When your a little girl you get to dream. Personally, I wore jeans with the knees worn out and a ‘Happy Bunny’ T-shirt. But under all that energy, tangled hair, and the occasional gaucho pants, I was dreaming of being a princess and marrying someone special (Which I did).
Your a child and you think it’s “happily ever after”. You get older and think it’s “a romantic fun idea”. Then you get to an age where it’s practical and it’s “exciting and/or scary”. Engaged- “terrifying and wonderful and the best thing ever”. Married- and you realize it is all of those, plus what others told you, plus what they didn’t tell you, plus what your finding out as you go. You went into an entirely different world.
It’s been a HECTIC last month and a half and still is as we are currently house hunting and many other factors have been causing a lot of “crazy” lately. But it also goes into my point.
I have several friends that are close to being engaged, engaged, or recently married. Everyone gives you the same advice:
- “It isn’t as easy as you think”
- “He’s not gonna woo you forever”
- “It isn’t a walk in the park its hard work”
- “Learn to Pick your battles”
- “Make sure to start on the same page in all areas”
- “You need to put the other person first and you will both always win”
- “Therapy isn’t bad, it can help”
While most of these stand true, not all. And I understand why most people try and give you the raw truth before to help prepare, but it made me rather nervous going in. Take it all with a grain of salt (even mine- because you aren’t me).
So for all my friends getting married, recently married like myself, or even been married for awhile I encourage you with this:
Everyone’s walk in marriage is different. One person’s failed area can be your strongest. pay attention, listen, and learn in all aspects of your marriage.
HAVE RULES. As mediocre as it sounds establish things. It has been very beneficial for us! Some rules that helped us regulate arguments for example were:
- Take a break if an argument gets too heated- you don’t want to say something you don’t mean that can be hurtful. If you feel it’s getting too much, just take a minute.
- Don’t bring up the past and throw it in their face. For anyone this can be hard. I’ve had family members do this to me and it can hurt. We made it a rule not to do it.
- NEVER argue in front our of child(ren). Everyone disagrees/ argues, but even an innocent disagreement can be taken poorly in front of a child. Separate yourself, resolve, and move on.
- My son has asked me after if we went outside so we could fight at each other. I told him we weren’t fighting, but we felt differently about a subject and needed to talk it out privately. I let him know we did and that’s why when we came back in he saw us kiss and then move forward together. That no one was upset at the other person and we were on the same page. It’s important for him to know his parents aren’t “against each other” so to not cultivate an atmosphere of “side-taking”.
- Repeat back to clarify you understood correct- “So you feel ___ when I do ___”. Once you clarify than you can move on. We misunderstood each other in the beginning a lot, so we had double layered arguments that were all because of a small problem that had a misunderstanding which made it worse because we didn’t clarify what the other meant and we just “assumed”
- Don’t assume.
Marriage isn’t a walk in the park- beginning to end it is such a journey. But as our first year will be coming to it’s last quarter here I can say it takes work in ALL areas. You will learn A LOT about the other in the first year. Believe me….We have known each other for 10 years now, went through highschool together, friends, dating off and on between 8 years or so, had a child in that time and now are married and I STILL learn something new daily!
There will always be something knew. And I don’t mean like finding out he is a person that puts the toilet paper on backwards (which is a silent ongoing battle since we began our marriage), but finding things deeper, figuring out the psychology behind a lot of behaviors or tendencies. You will observe and learn a lot that will help you (hopefully) adapt in the way you show your love toward that person so it speaks on a deeper level to him/her. You may quickly learn he likes to come home and have a ten minute break in the bathroom to just unwind, take a shower, and talk about his day until he “washes it off”. Awesome. Now learn how to not bombard him with stuff when he first gets home so he has time to decompress.
BUT- just because it isn’t a walk in the park doesn’t mean it has to implode. Don’t let past family situations scare you. You don’t have to be the next link in the chain of “family debt”, “divorce”, “alcoholism”, “absent parent” etc. You are your OWN wife or husband, you have your OWN marriage with it’s OWN journey. Forget the rest, except to learn from their mistakes and steer your path in the right direction from the very beginning. Starting now will only make your path stronger by having a solid foundation.
And even when it isn’t teh easiest, find ways to make the best of it. Right now trying to find a house, or even a temporary new apt for as we look is so stressful. We have numerous behind the scenes stressors going on that are piled up high. BUT… Last night I came across an old script to a play we were in together in high school “Princess and the Pea” (Yes I was the princess and the was the pea-just kidding he was my prince) 7years ago. I also found the Rose he got me from a Broadway musical we went to see together 7years ago. It was a very sad and busy weekend and he just finished closing out a show with a local theater company. I wrote a little love note with memories, the joy I love to see in him, how much I adore him as my husband, etc. I left those on the table with a line from the Princess and the Pea script highlighted that resembled something going on currently….something so tiny with everything else going on in his already 13hour day caused him to stop, me to hang up my phone, him to read the letter, kiss me and tell me he loved me also. Just a small 2 minutes in the busy day before we both had to do more housework and get everything ready for work and school the next morning. And those 2 minutes where the world stopped was such a needed moment.
Take the 2 minutes. Because sometimes when you get in the groove of busy life, although doing life together, 2 minute breaks can mean the world. Find the little ways to show love in between the date nights. Learn from the past of you and others. Make your own path and stay observant.
Your marriage is what you make it. Make it Last.