Stuff I Learned After Being Married 5 Years

A lot of times many of us fall into the rut of looking at another couple’s relationship and fantasize it to be all peaches and cream with chocolate sprinkles, when in reality that relationship has just as many highs and lows, ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies as yours. Others of us, while in between relationships {…and speaking from experience} see what looks like the happiest couple God ever created and in our loneliness begin to wish we had that kind of a relationship; having no idea of the unfortunate reality of how far apart that couple is growing day by day. Still others of us, married folks nonetheless, look at other married couples and believe with every fiber in our beings that their relationship must be better than ours. Ah, the tangled emotional webs we weave.

Rather than comparing my relationship to the idea of what I think someone else’s relationship is, I learned long ago that the time I spend comparing who I am and what I have to others, is the time that I could be investing in myself and my relationship. Sadly, this not only pertains to my marital relationship, but also my spiritual relationship with God. Time is one of our most valued possessions. In fact, if you ask someone where they’d be happiest spending their time, you’ll learn what this person values most.

When I think about the time I’ve spent learning my husband and myself through this relationship called marriage, I realize that I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in peeling the layers of the onion and really getting to know each other and despite all of our shortcomings still determining to make it work. From my experience over these past five years I feel like I’ve gained wisdom that I would be selfish not to share. Here she goes…5 things I learned about making my relationship work:

CLARIFY: I need to clarify my expectations up front. I’ve learned the most conflicts are born out of a misalignment of expectations. Many a conflict was begun by my failure to express my expectations up front. For example, a few weeks ago, I had expectations of getting a mani-pedi that I had not expressed at the beginning of a long Saturday, therefore I didn’t arrange for Hubs to watch the kids. M lack of communication resulted in me being irritated with having to go another week with rusty, ran over toes and fingernails. Had I stated my expectations up front, Hubs would have been happy to keep the little ones while I took care of business. Simple enough right!?!

ASSUME: Sometimes it IS okay to make assumptions. Although, it’s particularly difficult in the heat of the moment when nostrils are flared and tension is high, I’ve learned to assume the best about that Hubs of mine. It’s so easy to impute motives when you’re upset, but realistically, I know my Hubs doesn’t wake up in the morning intending to make my life miserable. Therefore, I give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he is well-intentioned.

AFFIRMATION: The most important asset we have as a couple is the health of our relationship. This means we need to affirm the priority of our relationship. Sometimes it means that we have to fall on our sword and admit, “Honestly, I don’t know who’s right or wrong. What I do know is that I love you {even when you make me sick} and regardless of the fact that I’m right {it’s always good to inject humor…but make sure you insert a laugh here}, let’s just fix it and move on.” After all, what good does it do to win the battle only to lose the war.

DE-PERSONALIZE: In all honesty, when you square off against one another and make it personal, it gets UGLY! And if you’re not careful, you end up leaving your Hubs with lingering questions and concerns that might not have been there to begin with. This leaves him with seemingly no other option than to react or retaliate. So, instead of trying to launch the most searing verbal attack known to man, move to the other side of the table, bite your tongue and STOP. Stop. Think. Speak. Furthermore, when you think, keep this in mind:
T – is it true?
H – is it helpful?
I – is it inspiring?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
And I think you’ll both be better off.

LISTEN: When we get angry, it’s so easy to rant – to give expression to your emotion. This is pretty much never a good idea. Most obviously because your Hubs will at some point begin tuning you out. Instead, if you want to be understood, you must seek to understand. This means trying to see a situation from the other person’s point-of-view. I remember a conversation very early on in our marriage and, while it didn’t get out of hand, it was certainly a learning point for us. It went something like this….

I was in the kitchen fixing myself a cup bowl of ice cream. I grabbed the obvious utensil for scooping ice cream into a bowl…a big spoon. Jonathan walks into the kitchen, sees me using a spoon to scoop the ice cream and is mortified. Choice words were exchanged and we both left the room a little miffed. Later that night, we talked. He asked me why I didn’t just use the ice cream scooper to scoop the ice cream. I explained to him that growing up in my household, we never had an ice cream scooper. We always used a spoon to scoop ice cream {we also had very few steak knives so we cut all of our meat with a fork…to this day when I do this, I can see the pangs of annoyance wave through his body} so it was the natural choice for me to use a spoon. It didn’t even occur to me to look for the ice cream scooper. Aha! A light bulb went off for him. In that moment he realized, in fact, that I wasn’t being a greedy pig {well…} too lazy to get up and get the ice cream scooper and I realized that WE HAVE AN ICE CREAM SCOOPER! I’m kidding, I realized that sometimes we need to slow down, ask some questions and listen. What a novel idea!

So, kiddos, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. LOL What words of advice or lessons have you learned about marriage, relationships or just life in general, that opened your eyes and enriched your life? We’d love to hear ‘em.

Oh and a minor detail, the Hubs and I have been led to host an intimate bible study cell group for our age group.  We’re going to be discussing some of today’s issues and how they affect us and our future as well as ways to get the best out of life.  So, before you lay your head down tonight say a little prayer for us, that we’ll accomplish what God asks.

