When I meet someone new either while I’m working or through church or social events, I always get surprised look that I’m married with a 4 year old child. It’s pretty much to be expected at this point because I’m “so young” and if it’s someone my age, they always ask how we make it work and live in this “era” married. I stop and think because the words that come out of your mouth will either terrify them to the point where they no longer have the want to get married or will make them immediately want to. So, I decided to write a little bit on marriage, because it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 58; marriage is marriage, it doesn’t discriminate because it’s for two people who fall helplessly in love.
I met my husband in college and fell head over heels in love with him when I was 18. I knew he was THE ONE at that age and I haven’t regretted a moment since. Let me start off by saying that marriage is in NO way, shape or form, 100% beautiful, that is fairy tale stuff and I am not about making it “look” blissful. There will be days where you fight, can’t stand to argue and you take your happy self to another room to just cool down; it happens, its inevitable. The longer you live together, you start noticing things that just makes you think “I can’t believe I didn’t know/see this before” and sometimes, your other half can be plain right “gross”; welcome to marriage ladies and gentlemen. Marriage changes you, not in ways that makes you want to think “who am I?” but in ways that makes you think “why did I ever do this differently?”. Before I met my husband I was a clean freak and had to be in complete control of things. I would clean my husband’s dorm room in college without even asking because I couldn’t stand the site of a mess… Now, I wait to do dishes the “next day”, which ends up being two days later because my son needs a bath and I need to do my workout routine or it’ll never get done. Our laundry now mounds up for a week or two before we get to it and our spare bedroom has become our “folding area” (it doesn’t get folded, let’s be honest). See what I’m saying? It changes things. The lid on the toothpaste doesn’t get put on until we go to bed, I’m constantly cleaning “urine” off the toilet and from time to time, I fall in the toilet because one of my guys forgets to put the toilet seat down. I’ve learned to just “let go” and understand that life isn’t all about being a clean/control freak, sometimes it’s okay to put some things off for the next day and just enjoy the little things in life. My husband has taught me to think straight in an argument before resorting to “I’m leaving” because in a marriage that little sentence can make wounds that don’t heal. That lesson has carried over into friendships and outside arguments, where I think before I strike. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned being married to my husband and the advice I have to give:
- When our friends get married, my number one advice to them is just to end and begin each day with “I love you”; no matter what, before you close your eyes at night, roll over and throw a kiss their way with an “I love you babe, goodnight”. When you wake up and get ready to walk out of that door, do the same “I love you, have a good day” regardless if you’re in an argument or fight. This has been the absolute best thing for my husband and I, it makes each night end on a good note, and begins each day with a blessing. You’d be amazed at how much you start to let go of all the negative energy within you.
- When you’re in a fight and it starts to get heated, just stop, excuse yourself from the room and explain that you need to cool down, go to another room and cry it out or just breathe and then go back to your spouse and calmly talk it out. It may seem dramatic and the exit may go that way, but in the end “talking it out” with a cool head is the best way to go, you’ll resolve issues better.
- Plan for at least twice a month (or once a month if you can’t afford twice) to have a date night for just the two of you; go out to dinner and a movie, go-cart racing and a food truck meal, a trampoline place with some pizza or just a dinner in and some nice wine/beer, regardless of what kind of date, just go. You’ll need that one night to yourselves and it’ll bring you back to being close after those few weeks at work or if you stay home, getting out of the house and being with your spouse. We try to do a date night once a month and sometimes it’s hard because of plans and especially when baseball season hits our house but if you just try to do a little something, it’ll go a long way.
- Find your “love language” and have your spouse figure out theirs. You can either do an online test or read “The Five Love Languages” Book by Gary Chapman. My “love language” is ‘Acts of Service’ while my husband is ‘Words of Affirmation’. So he will do things around the house for me completely out of the blue, like dishes or vacuuming and helping with laundry and I’ll let him know how much I love him and appreciate everything he does for our family. Every person is different on how they give and receive love and it’s so important to know how you and your spouse view love.
