Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marriage Advice from a Novice

Two of my bloggy friends posted blogs today about marriage advice. First, let me say, I like theme blog topics because I love seeing others post their very personal (some times very different) thoughts on the same topics.

After you read Rikki's blog and Nikki's blog, you will see that mine is set up very differently. Not because I want to be different, but because I've learned my lessons in very different ways. So here's what not to do:

First, do not just expect your spouse to know what you are thinking. I am guilty of this marriage sin, but I truly have tried so hard to either tell him what's bothering me or what I need him to do, or just keep it to myself and deal with it on my own. Not like, secret keeping, but if it bugs me that he didn't do something I asked him to do, I just walk away and decide it's not important. He'll either remember or he won't and if he doesn't, I'll politely ask him to do it. (I will admit here, that I do lose my patience with him when he won't take the trash out or leave a bag in it, but its not so much that I get angry and we fight...anymore.) This is especially important when it comes to having a new baby. I know it's really hard, but people do not know what you need or don't need, especially the new dad who is freaking out at this monumental change more than he is letting on. If you need to sleep, tell him. If he's a truly loving and caring husband/father, he will let you, if that means calling your mom to come babysit so you can both nap, or just taking care of the baby alone. So, quick review, No one can read your mind, not even your spouse. Tell them how you feel, what you need, and what you want. Otherwise, no complaining when your expectations aren't met.

Which brings me to marriage no-no number two. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your spouse. No one is a perfect wife. No one has their house immaculately clean every day, with the kids perfect and waiting patiently in their rooms when dad gets home from work. No one, not every day. Not that any of those things are bad. If you have the time, energy and desire to run your household that way, by all means. But just because some live that way, does not mean that everyone should. Relationship roles and expectations need to be known before you actually get married. That's important. If you're husband expects you to have a meal cooke before he's home, and you get off work after him, that's really not going to work.

Next: Always expect these expectations to change. If your life situations, jobs, kids, etc change, the things you expect of your spouse, and they you, also must change. When I was in college and working, it was expected that I would take care of the house. I knew this, and I was always on top of it. Once I started working full time, we started sharing duties. When I was pregnant, things shifted dramatically and I was tired and nauseous (and still working full time) so Chance took over a lot of the duties of the house. When I stayed at home after Archer was born I took care of the entire house, the kid, and my husband. I struggled. A lot. We didn't have set expectations of each other (and I expected him to read my mind) so we fought a lot.

Wanna know what causes most fights? A lack of communication, which is the next marriage sin. If you aren't communicating, in any way, you aren't being fair to each other. Nikki said in her blog that she and her husband wrote letters and emails to each other, which I love. Instead of saying they didn't like to talk it out so they avoided talking about issues, they use a format that works for them. Chance and I usually text in fights. I know that sounds dumb, but not being face to face cuts down on so much of the emotion and intensity of the situation. But we also have moments where we sit down and just talk everything out. You have to talk, and you have to talk about stupid not important things that don't even matter and also the serious things that keep your relationship going.

And last but not least, like each other. And show it. I tease Chance because I'll say, I love you so much, I just don't like you very much. ( A BIG lie ) But liking each other, I mean doing things that they enjoy, showing them that you enjoy spending time with them, no matter how. Know what your spouse likes to do, and share in that with them. Be nice to them, be respectful of them, and genuinely like each other.

We've been married for five years, and dated five years before that. I'm not an expert, marriage is a daily lesson of many disciplines. Every day you learn new patience, new love, new friendship, new anger and frustration. Marriage is not always sunshine and roses. It's not always perfect, in fact, it's never perfect. But it should always be something you invest your all in.

Ten Years Ago

Five Years Ago

This Year

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Nikki said...

Love the different perspective!!! You nailed it girl! I love the part about changing your expectations. It's amazing how many times Aaron and I have already done that just in the short time we've been together. We've done complete role reversals a few times :) I adore your pictures, you are both gorgeous and I can see the love!

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