4 Things I've Learned About Marriage

May 2, 2018

Engagement Day, December 2012

Last month my husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.  Michael and I love hard and I mean that in every sense of the word.  It gives us deep pleasure to see one another happy and a profound sadness when we can't seem to connect.  We have learned our lessons and are totally "winning" at this thing called marriage.  We have learned so much about each other but even more about ourselves and have just taken every single "knock-down" as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the road ahead.  A marriage is a living, breathing thing and you most make it a priority in order to create a healthy, long standing relationship.

December 2012

1) Throw out what you think a marriage should be.

Every single marriage is different.  There is no size fits all when it comes to two individuals committing themselves to one another.  That should be a relief for you.  Why?  You can create a marriage from scratch, one that works for you and your partner.  To hell with what friends and family members might say about the relationship.  If it works for you and your partner then continue doing just that.

For example:  Michael and I were married in April and I had applied and was accepted into a graduate program that fall.  At my bridal shower I had so much to be excited for, not only was I getting married to an amazing man but I was taking the next step in my career by starting a master's program.  Michael was totally onboard and exited for me.  A close friend warned that I was taking on too much and that I should focus my time and energy on my new marriage.  I smiled, and graciously thanked her for her advice.  When I went home that evening I sat my fiancé
down and told him I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it all and I worried that I would be a terrible wife while I was in the program.  I asked what he thought, should I postpone?  He looked me straight in the eyes and said absolutely not, this was my dream and so it was now his.  We would figure the rest out together.  Which leads me to my next point.

September 2012

2) You must trust your partner 100%

This is important because without trust you have nothing.  What do I mean? I am not talking about fidelity at all, although thats important too.  But if you don't trust your partner can be faithful you've got bigger fish to fry.  What I mean is that there will be times where your partner might tell you something about yourself that you aren't prepared to hear.  Our instinct is, of course, to become defensive, especially when they've really hit a nerve.  That is when you MUST remember this person is your friend, they love you very much and only have your best interest at heart.  It isn't a judgement they are making, this is a real opportunity for you.  You can go one of two ways, you can completely shutdown or blow up or you can take some time to think about what they are saying.  Put some REAL thought into their words and realize how hard it might have been for them to even share this with you.  They fear a reaction like the one's described above.  Let's face it, anger is an easy emotion to tap into.  This isn't easy though, this is an opportunity for real growth and THAT is the work my friend.

For example: I tend to have a lot of energy. ALOT. I can jump around from thoughts and ideas and just be all over the place.  I teeter between wanting to pursue career goals that means more responsibility, late nights etc. You know #bossbabe status.  And then flip to lazy Erica, she is comfortable where she is and part of her doesn't want to work that hard to get where she wants to go.  Lazy Erica sometimes expects things to just be dropped on her lap.  My husband called me out on this just the other night.  Now, your next question might be, "what did you do? Shutdown, explode or embrace this as an opportunity oh wise one,". Well, I shutdown..listen, Im not perfect! We need refreshers, even on lessons learned.😆 I shut down and abruptly ended the conversation.  Ok, ok don't judge me! Im being honest here.  I spent the next day licking my wounds but also thinking about what my husband was trying to tell me.  He was absolutely right and he deserved to know it which brings me to my third lesson.

December 2012

3) As soon as you realize you are wrong APOLOGIZE

I can be a stubborn ole piece of work, and that is just part of my charm. No but really I am a tough nut to crack.  But one thing that I have learned pretty quickly, actually ever since my husband came into my life, is this one simple fact.  I don't want to be away from him, ever.  When I sulk and shutdown I am not only pushing him away, I am locking myself up in my own prison.  I hate that.  So as soon as I realize how wrong I am and I am ready to talk which is typically right away or within 24 hours.  I say to him openly and honestly,  "I am sorry."

Bonus: You might NOT always understand why your partner has gotten upset or feels hurt even after they try explaining it to you and that is ok.  Feelings aren't rationale, they don't come from that part of the brain and so sometimes it doesn't make sense.  It isn't your job to convince them they are wrong for how they feel, it is your job to assure them, when they are hurt, that they are loved and cared for deeply.   You say to them, I don't understand why you feel hurt BUT I am sorry that you do.  I would never intentionally hurt you.  Validating your partner's feelings are important.  Sometimes that is all they need.   Which again leads me to my very next and final point.

November 2011

4) Be Quick to Forgive - this is key

Ah! This is a goodie and a personal favorite of mine.  I get angry quickly but I cool off just as fast. My husband is slow to get angry (extremely patient human being) but once he is angry, he is slow to cool.  As I said before I don't want to be apart from my husband.  I can't do the silent treatment (which is deadly btw) and so when he shuts down I begin to unravel.  He has really taken this into consideration and has made it a point to come "back to me" as quickly as he can.  I can't tell you how much that means to me.  I know it isn't easy.  We all form these habits and coping mechanisms to help us get through difficult situations we feel we can't talk our way through.  I get it.  But that doesn't mean that the story ends there.  There is always room to grow and learn a new way to communicate this with your partner.  That is what I love most about us, we aren't perfect but we are eternal learners.  (Speaking of "perfect" there is nothing in this world that is 100% perfect, it doesn't exist, so please throw that extremely limiting and confining concept away with yesterday's trash, thanks.) So silence your ego and allow a deep love between you and your partner to flourish and forgive them every single time.

To be clear: I am NOT speaking about unhealthy and abusive relationships. Those you don't forgive, you move the hell on.  Trust me when I say those relationships don't get better.  I have been there and if you find yourself there too, I am here for you.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need a friend. 💗

March 2018

Paris, July 2017

And when all else fails, lighten up.  Don't take everything so seriously.  Life can be hard and sometimes full of disappointments.  Your partner will be by your side through it all so just learn to enjoy the ride.  I am grateful for the partnership my husband and I have created together and look forward to a long and loving marriage.

Thanks for reading!

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by LifeStyledbyErica 💋

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