So let me just preface this post with some background for the sake of context (in no particular order of importance):
- I grew up in a single-parent home and did not witness consistent examples of marriage up close, not in my family or even in my community.
- In 2 yrs my husband & I met, became friends, and then dated. We’ve been married for 4 years.
- This post is true today, but could evolve the more I learn over time.
- I’ve learned a gazillion things from being married, but I’m just sharing these three for now. I’m not saying they are the most significant.
- I’m sharing because I have been having a lot of conversations (as usual) with friends about relationships.
1.) When you marry someone, you are coming in contact with everything they experienced in life…good, bad, & indifferent. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you never know the layers of an onion until you start to peel them back. The logic that people come together as a sum of their life experiences (infinite & ever-evolving) and expect to easily co-exist for the sake of having most of their own needs met (physical, mental, sexual, emotional, and everything else that tickles your fancy) and building a life together is a crazy ass math problem of probability that can either never be solved or is so rare in theory that no one should attempt to solve the probability! It’s a lot. So cut yourself & each other some slack and use the lifetime that you committed to to figure it out….because we’re all just as different as snowflakes, fingerprints, and meatballs and we’re all just trying to get along!
2.) Marriage is saying yes to the unknown. Marriages start with weddings and weddings include vows. I realized as I worked to write my vows that I did not know what to promise because I could not be sure what was ahead of us. So you can imagine the control-freak in me chased her own tail for a while on that one. But I soon came to better understand the cliche catch-all ‘for better / worse, richer / poorer, sickness ‘ health’. But marriage is just that….promising to be what’s needed even though you have no idea what the future holds. It’s taking a risk with no guarantees…but a lot of warm fuzzy stuff like faith, hope, love, trust. You get it. You’ve read Hallmark cards before.
3.) There is no secret to marriage. So you can stop asking the couples who have been married for 20, 30, or 60 years – what’s the secret to a successful marriage. The “secret” (truth) that they discovered is their own and you have to discover yours. Not to mention, the secret will change from day to day. I like the idea of soul mates and believe they exist on many levels in life, not just romantic. However, being soul mates is not what makes a marriage. The thing that makes marriage successful is continually doing the work! Working on yourselves and your relationship as necessary. Doing the work can be fixing what’s not working, working to maintain it, or working to make it better.
4.) Marriage is special because it’s unparalleled to any other adult relationship in your life. You can avoid your parents, limit interaction with your neighbor, break up with a boy/girl friend, hang out with friends sometimes, but you NEVER have to deal with life intermingling with anyone else as much as it does with a spouse. So you face things and have feelings that you don’t encounter elsewhere in your life. Sometimes that’s great. Sometimes that’s really hard to deal with because we build lives to surround ourselves with people who affirm who we are or who we wan to be. How dare a spouse point out our flaws!!! But recognize that they can point out what others either don’t see, don’t have to deal with, or didn’t marry.
5.) Having supportive (not perfect) couple friends / confidants is so necessary. No need to re-invent the wheel . Talking to people who you and your spouse both trust can create a space to vent, get objective feedback, and save you both from going to jail for murder or being declared insane.
Of all the lessons I’ve learned so far, marriage is definitely worth the investments and the rewards!!! It can help you grow into the better person you are meant to become and maybe didn’t even know existed!
That’s my perspective? What’s yours?!?!