Marriage is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. After being married for one month, I have realized that marriages are grown through trial and error. When you get married, so much changes; you merge very different personalities, thoughts, feelings, and stuff as well as pressure and expectations you’ve never experienced before.
During some alone time, I got to thinking about what I have learned about marriage and what I wish I had acknowledged before tying the knot. So I have come up with a list of five of the major concepts I have learned in the past month of being married.
1. Listen To Advice
Let me tell you, when you are engaged or talking about getting engaged, everyone has an opinion and some kind of advice to give. Most of the time you don’t want to hear it and a lot of it sounds condescending and depressing, but you should listen and contemplate what they tell you. I ignored a lot of the advice that was given to me; I let it come in and I dismissed it believing that Jeremiah and I were going to be different.
2. “Me” Time Is Good
One of the main issues I faced when Jeremiah and I moved in together was realizing we didn’t need to spend every waking moment together. I was so overwhelmed by feeling like I couldn’t take time for myself. There is nothing wrong with stepping back to be alone in order to think or relax. When we finally talked about my frustration and encouraged each other to start doing the things that we enjoy, we were able to feel more like ourselves and appreciate each other.
3. Respect The Other’s Stuff
This sounds like a no brainer, but what I mean by this is all the extra stuff that comes with a person when you get married and move in together. I never realized how much stuff Jeremiah actually had that was just stored away in boxes. When I came over to help unpack, I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had never seen Jeremiah use and I felt that it was cluttering our apartment. I pressured him constantly to go through his boxes and continuously asked him about items I felt could be donated.
Looking back, I realize how stressed this made him feel and that these items meant something to him. Once I understood that he needed to work through his boxes at a slower pace than I was asking of him, I noticed he enjoyed showing and telling me stories about the items inside. Remember, your apartment/house doesn’t have to be unpacked in a day or a week… just have fun with it and relish in being with and learning about your spouse.
4. Communication Is Key
Another obvious one, but it makes the list, because even though I knew that Jeremiah and I needed to communicate in order to have a successful marriage, we weren’t quite communicating enough. There were things around the apartment that were bugging me or I would need space, but I would be afraid to tell him, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or not be a good spouse. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for these conversations. My advice: just break the honesty barrier as soon as possible. Jeremiah and I built our relationship on honesty, but once we were married, I felt so much more pressure to make him happy, so I put my feelings aside. That is not a healthy choice, so be open about what you need or how you feel and just discuss it.
5. Marriage Is Not A Science
It’s important to know that there is not a right or wrong way to be married. Every marriage looks different. During the first few weeks of our marriage, I was constantly comparing myself to other wives. I was sizing us up against the other married folks we were around and I kept thinking I was doing something wrong. Being married seemed easier to those other couples and I kept thinking about how I could change and be better, because I wanted Jeremiah to be happy and satisfied with me.
There was one instance where I asked Jeremiah if I was being a good wife; he smiled at me and expressed how much he appreciated and loved me. There isn’t one foolproof way to be a “good” wife. The way you respect and honor your spouse is different for everyone, because it has to do with our personalities, hobbies, and strengths. So be confident in yourself and remember not to compare yourself to others.
Marriage is an amazing thing! It might not always be easy and Jeremiah and I might have had a rough transition, but through trial and error as well as communication and honesty, we have really started to grow as a married couple.
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