Marriage — Before and After

I am dedicating today’s post to discussing lessons I’ve learned about marriage. More specifically, I would like to talk about the “myths of marriage” as a single person – the things people always say about marriage and the things I learned about marriage before I was married – and how my perception has changed or stayed the same since being married.

Things I learned about marriage before:

#1: Marriage is hard work. Communication is something you have to be constantly striving for. Never let the sun go down on your anger and all that…..

#2: This ties back with the previous one, a successful marriage is all about being selfLESS instead of selfISH. Your focus must be constantly on the other person’s needs instead of your own. Basically living at home, every single day, the way Jesus taught us to live.

#3: Respect is even more important to a man than love. Showing him that you trust him and not ever doing anything to undermine him builds him up the same way as when he finds ways to show and tell you that he loves you.

#4: A successful marriage is all about sacrifice. I’ve seen this one played out in my parents’ marriage over and over and it took me a long time before I stopped taking that for granted and realized how much they truly did sacrifice for each other (and for me!).

#5: Marriages go through their ups and downs. Everybody has good days and bad days (bad days typically being described as days where you end up yelling at each other and doing or saying things that you later regret). On this one I’m talking about choices, not things like sickness or money troubles. 

My thoughts on marriage now:

#1: Marriage absolutely does take work. Communication is hard, and yes sometimes we do get angry. The key is properly handling that anger, choosing to communicate instead of bottling it up (which is my tendency) or exploding first. So far I’ve found that the hardest part of marriage is in the communication, and in lesson number 2….

#2: Selflessness is probably the hardest part of marriage. It’s arguably the hardest part of anything you will ever do in life. But it’s also the part that can make a marriage the most successful that it can be. Keeping your focus on God first and your spouse second, and always putting yourself last is HARD, but it’s the way God has called us to live, and it is the most rewarding way to live. (P.S. Obviously this is something I’m continually working on. Just because I’m learning this lesson in my head does not mean I’m anywhere close to where I should be on applying it…..I have a feeling this is a lifelong lesson for the heart…..)

#3: Yes, respect is absolutely important. I constantly catch myself teasing or saying things that I realize later were probably not the most uplifting to his self-esteem. HOWEVER, I would like to balance this lesson with another I’ve learned since being married….and that’s that although respect is important and I can see a difference the harder I try to make sure I’m being completely respectful to him, men appreciate love as well. Any little gesture I can do to show him I love him is greatly appreciated too!!

#4: This lesson in sacrifice goes along with lesson number 2. I don’t have this one down either. But it’s something to constantly be working towards! Always remembering to put him first…

#5: This is one that we haven’t really experienced yet (at least not the way most people tend to describe).  My husband and I try really hard (and always have) to keep communication open and honest. We don’t raise our voices in anger. We don’t call each other names. These are things we have made a commitment to in order to make sure that our interactions are positive and work towards a stronger relationship, never a weaker one. While I’m sure we will have the ups and downs that all couples experience, I can say with a fair amount of certainty we will never be one of those couples on reality TV yelling at and beating on each other!

Now it’s your turn! What do you think? Do you have any experiences with any of these lessons in your relationships? What are some lessons you’ve learned in your marriage? Feel free to share in the comments section below, I would love to hear!

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