- Don’t put the other down during an argument or even when you’re trying to voice your opinion. Not only does it show that you aren’t in control of your words but it harms your spouse more than you know. Don’t let “I hate you” or “you’re so dumb” be the words that slip out while you’re voicing your thoughts. That’s also verbal abuse, it may not seem like it because it “only happens every blue moon” but calling someone a name regardless of who it is, is verbal abuse and can stain your relationship with that person. My husband has NEVER called me ANY type of name nor has a thrown a bad word at me and vice versa. Like I stated previously, if you feel that that type of anger is coming out, remove yourself and cool down.
- Before all of the above, find your home church that you both can call your “home”. People don’t believe me but having God as your core and foundation is ultimately the most important in any marriage. The closer you, as an individual, become to God, the closer your marriage will be. I so enjoy waking up Sunday mornings, making my guys breakfast or waking up a little early to grab coffee and a donut and then heading to church. I love being able to speak about that days sermon and how it applies to our life and the best part is applying it to our life. Last night, my husband and I found ourselves at a cross path, and we used this past Sunday’s sermon to help us find the right path to take in that situation and it was the best because we didn’t argue, we followed our guideline and we found the best solution.
- Marriage (actually any relationship) is NOT 50/50, it is 100/100. You can’t put forth half the effort and expect your spouse to put forth the rest of the way, that 50/50 method is BS. Period, point blank. If you do not put 100% into your relationship then why would you expect your partner to? Nope, you both give 100% of yourselves to the relationship. The ONLY thing you should meet halfway on is when you are deciding what is best for your family or what road to take, then it’s a give or take kind of deal but in a marriage when you’re giving yourself to someone for the rest of your life, you are giving your whole heart, not just half. Dating is the same way, if you aren’t dating to get married, then what are you doing? Your wasting your time is what that is. You date to see if that person is compatible for you or not. So give that your all or they will never know all of you, only the half your giving.
- Be the relief of their stress, don’t add to it. If they come home stressed out, be the back rub that they need, the shoulder they can depend on and the words they need to unwind. Don’t bring home work, but sometimes it happens and your spouse needs to be there to listen to the day that has gone wrong. My husband this past month has been my saving grace (aside from God), he’s given me foot rubs and has ran a hot shower for me while work has been crazy busy. He doesn’t feed my stress, he relieves it and God only knows how much that means to me.
- Last but definitely not least, is find something that you both enjoy doing, and commit to doing it every once in awhile. Whether it’s going golfing, fishing, taking weekend trips to different areas of your state and exploring or watching a sporting event. I say this to not only do together, but go out with friends and do it without your other half. For my husband, that’s golfing or going fishing in Galveston. I let him venture of with his brother or friends, while I have some girl time and drink some wine or go shopping, just enjoying “my” time without my other half. You need that small distance every now and then, to not only miss your spouse but also to remember who YOU are without them. If you don’t enjoy that then enjoy it together, commit to doing what you love one day and what the other loves another day.
While every relationship is different, this is what works for my husband and I. This has been the best thing that has worked for us since getting married and it was a long haul realizing what works for us and what doesn’t. We are in NO way perfect, and I am not saying that we always get along because 5% of the time, we are butting heads and trying to find common ground. But the longer we’re married the more we’re getting the hang of things and being young definitely has it’s trials. We watch our friends go out and have fun being single and watch them go through relationships and end up being the shoulder to cry on when it goes astray. So to say that finding my husband at 18 is a blessing, is beyond that, it’s amazing. I so enjoy our time together and my love grows more for that man each and every single day. We are definitely ‘old souls’ and would prefer being in bed by 9 and watching our favorite shows together during the week than going out and being in bed by 11. Marriage is so beautiful but its not perfect, so don’t expect it but it is amazing in ways I can’t even describe. I can watch my husband eating and it look so gross but I think its a great site to see. That kind of thing. If you’re married, then you understand. If you’re not, then get ready, your heart will be stolen for the rest of your life and in that moment, you’ll know what I mean.