I do love my husband. And I think I love him more for the things I wasn’t expecting to – for the things I never saw in him while we were dating, honestly. So I think I really lucked out with that one. But in reality, nothing in this world truly prepared me for marriage. And I mean nothing. I believe that’s the truth for everyone.
You can read every book, take the advice of every “old and wise” and do that marriage counseling they provide before tying the knot. But none of those things prepare you for your own, unique, cobblestone path you’re headed down with that special someone. Not having a clue what lies up ahead. It’s either thrilling, or terrifying, however you look at it. But the course is something to endure and face the challenges as one.
It’s explained enough that marriage is not about reaching the “end of the tunnel”, it’s the journey that matters. That journey isn’t always blue skies and rays of sunshine, by any means. We stress enough that marriage is work, but I want to dig deeper than that. I want to surface some of the brutally honest aspects of work, in marriage, that nobody really talks enough about.
Brutally Honest Tid-Bits On Marriage Nobody Really Talks About
It’s NOT like in the movies
Okay, this one seems pretty self explanatory. But I’ll bet you it isn’t drilled enough into some heads – where each day needs to be peaches and cream, and rise and end on a good, high note.
Just like on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds, you know what you will never usually see more of? The negative in people’s lives. They aren’t going to talk about their marital problems, relationship struggles or dating havoc for the world to see. Well, some may (I know some who do). But majority lies the same for the movies – we only highlight the good in our lives, because that’s how we always want it to be perceived to others.
We must remember that is not the true face of marriage…all the time. It’s not effortless, easy and warm and fuzzy 24/7, 365.
Your partner is not you; as it is not your job to change them
Your partner is their own, individual, unique person with their own unique qualities and characteristics. Hence why you’re with them to begin with. They are not always going to have the same understanding or way of thinking as you. And who they are now may be different 5, 10, and 35 years from now (they do say people “change” every 7 odd years or so). The idea of our unique differences is something to learn in one another, and embrace the changes in your lifetime together.
And it’s not your given duty to expect change in those differences just to appease you. Although, there are ways to compromise these differences through communication in order to better the quality of the relationship. But it’s neither spouse’s job going in with the motive to change, or expect change from their partner.
You’ll never “win”
Because the point of marriage isn’t to win anything, anymore. Who’s right or wrong – none of that truly matters. In a healthy, honest relationship every individual makes the choice to face their wrong-doings, as well as owning up to their decisions, actions and mistakes without pulling a five year old tantrum.
It’s not about keeping tabs, tallying the scores or holding circumstances above one another’s heads in order to feel superior. Stop that altogether.
The mindset of “winning” means you fail to work as a team as much as you are working against your partner. In a marriage, no matter what, that is what you are – a team. And working against one another, even in conflict, is that step in emotionally breaking yourself from the aspects of marriage.
Want to learn more on resolving conflict in your marriage? It’s an 8 step process that will greatly impact your relationship.
Your pride is the thorn
Pride is just another way of refusing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the relationship – avoiding further hurt, disappointment, or weakness within ourselves. And pride generally stems from differences and conflict within the relationship.
You’ve got to learn what it means to spend the next 70-80 years of your life apologizing (even when you feel you shouldn’t have to), compromising (even when doing so doesn’t benefit you in the least), letting go (especially if you’ve chosen to forgive, or know it’s not worth holding onto), and knowing and admitting when you’re wrong (even when maybe you know in your heart you’re right). Be able to acknowledge there’s another important life force with feelings, thoughts and opinions that matter just as much as yours – especially during conflict (even when your blood is boiling like the Hulk).
Because here’s the truth in the matter: pride wants your relationship to fail, especially having and showing too much of it. It’s goal is to strip away at your happiness and true meaning of receiving and giving Love. Remember that.
Having trouble letting go of pride? Treat the issues in the marriage (or instances that get in the way of your pride) as a separate entity. Instead of letting this entity influence you and the marriage, communicate it and work together against it.
Give without limitations (true Love is naturally reciprocal)
It’s in part of our nature to want to feel loved, and if we’re not getting it – we’re probably not amplified to giving it, either. But if you listen to the world preach, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”, “Do unto others”, “Give, and you shall receive” – it’s actually difficult to take those versus into account in our daily lives.
