than sex.

  28. Guys: notice the details. The new earrings, the shoes, the fact that she put clean sheets on the bed. And don’t just notice it, say something.

  29. Compliment each other regularly. Let your words bring life to one another.

  30. Girls: Don’t expect him to intuitively recognize a problem. It probably won’t happen. If something is up, tell him!

  31. Forgive until you actually mean it.

  32. Guys: If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie. Girls, if he doesn’t, do it for him. This is not a hill worth dying on.

  33. Sort out the chores between you. In our house, if she cooks, he cleans.

  34. Fight fair. Stick to the present issue and do everything you can to resolve it. Don’t pick at old scabs.

  35. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you’re in over your head. The thought of marriage counseling really freaks people out. Most folks do not like the idea of airing their dirty laundry to a complete stranger. I get it, but there’s no shame in seeking professional help when you just can’t fix it.

  36. You will not always “win” the argument, and that’s okay. The point isn’t “winning or losing” in the confines of marriage; the goal is mutual understanding and respect of one another’s views. We’ve got to start viewing our spouses as partners instead of opponents. It’s not about being right, it’s about understanding each other.

  37. Don’t kick them when they’re down. We all go through seasons and have tough times. If you are choosing this relationship for a lifetime, then choose your battles and your timing wisely.

  38. Stop trying to fix your spouse. I am not my wife’s therapist, and she isn’t mine. While we play a primary role in each other’s support systems, we are not professional helpers.

  39. There is conventional wisdom that says not to go to bed angry. I disagree. Sometimes you go to bed with a hurt heart, with the full intention of waking up and talking about it once things settle down.

  40. Cry together.

  41. Know your limits. I don’t believe “When you have done all you can do, stand” is always the best advice. To the one suffering in silence, this kind of advice can feel like a death sentence. I have seen firsthand that separation or divorce can be the next right step, and can breathe peace into a family. Sometimes the best way to love and honor everyone involved is to leave.

  42. Take time for yourself. Marriage is stressful, no matter what. Sometimes it’s impossible to leave your responsibilities. In that case, find moments of quiet to enjoy something simple – a cup of tea, a few pages of a book – even within your routine. Give yourself space to breathe. It matters.

  43. Be honest. When something frustrates you, speak up. There’s nothing worse than an old sore that’s been left to fester. If something hurts your feelings, say so. Nobody wants to have to dig to find out why you’re pouting. Just follow this simple rule: tell the truth in love. It’s always the right choice.

  44. You must set clear boundaries with outsiders (yes, this includes friends and family). Your marriage–both its joys and dysfunction–is nobody’s business but your own.

  45. No more comparisons. Nobody has the perfect marriage. Let go of what you think it is supposed to be, and live in the relationship you actually have. Stop trying to have your friend’s marriage or mimic your parent’s relationship. Nobody has the magical romance they portray on Facebook, so shut that noise off.

Interested in relationship coaching? Click here.


Listen to this week’s podcast episode: Divorce is an option, but is it the best?


PRE-ORDER CATCHING YOUR BREATH

Exciting news, friends! My upcoming book, Catching Your Breath: The Sacred Journey from Chaos to Calm, is now available for pre-order on Amazon for the discounted price of only $7.99! To pre-order your copy, go to catchingyourbreath.com.

As a bonus – when you email me a picture/screenshot of your receipt, I’ll send you the Catching Your Breath Digital Swag Pack! This includes:

  • The Catching Your Breath Manifesto (printable PDF)

  • Early access to the first 2 chapters of Catching Your Breath

  • 2 bonus chapters:

    • When Your Marriage is Overwhelming

    • Leaning into Fear

  • mp3 download of “Weak Sometimes” by Devin Balram

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY AT CATCHINGYOURBREATH.COM!

I am Steve Austin.

Whether you’re looking for a coach you can trust or a lifeline because your soul has been wounded, you’re safe here.

As you check out my site, my goal is to encourage you to do things like: silence your inner critic, cultivate a lifestyle of self-care, and recover from whatever has wounded you. Fear, shame, and guilt have permeated our culture for far too long. It’s time to be embraced by Divine love, exactly as you are.

