The honeymoon can’t last forever. When things begin to settle the blinders come off. My partner has faults that weren’t there before. Yeah they were; I just didn’t see them. I had no idea that marriage could be so stifling; can’t take off when I feel like it. And don’t even get me started with kids. That’s another subject.
This is what I have learned from mistakes and maturity:
Communication: This is number one, no talkie, no relationship. Most men are not talkers. Most women are too emotional, tend to overact. The combination can cause an explosion when there’s a problem. And nothing is solved.
Rather than rant and accuse, I learned to appeal. “Hon, clothes on the floor really bother me. Will you do me favor and put them in the hamper?” This way it’s about me.
Compromise: There has to be a lot of give and take. Two people live in a home and it takes two to take care of it. I will vacuum and dust if you clean bathrooms. Next time we can switch.
If one works and one does not, the homemaker does more. Still, there are things the working person should do to make it fair.
Trust: A marriage can end if trust is broken. Still, it can be saved if the desire to go on is there. My husband and I never, not once, brought up the past. (I hate to say that women tend to be the worst in this area). Any mistakes either of us made were left behind.
Bringing up past mistakes keeps them in the present, and pushes them into the future. There is no way to move on.
Space: I have always believed that marriage does not deny me the right to be an individual, to my life, my own space. There are just boundaries that I can’t cross and we all know what they are.
Every once in a while my David would say, “I’m going for a ride, hon.” I would call back, “Okay, see you later.” Never in our marriage did I call after my husband. He had the right not to be stifled.
Decisions: Oooh, this is a big one, especially when you want to buy a home. My husband and I looked … and looked, until we found one that suited us both. David usually gave me my way. If we couldn’t agree on something I would step back and he decided.
David had the stronger personality, in the end he took over. This is true in most marriages. Also, and this is critical, if one of us was wrong the other never mentioned the mistake.
Criticize: It is human nature to observe one another faults. Only it isn’t necessary to harp on those shortcomings. Once it starts, it’s hard to stop. Worst of all, the flaws become all we see.
To nit-pick can easily become a habit, which leads to arguments, which leads to an atmosphere of constant tension … for everyone.
Finances: There are three things in play here. 1(only one person handles the finances; if not there will be serious problems; 2) have a system; I pay everything online, so David left all receipts next to the computer; 3) decide together when buying items like a TV and how you want to pay for it.
Once the decision is made, stick to it. You can’t go back and forth on money.
Support: There are not words strong enough to say how important it is to stand by your partner (even if he/she is wrong). My husband had his heart set on a project once; I felt it was too early, wanted him to wait.
There was no waiting; we took out a second mortgage. David’s plans didn’t work out, yet I never said a word. I backed him totally, no matter the outcome.
Romance: Of all the lessons I have learned over the years, this is the most important. It is also the most surprising. I think most of us can reach a point where we question our feelings. When this happened to me I was stunned. What could I do?
I put on my rose colored glasses; that’s what. I went back to the days when I had stars in my eyes; the days when we were dating and everything about my husband was wonderful.
I completely focused on all the good in my man. The outcome was such a shock. We fell more deeply in love than when we married. God blessed us with a reward we never expected.
This isn’t to say that everything was perfect, that is not possible. Yet the ups and downs were quick and simple. For us, nothing was more important in life than being together…
In a peaceful, contented marriage.
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full