One of the greatest things about being married is how easy it is to talk with other married people about the struggles we face being in relationships. I think that in our society today, it’s so easy to put up this fake front, constantly pretending like everything’s fine when deep down we all know that everyone and every relationship has its ups and downs. In previous relationships, I often found myself saying my relationship was fine in public when in reality it was struggling
Once married though, my husband and I have found it incredibly easy to talk with our other married friends about our problems, and that is what recently happened.
About a month ago, my husband and I had a couple over for game night (yes; when you become married, game nights become a thing), and we all got to talking about some of the difficulties we face in our marriages. After hearing about some of the things the other couple has had to deal with and how they’ve overcome them, my husband and I got to talking about our marital flaws.
Although we’ve had some pretty big blow-ups about silly things here and there, the majority of our marital problems stem from expectation: expectations like me expecting my husband to help out around the house, buy me salt and vinegar chips when I’m on my period, and rub my back and arms when I’ve had a rough day; and expectations like him expecting me to make dinner every night, do his laundry, and be okay with him playing his video games whenever he wants. And when these expectations we have for one another aren’t met, we become upset, which usually leads to an argument.
When we began talking about this aspect of our marriage that night, the husband of the other couple mentioned how he had heard in a sermon that in marriage couples need to “BAM” each other. He said that “BAM” stood for by a mile, which is an expression I’ve heard before but never in relation to marriage.
Our friend went on to tell the story that went along with the acronym. He said that there was this married couple who were having problems, and one day, the husband got up and decided to iron his wife’s shirt for her while she was in the shower. The next day, he made her a sandwich she could take for lunch that day, and the following day he folded and put away her clean clothes.
Before our friend could finish his story, I blurted out, “But what did the wife do for him?” We all laughed, and I realized that was the point.
To love someone by a mile – to “BAM” someone – means to do everything we can for that person, without expecting anything in return.
I think a lot of us have marriage all backward. Marriage isn’t doing things for someone so they can do things for you. Yes, sometimes it ends up working out that way because marriage is awesome like that, but that’s not why you do them. The key to a successful marriage is living for our partner, loving them so much, and wanting to do it by a mile.
Up until we had this conversation with our friends, my husband and I were doing marriage all wrong. We lived in this world of expectations, constantly expecting our partner to love us the way we wanted to be loved, but what we were lacking was loving our partner in that same way. What we were lacking was the urge to “BAM” each other.
Ever since that night, that conversation, and that acronym that sounds pretty scandalous, our marriage has never been better. I find myself wanting to do my husband’s laundry, wanting to make him dinner, and wanting to give him more time to play his video games because I want to love him better – because I want to “BAM” him.
It’s difficult to let go of our expectations because we want the best for ourselves and for our marriage, but when we start paying attention to our partner and our partner’s needs – when we start “BAMing” each other – everything else just falls into place.