If you give, give and give and give, and receive nothing in return – many usually end up pulling back. Sure, I’m guilty. And in the blog world, boy, does that feeling of wanting to pull back hit so hard at times.
But listen, nobody’s perfect. You may give, give and give and feel it’s hardly reciprocated – then the sails turn when you least expect it. Expect that in a marriage at times.
We’re imperfect. We forget things, need reminding of at times (yes, even at 28 I am so forgetful, especially when my plate is full), and simply just need to be cut some slack.
There are bound to be times when one side gives a little more (carries double the weight, so to speak), but does so without being quick to hold it against the other. The difference is knowing that in the right, healthy, stable relationship – Love is always reciprocal, without limitations.
Sex isn’t everything
Sex is not why you’re married. And that should be carved into stone by now. Granted, many will say that sex is equally the foundation to a marriage – as communication. And with that, many couples talk about sex (or lack there of) being one of the first tickets to the downward slope in marriage. I’d like to think that’s genuinely not true in my marriage. That if every other aspect of our marriage is perfectly healthy (including other forms of intimacy), sex should follow.
Though, a common fret that is surfacing right now, is the fact of there being fluctuations in the drive. And the drive (or lack there of) is not what should be killing a marriage – because, again, sex isn’t why you’re married.
As I am always reminding myself of those less fortunate in their sexual capabilities, I know I could never hold sex against my marriage, and can only hope my husband feels the same. It isn’t the sole reason, or really any part, as to why I married in the first place. And I’m saddened to know there are those out there who abandon or leave their spouse simply over this fact.
So ask yourself this: If your partner suddenly lost all sexual capabilities (short or long term), would that be a deal-breaker in your marriage? Because there should come a time to be prepared for many relevant fluctuations in terms of sex, desire, and drive.
Falling out of love isn’t always an automatic deal-breaker
Just because you think, wonder and worry whether you’re falling out of love – doesn’t mean that’s truly the case, and that the relationship is doomed. No. Though as life gets the best of us (kids, work and life changes), we can slump into darkness – blinded by the happenings in our marriage we fail to see taking place.
From another insightful marriage blogger, she mentioned in her post “Why Date Night Takes Priority Over Family Night” that
so many things in our lives compete for our time, but our husbands shouldn’t be one of them.
-Ayanna (21 Flavors of Splendor)
Which hits so close to home for me. I’m a firm believer in my husband coming first – always – no matter the integrations in our lives that await (including starting a family). Granted, there can be other reasons for having “fallen out of love”, but primarily I believe the sole reason is by slipping in making your marriage – your partner – the focal point.
With that, there’s the significance of “quality time”, constant communication, and managing to always, always, always make your marriage the priority. Even through the changes you both inevitably will endure, the point of a marriage is enduring those changes together, without letting either one slip through the cracks alone.
And there are more than enough ways and reasons to re-boot any “fallen behind” marriage without deeming it a total loss. All of which has me further indicating that,
Love is not a feeling
Gotta put your big girl panties on to understand this one.
Still unsure what I mean? OK, so you Love your man – understood – but you know there are absolute times (even just for a split millisecond) when you “feel” like _______________ in his sleep. [insert demonic or unimaginable action in the blank]. For example, “setting him on fire“.
But – you love him – so obviously you wouldn’t.
See, there, Love is not a feeling at all. It’s a choice, ya’ll. Each and every single waking day – even after a night of barely getting enough sheet to cover your freezing cold body, keeping you awake from snoring or rolling onto your side of the bed.
If you’re looking for romance, or for the spark that lasts forever – that’s a feeling. Both parties are responsible in creating it.
Needing therapy is not a sign of marital failure, or being weak
I know there are perfectly healthy couples who take on regular therapy for the sake of it being what simply works for them.
We’re human beings – we’re not going to get marriage right all the time. It’s difficult to do right by ourselves at times! And out of the billions in this world, we chose one to learn and grow from. I think we’re allotted for seeking help, especially when we aim for something to last a lifetime.
With that said, most have undermined the meaning to “marriage counseling” or “therapy” as due to failure. That most couples who seek counseling have literally filed for Love Bankruptcy.
We need to stop having that immediate conclusion. If I want to seek counseling for a 3rd party take into how my husband and I can better understand one another, and help improve the quality of our marriage – I should do so freely without feeling like we’re setting up our marriage to meet with the Grim Reaper.