Marriage is certainly a roller-coaster and I’ve got a long way to go yet, but I think I’m doing okay. I want to share with you 10 things I’ve learned in my marriage so far.
1. Say I love you everyday and truly mean it.
I blurt these 3 words out like they’re the last words on Earth, but when I say them, I mean it. Whenever my husband and I have a little tiff, I can always hear my Grandma in the background saying ‘don’t go to sleep on an argument. Make sure you tell him you love him’. So I have always ended an argument with an I love you. Let me think of some reasons why I think telling your other half you love them is important…
It shows commitment-
The phrase ‘I love you’ is a big step in any relationship so by repeating it -shows you are still embracing this milestone each and every day.
It makes your partner feel secure-
If something has rocked your relationship lately- this can let your loved one know that whatever life throws at you- you still love them no matter what.
When your partner has had a bad day at work, an argument with a family member or friend- it demonstrates that they will always have you in the absence of others.
It takes no time at all-
It’s only three words- if you can’t summon up the energy to say them once a day, there’s something very wrong.
It means more than a gift-
The lasting feeling of being told you’re loved far outweighs the excitement of a present.
It shows your attachment to your partner-
You probably say it to very few others, perhaps family, so it’s an expression of how close you feel to the person you’re with.
The meaning doesn’t get lost-
It only evolves over time as your relationship gets stronger.
2. Don’t let arguments get the better of you, they should make you stronger as a couple
Yell, scream, cry, but always come to a conclusion. Talk it out. Talk so much that you both want to tear your hair out. Talk so much that you forget why the fight started. Talk so much that you actually learn something new about your partner. When it’s all done, hug each other, apologize and forgive, and refer to number one.
3. Endorse in something you both love
Find something that you both enjoy doing. It could be that you take up a salsa class together, go on sponsored walks together or attend an art class together. My husband and I haven’t quite found something we both love, but we will eventually – at least we’re trying. Salsa is a must for me, but my husband has two left feet so we’ll work on it.
3. Date. I know this is cliché but this is a must
Make time to date your spouse. There is still a lot to learn – I’m sure – so why forget about dating just because you’re married? Our dates often involve food. I can’t remember the last time I went to the cinema. Have a picnic together or go to your favourite restaurant. Always make time to date. Again I can hear my Grandma in the back of my mind ‘make time to date each other. Never stop dating’. I love you Grandma.
4. Have regular meaningful conversations
This is a bit of a struggle for my husband and I, but we try. We tend to stay up-to-date; people and situations are always changing, even subtly. This one is hard but we make time to discuss crucial issues that affect us both, I mean this is a must. We allow the other to share the most intimate parts of themselves, listen to their concerns and encourage them to express their fears, hopes, and dreams – I love doing this as we, eventually, find something that we both want to achieve. I think, especially living in a world like today, this is important as there are many distractions that can stray away from connecting with your partner.
5. You suddenly discover new annoying habits you each have
Unless you lived together before you were married, you most likely won’t be used to ALL of your partner’s habits. The skill of compromise has helped my husband and I deal with this, we’re both learning to get used to our habits and even drop a few habits which we didn’t even realize were annoying.
6. Patience is indeed a virtue.
When stuff doesn’t go my way, I’ve learned to be patient. I’ve learned to trust in my husband, and his timing, and his guidance. He leads us in the way he sees fit, and even though I sometimes go bonkers trying to speed life up, I’ve come to learn patience. Whether it’s a small thing such as a household chore, or a larger event like moving on to the next stage in life. I’ve learned to take each moment as it comes, step by step, trying my best to show patience in every situation. Whether that means waiting until it’s the right time to have a child, buy a house, or get that new car, it’s important to have patience and wait for the right timing.
7. Marriage means you have learned enough about the other person and you are looking forward to learning more.
When I agreed to marry my husband, it’s kinda common sense that I knew him well enough, not by the longevity of my relationship but how deep it is. I know people who’d opt to live together before tying the knot. That way, they’d see how their partner behaves in his/her natural habitat, dirty laundry and all. That’s what I signed up for.
8. Marriage is a dance
When dancing with a partner, you have to get into the swing of things. The same thing happens in marriage. It takes time to create a balance, and not step on each other’s toes. Be patient! It’s so important to find a rhythm with your partner so you’re effortlessly gliding across that dance floor, or through daily life. You learn what the other person wants and needs without voicing it. No, it’s not like you develop a superhuman ability to communicate telepathically, quite the contrary. There will probably be times of tension, where you disagree about something. There will probably be moments of conflict where you diverge in your opinions (more on this next). Like anything, tackling the hard stuff allows you to overcome these hurdles as a couple, no matter how minor. Learning what your partner needs makes life so much easier. Time for a real example from the chronicles of my life…
9. Time apart is essential too
Have you guys seen “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts? There’s a scene where her best friend’s husband remarks she used to look like her ex-husband but now she looks like her new boyfriend, played by James Franco – that moment always resonated with me. I love being “we” but I love being “me” too. My individuality is what attracted my husband to me (and vice versa) and I’ve learned to work hard at never losing that. For me it’s been about having girls’ trips, working on my passions (like this blog), and having regular “me” time reading books. It’s a win-win because after we do things apart, he’s the first person I want to tell everything to.
10. Be their biggest fan
As humans we’re constantly evolving, growing and learning so it’s part of life that we’ll go through phases or lifestyle changes. Maybe one day they decide to learn how to play piano, or they want to go back to school, or maybe for the first time ever start going to the gym! I’ve learned that if we can afford it and it’s good for his soul and our marriage, then I’ve got to be there rooting him on and maybe even buy one of those “#1” foam fingers (I kid, but not really) because I’ve got to be his biggest fan. I need to be his greatest support, no one else.
My marriage isn’t perfect and I don’t believe I have the perfect man – though I think he’s pretty perfect for me – but thankfully we both continue to work at it every day – okay 95% of the time – and sometimes I think that’s the biggest lesson of them all.
“You fall in love with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time”