Welcome home.

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6 Mistakes When Reading about Women in the Bible

The false teaching that idolizes men, while subordinating and harming women has been allowed to run rampant in the Church in the name of “Biblical Gender Roles” for too long. This teaching reduces women to objects created by God as an afterthought to please and take care of men. It blames women when men lust after us or assault us. And it limits women’s gifts and calling in ways Jesus never did.Often when Jesus was addressing the legalistic false teaching of the Pharisee’s, He asked them, “Haven’t you read?” The Pharisee’s had the Scriptures memorized, and yet in many cases, they missed the point.

So, if you believe that women have subordinate gender roles in the Church and at home, I ask you:

Haven’t You Read…

  1. “Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4)?

God chose a woman to lead His people, and no it wasn’t because there were no good men. That’s a narrative made up by people who want to limit women; it’s nowhere in the Bible, and it’s insulting to God.

2. “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy’” (Acts 2:17-18)?

Peter quotes the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29), and we see God affirming women’s callings in both the Old and New Testaments. So stop trying to silence women in the Church.

3. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29)?

Jesus didn’t say, “If you lust after a woman, blame her, and tell her to wear more clothes.” Take responsibility for your own sin—stop shaming and blaming women.

4. “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)?

Both Paul and Jesus (in Matthew 19:11-12) say that if one can accept the single life, it is good for that person to do so. So stop idolizing marriage and pretending a woman’s ultimate calling is to become a wife and a mother.

5. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21)?

This verse sets up the “marriage instructions,” so often used to keep women subordinate in the home. God’s design for marriage is not female submission; it’s mutual submission.

6. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:27-28)?

Patriarchy wasn’t God’s design. God created Adam and Eve with equal worth and the same responsibilities. Patriarchy is a result of sin entering the world. God warned us it would happen in Genesis 3:16, which was not a command or a part of the curse. It was a description of how sin would affect the relationships between men and women. As Christians, we should be moving away from sin, not elevating it as God’s plan.

Looking for more?

Listen to Stephanie’s conversation on the #AskSteveAustin Podcast today! In Episode 28, Stephanie encourages Christian women to “Stop Trying to be the Proverbs 31 Woman”. Click here (or listen below).

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The Truth about Parenting, Recovery, and Messy Grace (Video)

On Father’s Day 2017, I had the incredible honor of speaking at Unity of Birmingham on the truth about parenting, recovery, and messy grace. The title of my talk is, “Eat Your Heart Out, James Dobson,” and I got really honest for a few minutes as we discussed the messiness of life, faith, parenting, and more.

I started the talk with 4 words that changed my life…

Parenting, Recovery, and Messy Grace

Life is not one-size-fits-all. Neither is parenting or marriage or faith. And recovery from a suicide attempt is hard work. But I have learned in the past five years that it is absolutely worth it.

My family may not look like the subject of a Focus on the Family book by James Dobson, but in this talk, I discuss the truth about marriage, faith, and parenting in the real world. This is a classic “grace is messy” message and I’d love for you to check it out right now!

If you’d like to book me to speak to your church, school, or civic organization, email me at steve@iamsteveaustin.com today.

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How to Have a Badass Marriage in 10 Easy Steps

I’ve been married 10 years today. But like I said to my wife, 10 years just means we are 5th graders – we still have a lot to learn. You laugh, but honestly, don’t get too stuck on the advice in this article. I’m just a fifth grader. Ask the folks who have been married 40, 50, 60 years. They’re the ones with a badass marriage. Lindsey and I are just getting started.
How to Have a Badass Marriage in 10 Easy Steps

In most cases, married life looks nothing like I expected. I was 24 when we got married, and even though I was in love with Lindsey, I was clueless. I had this very Southern Evangelical Christian view of what a family looked like, and boy was I in for a shock the first time my wife asked me to do the dishes, or help with the laundry, or sweep the floor. I had never seen that modeled – not by my parents or any other family members, so I thought it was my role to go to work, pay the bills, and come home to be King of the Castle.

