January 21, 2016

10 Things I’ve Learned During My 3 Short Years of Marriage

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I have only been married for 3 1/2 short years, so I do not want to sound like I am some kind of marriage expert! But, obviously my husband and I have done one or two things right because we are still together, we haven’t killed each other, and I think we have a pretty great marriage! We got married quickly and had a baby quickly, which can sometimes make for a rough start, but I know that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to and I am with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. So, here are a few tips that I think have helped make our marriage great:

1) Communicate. I think this is the most important concept of marriage. Sometimes it can be hard to make yourself vulnerable and say exactly how you are feeling, but it is so important to make sure that all of your needs are met, and that you are meeting your spouse’s needs. Don’t brush things off to the side, don’t blame yourself, and don’t assume your spouse knows how you are feeling. Doing those things will cause resentment; and even if you think that it doesn’t matter if your needs aren’t met, it does. Because one day you will boil over. By always communicating with your spouse about every aspect of your marriage, you will show each other that you care and want each other to be happy. If you don’t ever argue, unfortunately something’s wrong. Because you can’t share a life with an imperfect person without having disagreements. And that’s okay! Because once you talk about how your feeling, it gives your marriage the opportunity to be humble and compromise and you can therefore love each other even more.

2) Work things out before you go to bed, but give each other time. I know this is something people hear and say all the time, but I am a firm believer in it. I hate getting in arguments. I just don’t like the tension and always having to worry about what the other is thinking. Most of the time I want to talk things over right when they are happening so that they can be resolved, but my husband has taught me that this may not always be best. Sometimes when arguments are heated, we can’t think straight and we no longer have the spirit with us that we need to make good decisions. This is when we say things that we don’t mean. But, if we give each other space and alone time to think, we both can calm down and come to our senses. This is when we can see from the others perspective and realize why they are feeling the way they are feeling.

However, I also believe that things should be talked over before the end of the day. As I stated earlier, communication is key. Conflicts need to be resolved. When they aren’t, that is when our sorrows build up and cause resentment. Every little thing the other person does will bother you, and I believe that this is how people come to think that they don’t “love” their spouse anymore, because simple conflicts never got resolved and built upon other simple things into a person they no longer like. If we never deal with our conflicts, they can never be fixed.

3) Respect each others differences. Mike and I are COMPLETELY opposite in every way, except in the ways that matter. We like different music and TV shows. I am very organized and clean, Mike… not so much! Mike is street smart; I am book smart. I am reserved and like to be home; Mike is adventurous and risk-taking. I am a realist and Mike is an idealist. I think this is what makes us so great together. We compliment each others weaknesses and strengths. However, there are times when we forget each others differences and this is when arguments occur. Sometimes, I get frustrated with Mike when it is the weekend and he wants to get out of the house. I think, “Why in the world does he want to get out?! He has been at work all week while I have been home all day with the kids. And I am perfectly fine being home!” But then, I need to remind myself that this is his personality and he needs to fulfill his need to be adventurous. As I mentioned before I am a reserved person. Mike gets frustrated with me when I don’t want to take business ventures or make changes, but we usually can compromise so that we both are comfortable with a decision.

While our personalities differ, our values are the same. This is so important! I can’t imagine trying to raise a family with certain values with a husband who didn’t agree with them. Our goals for our family and each other are the same. Our discipline for our children is the same.

4) Be the first to say you are sorry.  I am totally being a hypocrite in this one because my husband is ALWAYS the first to say sorry. But, this is something that I admire in him so much. It is something I want to share because I have seen its power. As I mentioned before, after we get in an argument we usually give each other time to think. I am so stubborn and I have a hard time being the first to say sorry. But, as soon as Mike tells me sorry (even when I am the one who should be sorry) I burst into tears and melt right into his arms! Being humble allows us to make changes and see the good in others.

