Guest Post by Amy Schutte:
The first time we met was for a quick drink. Four hours later I walked out of that restaurant with the knowledge that I had found my safe space.
We were quite different. There was an age gap, a divorce and kids to be reckoned with but it didn’t stop me from seeing those deep dimples and kind heart. It didn’t stop me from diving in and holding on.
And when he introduced me to his littles, there was a safe space there – for all of us. And when we got engaged, dated long distance and tied the knot two years later we both knew that no matter what, we would go above and beyond to love each other.
We are a family of two and then of four every other week which creates a different dynamic than many of my newly married friends but sometimes I want to wish a blended family on every new couple—just for a little while because there is so much grace and love going on over here.
I love reading or receiving marriage advice from people but it can be overwhelming so in our family we try to keep it simple and live out these three principles:
1. Be kind. Kindness when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, kindness with actions (even those boring “chores” can be a way to love on your spouse – also cards, thought-of-you-today gifts, warming up the car in the winter and mowing the grass in the summer. Do these things. And make sure you say thank you for those little kindnesses). Kindness when we disagree and kindness through our words. You know the Bible verse—“Love is patient, love is kind…” It’s so important and it can be so hard sometimes.
2. Be brave. Apologizing is brave. Saying thank you for something can be brave. Speaking up about finances, sex, kids and parenting is brave. And as long as you are brave with kindness attached— things can be worked out.
3. Love wins. It really does. Love smoothes edges. It helps families (blended and otherwise) feel included. It powers through when it’s hard to be brave and kind. Haven’t read your wedding vows in a while? Pull them out and look over them. Those are giant love promises you made to each other. Love in action is powerful.
Marriage heals us and breaks us open, it changes us and makes us more of ourselves and more of our spouse. I like to watch people in relationships closely. I watch the ways we hurt and love each other. And I notice those safe spaces – try to create those today in your marriage and your family.
When your husband tells a less than funny joke – give him that smile he is craving. When your wife is training to run a race and didn’t have time for the laundry today or a hastily prepared dinner is handed out – give her an encouraging word. When your kids bring home a poor grade from school, remind them that your love is not dependent on a letter.
It is easy to be busy, tired and run-down but the simplicity of being present with your relationships and offering a soft place to land is the best thing I can offer you. It’s the best thing we can offer each other.
Amy joined Team Schutte in 2012 when she married her favorite person in the world and became a bonus mamma to his two kids. She blogs over at http://atreverse-to-dare.blogspot.com and is a marketing guru by day and a birthday party princess on evenings and weekends.
She loves anything to do with glitter, swedish fish, foreign countries and adventures with her family.