I laugh at all the ways Lindsey and I have grown together over the past ten years.

Here’s How to Have a Badass Marriage in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Try to out-serve each other. Instead of expecting the other person to have specific duties that is part of their “role” in the relationship, do whatever you can to out-serve them. She usually washes the dishes? Do it without asking. He usually mows the lawn? Surprise him by doing it while he’s at work. Great relationships give more than they ever take. And badass marriages give a lot of grace.
  2. Form a unified front. Whether you are dealing with friends, family, or your children, be united. Talk to your partner first! Make a game plan and have each other’s backs.
  3. Own your issues but don’t feel like you have to own theirs. We celebrate each other for having boundaries. We both deal with anxiety on a semi-regular basis, but we give each other space on hard days. It isn’t our job to “fix” the other.
  4. Honest and direct communication. This should be at the top of every list for a successful relationship of any kind. Say what you need. And say what you don’t need. No one is a freakin’ mind reader. For us, this often means speaking up when we need boundaries around rest. A badass marriage starts with solid communication.
  5. Balance the serious with the fun. I haven’t always been good at that. I used to mask everything with humor. But Lindsey consistently encourages me to speak my truth, and to work through whatever I’m recovering from. It’s still not easy for me at times, but because I adore my wife, I am willing to be vulnerable. Kick-ass marriages have good balance.
  6. Be trustworthy. Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship. Brennan Manning says trust and love go hand in hand. You can’t have love without trust. If you want to be a kick-ass spouse, you’ve got to earn their trust. That means that if your partner tells you something personal or hard, it goes to the grave with you. Ride or die.
  7. Forgive quickly. Keep the small things the small things. I’ll never forget the ridiculous fight we once had over the exhaust fan in the master bathroom our first year of marriage. Decide what matters, and work it out. But if it isn’t worth a “family meeting,” let it go.
  8. Take some time apart. A badass marriage knows not to smother each other. Let him have a guy’s night. Or leave the kids with him and go enjoy a glass of wine with the ladies. A little absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
  9. Know which family you belong to. Your wife and/or your kids are your family now. You can honor your parents and respect your in-laws without letting their opinions control your relationship.
  10. Don’t neglect date night. I know life is busy and babysitters are expensive, but don’t neglect time away with one another! Lindsey and I have a standing date night every Friday night. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we order pizza and stay in. Either way, we have committed to each other that our time together matters.

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#AskSteveAustin Podcast: Dealing with Tension in Relationships

Relationships can be tough. When there is tension with the people you love, it can make connecting with someone you genuinely care about difficult. Whether it’s a friend, lover, loser, or leaver, the unpredictability of people makes relationships…interesting…at the very least.
How to deal with tension in relationships

The latest episode of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast covers relationships, in all their glory.

In this episode, I talk about:

  • Dealing with parents who don’t approve of your lifestyle
  • How to fight fair
  • People who seem to never suffer
  • How to best love someone with a mental illness
  • The Rules of Wrestling

As usual, I answer your questions from a place of honesty and as a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. I’m not a doctor or a medical professional – just a guy who’s been there and is willing to tell it like I see it.

Check out my latest episode today!

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3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage

3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage

3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage via @iamsteveaustin #valentinesday #marriage #relationshipgoals

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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 eleven 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.

3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage

Engagement Announcement, 2007

Myth: Read the Pinterest list, “75 Ways 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: 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.

(Read "How to Have a Badass Marriage in 10 Easy Steps" here.)

3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage

4-wheeling, 2018

Myth: 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: 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!

Mamas are not machines! via @iamsteveaustin #momlife #marriage #relationshipgoals

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3 Myths of the Pinterest-Perfect Marriage

At Top Golf, 2019

Myth: Do the study on The Five Love Languages and make sure you are speaking your partner’s love language at every opportunity.

Truth: 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.

(Read "How to Have a Great Marriage After the Butterflies Die" here.)

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.

Looking for more? Read below.

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