5) Learn each others way of expressing love. As I mentioned above, Mike and I are very different. We are even different in the way that we express love. It is so important to learn what makes your spouse feel loved. I am a physical person; I like to be hugged, kissed, etc. throughout the day. Mike is not a physical person. He likes his space! However, he knows how important this is to me so he has learned to show me affection throughout the day. Mike likes to feel appreciated. He likes when I laugh at him, tell him how grateful I am for him, and tell him he is a hard worker. Obviously I like to hear things like this too and need other means of love expressed, but learning your spouse’s main expression of love will help them feel loved and help you more easily show your love in a way that they understand.

6) Be happy and laugh together. Were you one of those people that made a list of all of the qualities that you wanted in your future spouse? I was. On my list I put things like smart, tall, handsome, hard worker, good sense of humor, etc. However, there were qualities that I didn’t even realize I wanted. For example, Mike is very lighthearted. He has a GREAT sense of humor. He makes me laugh on a regular basis, and at least one night a week we laugh until we cry. I absolutely LOVE this about him. This was a quality I needed in my spouse that I didn’t know I needed. I am somewhat serious and reserved. If I would have married someone like myself, we would bore each other to death! I needed someone to remind me that life is meant to be enjoyed; otherwise, I would probably obsess about things that really don’t need to be a big deal.  We play together and tease each other on a daily basis and it helps keep our love alive.

7) Be appreciative. Sometimes I get jealous that Mike gets to “do whatever he wants, whenever he wants,” while I have to stay home, stick to my kids’ schedules, and basically do everything according to their needs. However, I quickly have to remind myself that he is NOT doing what he wants! I am sure if he had a choice, he would happily be home with us instead of working! He is working for ALL OF US. He provides for our family and allows me to be able to stay home with my kids all day! I am so grateful for that.

It is important to be appreciative of the big things as well as the little things. Mike is literally the best dad on the planet (in my opinion ;)). When he gets home from work he doesn’t sit on the couch and watch TV, he plays with our kids (and really PLAYS with them!), he helps me clean up after dinner, and helps to get the kids ready for bed. I have noticed how he lights up when I tell him how grateful I am for all of these things that mean so much to me and it makes him want to do it more.

8) Go on dates. This is a hard one for us, but it is so beneficial and I know we need to do it more. I love being able to get dressed up and go to dinner with Mike and actually be able to have a conversation instead of trying to force our toddler to eat and keep our wiggly baby entertained all at the same time. We like to do family activities, and sometimes we do have to take our kids on our “dates,” and that’s okay. But we also try to go out on our own whenever possible. This gives you the chance to feel like you are dating again and remember the things you love about your spouse.

9) Keep the romance alive regularly. Intimacy is vital to a happy marriage. It just is. There are obviously a lot of things that can be talked about under this category, but I think the most important is just to communicate. Be comfortable talking with your spouse to let them know how you are feeling and tell them if your needs are not met. And I am talking about all forms of intimacy. It is important to hug, kiss, flirt, etc. throughout the day. Sometimes it is hard to have a desire to be intimate when you are tired, have spit up in your hair, and only slept for 4 hours the night before, but I have found that it is easier to want to be intimate at night when my needs have been met throughout the day.

10) Remember that marriage isn’t always going to be easy. I have found over the past few years that marriage goes through phases. I always have a love for Mike, and I always care about him; but there are moments when I am head over heels for him, there are moments where we are just kind of coasting, and there are moments where we don’t get along. I have learned to appreciate all of the times, because we have to experience good and bad to really know when things are good. That’s just the way life is!  Plus, we are human. We are going to do stupid things that make each other mad. When times aren’t so great, just remember that things will get better and try to think of the ways you love your spouse, because there is always something to love about them.

Well, that’s what I have learned in my three short years of marriage. I’m sure in 20 years, or even 5 years, I might look back on this and laugh. But for now, this is what I feel is most important in our marriage. Everyone is in a different phase of marriage and life, and that’s what makes it so great. What have you learned in your marriage that you feel is important? I’d love to hear from you!

With Love, Jaisha

 

 

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