They weren’t kidding when they said the first year of marriage is the toughest. Man, it really hit Jacob and I hard. Not only were we figuring out how to be husband and wife, but also how to be parents as well. Henry arrived a little over three months after we tied the knot and I also quit my full time job two months before his arrival (probably not the smartest decision financially, but it was necessary for my mental health), so we had a lot going on our first year of marriage.
I’ve been following Jeremy and Audrey Roloff on social media for a long time. If you don’t know who they are you should! Just kidding, but, really, look up Little People Big World. Audrey and Jeremy are all about having a healthy marriage and putting God first in any relationship. A couple years ago they released a book called the Navigator’s Council which is an interactive marriage journal featuring weekly questions to help strengthen your relationship through communication.
Communication has always been mine and Jacob’s weak point. I honestly think it might be every couples. We always assume the other knows why we left the bowl in the sink or the plans we made for the week; which is crazy. Since doing the journal, the way we communicate has gotten so much better. The Navigator’s Council asks the same 6 questions every week:
1. What brought you joy this week?
2. What was something that was hard this week?
3. What’s one specific thing I can do for you this week?
4. How can I pray for you this week?
5. Is there anything that’s gone unsaid, convictions, confessions, unresolved hurt?
6. What’s a dream, desire or through that’s been on the forefront of your mind this week?
When I first heard about the marriage journal, I thought it was cool, but that it wouldn’t work for us. I thought there was no way Jacob and I could commit to asking these questions. Not because we have commitment issues, but because some of the questions might bring up a fight that we shoved away or make for awkward conversation- Jacob and I are not the type of people that easily talk about our feelings.
But then I thought, why not? I pitched the idea to Jacob and he said okay, but I could tell he wasn’t fully on board just yet. The first couple weeks were weird and we may have forgotten to do the journal for a week or two. But now it’s something we look forward to every week! It’s really strengthened our relationship. We’re able to talk about arguments or how we feel without being in the moment and angry. It also gives us time to say “Hey, this is what I’d like for you to do this week to make it easier on me” or to just over any plans for the week so we’re both on the same page.
My favorite question is number 6. I really like to sit down and talk about our dreams together as a couple and individually. I may not be the best person to get marriage advice from because half the time I’m just winging it, but I do know that communication is so important. Navigator’s Council has really changed our marriage for the better!
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