My husband, Andy Bondurant, and I spoke at the ONE photography & marriage conference last fall. We shared about how we built a strong foundation for our marriage to rely on when times get hard. Here are a few of the key elements that have really helped us throughout the years:
Honor the covenant of marriage. A covenant is a binding agreement. Several years ago we attended a class called Mountain Top Marriages. We were challenged to say to one another "I will never divorce you." It's an amazing thing to say and to hear from your spouse.
Professional counseling. Andy's mom sent us to Jane Head who is located here in Kansas City for premarital counseling. She helped us work through some things that would probably have become issues later and it was great to already know a professional if we need more help in the future.
Get to really know one another. Two books that really helped us were Personality Plus by Florence Littaur. This is a great way to learn a little more about one another's personality and find out what's great about yourself and what's wrong with your spouse. Just kidding. It could be the other way around, you know. I'm a Sanguine Choleric and Andy is a Melancholy Choleric so I get to do most a lot of the talking.
Another book that was a great help to is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. My love language is touch so if you ever meet me, feel free to give me a hug.
Respect One Another. We have some rules about asking one another before we say yes to things, spending a lot of our free time together and supporting one another with the kids. You'll have to ask about the rest of the rules because I get a bit embarrassed knowing how personal to get here on the blog.
We also have been doing a lot of work on our finances, which is a great area to show respect for one another. Dave Ramsey is pretty awesome. If you aren't perfectly happy with where you are financially, check him out. I like The Total Money Makeover the best. We've been applying his principals to our businesses as well and it's pretty exciting.
Last, but not least, Love One Another. One of the things that I deal with a lot is GUILT. As a mother, I've always felt guilty if I work and guilty if I don't work. I've even had friends who feel guilty about the choices they are making (not bad choices, just regular choices of when to work, etc) and these friends don't even have children yet. So my point is that sharing your concerns with your spouse and letting them love you through those is important.
Here is a quote that I really enjoyed. I know this author had everyone on Oprah mad at her and I certainly don't agree with all of her viewpoints, but I do agree with this:
"If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.” Ayelet Waldman