This is a post that I've wanted to write for quite some time, but I've had to sit and think long and hard about what I wanted to say because, quite frankly, marriage is the most important part of my life. This isn't to say I don't hold family or my own dreams in high regard, but marriage means that for the rest of my life, someone else will be affected by every decision I make. And that's a pretty big deal. Also, I don't claim to be an expert, I only know that I feel completely lucky and completely and wholeheartedly happy in my own marriage.
If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I wasn't expecting to get married. It wasn't something that truthfully I ever really thought about. Also, to be quite honest, I never thought I'd really meet anyone that could fit into my already enjoyable life and bring anymore happiness into it. I was completely fine dating people seriously, even sharing a life with them, but marriage was kind of an afterthought. And then I went and got married. And to be quite sappy, it was honestly the best decision of my life. If you think that your life won't change once you get married, because you've already been living with the person, etc, etc, you are so wrong. It becomes insanely, intensely better. The connection I feel to my husband is seriously ridiculously deep. Anyway, I digress. The point is, every day I learn more and more about what it takes to make my own marriage better and I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned.
1. Communication is key : This seems pretty straight forward, but seriously, communication about everything is key. There are thoughts that go through my husbands mind that I seriously could not dream up in my wildest dreams. Let me give you an example : A little while ago we had a discussion about chores in our house. Namely, I felt like I was doing ALL of them. My husband said that although it sounded stupid, he needed a chore chart. He needed to know what needed to be done and what his responsibilities would be every week. This sounded so strange to me, but we listed out all of our chores, whether or not they had to be done daily/weekly, and divided them equally. Since then, it's been great. Essentially what could have been a lot of resentment on my part and serious confusion on his part turned into something easily solved by having a simple discussion. COMMUNICATE ABOUT EVERYTHING. Along those same lines, be open to what your spouse is saying. When my husband tells me something I do that upsets him, my first reaction of course is to be defensive. However, when you can step back and look at it from another perspective, most of the time you didn't even realize you were doing something that bothered them.
2. Compromise : Another big one. This obviously doesn't mean compromising your core moral stances or values to be with someone, but it does mean that when you join two lives together, obviously compromise has to happen. If you stop to think about it, you are asking a lot out of marriage. You are taking two completely separate people with different thoughts and ideas, and expecting them to join their lives. Not really that simple. This is where compromise comes in. My husband likes everything streamlined and clean, while I love vintage and shabby chic. When we started decorating our place together, we both had to compromise. We kept the furniture classic and I bought little vintage touches to add in that still matched the general feel of what my husband liked. It is constant compromise but if you are both willing to give and take a little, then it becomes a life you create together and that is something amazing!
3. Know what's important before you take the plunge : I feel like this is a big one for people getting married young. I've known my entire life I didn't want kids. If my husband had wanted kids, that obviously wouldn't have worked out for us. You change so much in your 20's, my advice would just be to sit down and really think about what you want out of life, no matter what age, and talk about it with your partner to ensure you're on the same wavelength. Of course this isn't fail proof, we change throughout our entire lives and nothing guarantees you'll change in the same ways, but our core values usually remain the same. Talk about children, finances, religion, politics and other issues that are a huge part of your life. These are the things that can make or break a marriage. And these are the things you shouldn't compromise to be with someone!
4. Focus on the positive : I can't tell you how many friends I have that complain about their spouses. Seriously, it's endless. If you constantly focus on what your spouse doesn't do, you miss the things that they do for you. I'm not saying that I haven't done this, none of us are perfect, but if you do feel like venting, find a friend you have in common, that is there to support you and love you both no matter what. They can see things from a third party perspective, and often times they can help you see things from a different perspective that you didn't think about. We all have bad days, we all have quirks and we all have bad habits, but if you focused on the positive things your spouse brings to the relationship, you'll be more apt to notice and appreciate those things.
Obviously this is a subject I could go on and on and on about, but nobody likes a know-it-all haha. This post isn't to say that marriage is for everybody, or that every marriage is one that should/can last. These are just things I've found that have helped me in my own marriage, and allowed me to appreciate the life I've built with another person.
If you have any good tips you've learned from your marriage or relationship, comment them below! I love to hear what other people have to share about their own marriages.