Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A topic near and dear to my heart... Marriage

My husband and I have been married for nearly 8 months. Thus I am a complete expert on the subject of marriage... not really. However, in my little experience this is what I have learned:

The biggest struggle that I have faced as a new wife is learning how to ignore those who are waiting to see us fail, and resist the pressure to be the perfect couple. Recently a dear friend of mine said something that I think sums up what I am trying to say very nicely, "When you get married you find out who your true friends are." I think we can agree this is true for any major change in life. You can tell when someone's happiness for you is genuine or fake. Thinking maybe I was the only one who felt this way I started listening to what people were saying about other couples getting married (I even listened to the words coming from my own mouth). I listened to other brides vent their frustrations of friends not sticking by their decision. That is when I realized that this truly is a common theme for us newlyweds (or soon to be). For some reason, as human beings, we have decided that we have a right to judge other peoples actions and motives.

The truth is, I guess I am writing this because I don't want to be the perfect couple and I am tired of feeling pressured. I have recently discovered that we newlyweds try to compare ourselves to each other... but why? There really is no newly married couple that I look up to, and I don't think any others look up to us. Not because I don't believe that any of us do or do not have a wonderful marriage, but because as newlyweds we have little to no experience (let me just say that I have many newly married friends that I love and respect and I enjoy sharing our experiences and learning from each other). The marriages that I look up to are the ones who have been married for 10, 15, 20 years, and still have a deep appreciation for each other. The ones who truly know what "for better or worse" means. These are the ones that astound me. I cannot compete with that, and I don't want to. We have so many years left to grow and understand.

For a few months I fought to keep the "spark" in our marriage, because I thought then we would become like those older married couples. Then I realized, we cannot recreate the feelings we had while we were dating, but that doesn't mean there are no "sparks". Most of the time these "sparks" don't show up as overwhelming feelings at all, but rather as things I have come to appreciate. I have learned that going out on dates isn't the highlight of my time with my husband. The things that I appreciate the most are much more simple than that, like the fact that he often makes me breakfast in the morning even though I have the day off and he doesn't. That he doesn't care if the house is messy for a week or two even though I have had plenty of time to clean it, and then that he helps me clean it even though he works all the time. That I can say anything I am thinking and he never thinks I am stupid. When we get in a fight he is always ready to apologize much sooner than I am ready to forgive (or when he isn't even the one that did anything wrong), and he always, without question, forgives me. These are the types of things that make me think, "I could not have asked for anyone better."

Before deciding to get married I thought that if its the right person then everyone in my life would be supportive. Then I got engaged... that is when I found out you can't win 'em all. I realized that ultimately the only person who knows for sure you are making the right decision is yourself. There will be many people giving you their own opinions about how you should find the right person, how long you should date before you get engaged, how long you should be engaged for, what you should do on your wedding day, how to be the perfect wife or husband, the list goes on... and on. The fact of the matter is, you will only be happy if you make decisions based on your own convictions. And isn't the point of marriage not to be the happiest you have ever been, but to make a life long commitment to someone?

I love my husband with all that I have and not a single day do I regret my decision to marry him. I am thankful every day that he is in my life, teaching me how to be less selfish and more caring. However, I never want to claim that my marriage is perfect, or even that it is better than any other. To all of my friends I have talked to about this, thank you for allowing me to be sincere and for being sincere in return. And to the couples I look up to, thank you for setting a wonderful example and, most of all, being truthful about your struggles and hardships. I truly value your wise words.

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