We recently celebrated our wedding/marriage anniversary. This got me thinking about our journey as a couple and share 8 lessons I wish I had known before getting married. In my opinion, there is nothing that can adequately prepare you for the institution known as marriage. However, there are things that you can learn before and after your wedding that can help make the journey easier.
Let’s start with the basics, a marriage is the union of two people, with more differences, and than similarities. Reading this statement you may be thinking what is this Bisola on. Really please hang in there with me. In most cases, marriages consist of two adults from different backgrounds, parenting styles, conflict resolution styles, religion, ethnicity, financial background, goals, aspiration, political party, and many more. Which in most cases have chosen to look beyond all these differences.
To focus on all their similarities to become one and create a family. A lofty idea right, oftentimes it is easier to overlook these differences. Especially when you are not sharing the same quarters 24/7. Where hereby these differences are not in your purview daily.
Don’t get me wrong I am a big proponent of love, relationships, and marriages. I do believe that if more of us go into this union with a dash of romance and a huge bucket of practicality, maybe the transition from 2 to 1 will be a tad bit easier. I am by no means a marriage counselor nor do I think I have a perfect marriage. Below are some of the things I have learned along the way. I hope these will help anyone who happens to read this.
With life comes great and not so great times. Having a foundation and a strong relationship with God will serve as a rock and guide during these difficult times. Also acknowledging and recognizing the divinity of a higher power serves as a way to check on our actions. Am I operating in the likeliness of the God I serve, am I forgiving others as I want God to forgive me, he who knows and sees my imperfections and all? If with all this in mind, I am still a recipient of God’s grace. Why can’t I do the same for my spouse? As a family, it is important to pray together on the big and small things. Cultivate this habit and include your children in your prayer sessions as well.
Fight fair: Be quick to apologize and forgive
Whew, this is and still a work in progress for me. It is so easy to fight dirty, especially when in an argument with someone you know so well. If you are like me, it may be better to put a lid on the potential explosion by walking away and having a conversation at a later time. It is also important to be quick to apologize and forgive. As a reformed grudge holder and silent treatment expert, It quickly became apparent earlier on in our relationship that if I was going to hold on to my anger and keep grudges, we will have more unhappy times than happy times. Luckily I have a spouse who is quick to apologize. So over time, although we still have our arguments we never let be a hindrance to our happiness as a couple.
Schedule Frequent Check-ins
There is no room for complacency in marriage. At work, you may have quarterly or biannual performance reviews on your performance as an employee. The same should apply to your marriage. You cannot operate from a place of assumption. As we grow and evolve individually, this should also apply to our marriages on relationships. So ask your spouse those uncomfortable questions. Are you happy in this relationship? What five things do you think we need to work on? Are there things I do, that you are unhappy with? This question will lead to open and authentic communication. You should also be open to receive feedback without getting defensive. These conversations should not be also used as a weapon to hurt your significant other.
Never stop dating your spouse
This is vital, especially when kids come into the picture. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle. That the foundation of your marriage, which is you and your spouse is left by the wayside. Dating your spouse does not have to be elaborate or expensive to do. Meeting up for lunch during the workday, having movie nights at home, take vacations alone, or arrange a staycation here are some of the ways you can schedule a quality one on one time with your spouse. These will create opportunities to reconnect and reignite/keep alive the spark in your relationship. At the end of it all, your kids will move on to form their own relationships. It will be just you and your spouse left at home. We don’t want to wait until that time to start finding ways to reconnect.
In a relationship, there can never be a thing called over communication. Remember my opening paragraph on how in most cases in marriages we have more differences than similarities. This is where the ability to communicate effectively comes into play. Share everything, even what you may think is not important. In most cases what you deem as not important will most likely be very important to your spouse. So instead of assuming, share, share, and continue to share.
Forget all preconceived notions of marriage
Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare your spouse to your friend, auntie, or co-worker’s spouse. Most often this comparison is usually on the things that can only be seen on the surface. The dynamics of each relationship is unique to that relationship. Trying to compare or emulate the same dynamic or behaviors to your relationship, would most often than not result in disaster. This will not even work even if you are married to the same person.
There is no “I” in team
When working in a team setting, it is important to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, my husband is very optimistic in nature, while I on the other end can be pessimistic. There are times when each of these qualities can be of strength or weakness. Based on whatever scenarios that may be at play. The important thing is to use these characteristics in a way which both parties win at the end of the day. His optimistic point of view will help us see the best in everything, while my views will help tither us to the more realistic end of things. Recognizing your weaknesses and strengths as a whole is a key factor in winning as a team.
Never stop working on yourself
Retaining your identity as a part of a team is also playing an essential in the growth of your relationship. It is important to continue to grow and work on yourself. So don’t stop actively pursuing your personal goals, this can be via so many ways. Working on your goals as a career woman, taking care of your physical and emotional well being, cultivating quality friendships, making time for your hobbies. I know it can be hard trying to juggle it all. Your mental health will thank you for it.
If you made it this far thank you for reading and i hope it resonates with you. Now i need a favor from you. It is your turn to share some helpful tips you have learnt along the way in regards to your relationships. As a lifelong learner in this marriage ministry. I am looking forward to reading and learning from you.
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