July is my anniversary month, and it has me thinking about the things that I’ve learned about marriage in the years that we’ve been together. It all boiled down to 6 main categories:
1.Marriage is Hard
I think that most young girls love the idea of a happily ever after fairy tale. They don’t realize that marriage takes work. It takes patience, selflessness, and dedication. It’s not a one-time deal where you get married then everything is sunshine and rainbows. There will be good times, and there will be very hard times. Marriage is worth it, but it takes major commitment to not give up when the going gets rough.
2.Communication, communication, COMMUNICATION!!!
When I first got married so many people told me that communication is important that it started to become a cliché. Just after we were married, my husband told me that I could do better. I started to cry, thinking that he just told me that I should be a better wife, but after seeing his confusion he told me that he meant I could have chosen a better husband. He was trying to be sweet and give me a compliment, but I understood it as something completely different. After a few laughs we learned that our brainwaves are on very different frequencies, and we’d have to learn how to make sure we fully understand what the other person is saying before we jump to conclusions and react. That was my first eye-opener to how important learning to effectively communicate is in a marriage.
This is another one that I heard a lot before I got married. There will be times in your marriage where you completely disagree. That’s okay. I’ve heard that it’s important to come to a compromise, where both of you give in a little to make things fair. That can be great for some marriages, but not for mine. We learned that if we both gave a little then neither one of us would be fully happy. Instead, we don’t compromise at all. Sometimes I let my husband have things his way if we don’t agree, and other times he lets me have my way. That way once in a while we are both fully happy that we “won”, instead of always only half-happy because we had to compromise. It feels good to sacrifice and serve your spouse too, so if my husband and I don’t agree on something, but I let him have his way, then I feel good because I get to see how happy he is. For us, serving one another when we don’t get our way, and getting our way once in a while, helps us both to always “win”. There is no winning and losing separately in a marriage. You win or lose together. That’s an important thing that I like to remember.
This one is the hardest for me. I have to constantly remind myself that my husband has flaws…and so do I. Having patience when I want to lash out is a hard thing to master, but I’m getting better at it. We all have our good days and bad days, so it’s important to learn how to be patient with one another during those bad ones.
5.Take Time for You
When I’m a happy person and feel good about myself then my marriage improves. I’ve realized that I need to have my own hobbies and accomplishments, separate from my husband’s, so that I have something to bring into our marriage. It’s important to do things together, but I personally think that being two different individuals bringing differing skillsets and ideas into a marriage can really strengthen and improve it. If all else fails then there’s that age-old saying: “If momma isn’t happy, then nobody is happy.” It’s so true! When one person is in a really bad mood then the whole family feels it. I try to once in a while focus on myself so that I can bring happiness into our marriage and be better prepared to help my husband when he struggles.
6.Mix it Up
I’ve learned that marriage can be boring and redundant. After being married a few years, I realized that we were acting more like roommates than partners. We would do our own things throughout the day, and then take a few moments at the end of the day to ask the usual “how was your day?” before disappearing into our hobbies and electronics. We had too much of a routine that didn’t help us expand and grow together. Mixing things up once in a while greatly helped with this problem. For example, try something new together. It can be a new restaurant or vacation spot. We also occasionally switch up the roles a little bit. So instead of me doing the dishes after dinner, my husband would do them for a week while I did his usual vacuuming chore. That way we learned to appreciate the little things that the other person does while breaking up the monotony of a routine. Working on a project or set of goals together can also help.
What has your marriage taught you?