 

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20 thoughts on “Stuff I Learned After Being Married 5 Years

  1. very beautiful write up 🙂 quite helpful to me cos i have really been struggling in my marriage and i just realized that its cos i try too hard to make my hubby seem like the bad and mean person.

  2. In my relationship, I learned quickly that you have to be able to accept the other for who they are. one of the worst things you can do to your relationship is trying to change the other person, they have to be willing to change on their own. If not, just learn to compromise, and remember what’s most important. I know there are a lot of unhealthy relationships in the world, but i can say that i am truly blessed to have the relationship I am in now, but our relationship is like this because we work hard as a team to make it a happy healthy relationship. What i love most is that we know how to get over things so quickly , we turn almost everything into a tease later on, which later reminds us how silly we were to begin with.

    I love your story, and I appreciate how open and honest you are 🙂 I also have moments where i pick and choose which days I want to scoop my ice cream with a spoon or an ice creme scooper. 🙂

  3. Being a married woman myself all I can say is I totally agree with you!!!!! My hubby and I met in college and we have been married 2 years. Looking back on our relationship, I think that a big part in the growth of our marriage has been working on our communication with each other. I personally struggled with the whole comparison thing with myself and others not just in my relationship but in my career etc. I had to really just learn to do me and focus myself and my marriage..I’m thankful for everything, and when it comes down to it everyone has their own path!!!

    You always provide such sound advice, and that’s dope!!

  4. This is an excellent post regarding marriage. I believe that being married for 12 years has taught me a lot of things! Hubby and I had a relationship for two years prior to being married and they helped a lot. It allowed me to see him up close and personal; seeing what some of his habits were, his quirks and imperfections, and in turn he saw the same things from me. It has not always been perfect, but it has worked because something I established with my hubby at the very of our relationship is that I’m a talker, a communicator. Even if it may hurt one of us (as the truth usually does) we need to talk about it honestly. This was difficult in the beginning because my hubby is a guy and hes not much of a talker period. However, I can truly say that til’ this day, we talk about it. I have had my feelings hurt on an occasion or two and so has he, but we’ve worked through it. I also believe that two people bring with them their experiences from the past; how we were raised plays a significant role as to what we “believe” our roles should be in a marriage. We base many things on what we saw growing up as children.
    I really enjoyed the story of the ice cream scoop. My story is of the bathroom. Hubby will help me cook (sometimes!), clean and wash clothes. But he despises cleaning the bathroom in our bedroom. We argued over this for years once I realized he would clean everything but the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, he’s cleaned it a few times, but not as often as me. So I just pondered the thought one day and tried to think back to when we were dating and he still lived at home. Then it hit me…that was one of his chores at home that he despised. So…me being me, I asked him about the two being related and asked if that was why he didn’t like cleaning the bathroom. Long story short, my hubby does so much around the house and he helps with the kids and all their extra curricular activities, takes them and picks them up from school and he treats me like a woman should be treated and some! So, we came up with an agreement (which was really my idea). As long as he cleans up after himself after every visit to the restroom, I’ll keep it clean and sanitized. It has worked! As long as the bathroom isn’t filthy, I don’t mind cleaning it. I mean, I clean it about 2-3 times a week anyway. However, I do have four children, one of them being a son. His chores, when he lived here, were the bathroom and the trash. Experiencing what I did with my husband taught me that my son may grow up feeling the same way about the bathroom and trash. So, with my son, I would let him know that I was giving him a break and I would clean the bathroom for him sometimes. I would also do this with older daughter with the dishes when she was living here; matter of fact, her last year at home, I did the dishes almost every day. I do love spoiling my children, but I also wanted them to see hubby and I working together in the home to care for them and our home “together”, I wanted them to see that we all pitch in and help each other. My two older ones are both in college now and my son called me the other night and said he suggested to his roommates that hey eat as a family on Sundays because their schedules are so busy during the week and he asked me to assist with a grocery list. That warmed my heart because I know my son now values how I raised them. There’s more to the story of course, but I could be here all day talking about my experiences. I love being married most days, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!!!

  5. The ice cream scoop story tickled me. I know that sometimes arguments stem from the most random of things.

  6. I learned a long time about those “beautiful perfect” marriages. People who try to put persona like that sap your strength leaving you with bad feelings and not good for your own. I read an article a long time ago that shows like The Brady bunch weren’t too good for reality It said people look at them and say why can’t my marriage be like that. The article said it wasnt real and nobody’s marriage is like that.
    Blessings to you and your husband.

  7. lovely advice, I hope your husband equally practice these wise tips. I love this qoute the most: “if you ask someone where they’d be happiest spending their time, you’ll learn what this person values most.”……..so true and an excellent tip to get to know someone you are seeing before things get serious.

    I laughed about the ice cream story….there is a saying in my culture: never show a man raw meat because he will wonder what happened to it after its cooked (raw meat looks so huge before its cooked and then shrinks afterward). It basically tells about men and their artificial impression about their spouses and eating habit.

  8. Luv it! I have learned to ask myself “what am I really mad about” and to really address that issue and not the socks on the floor or the sip of tea left in the jug in the fridge.

    My husband lived with his parents up until we were married and he is not in the habit of doing housework..i got so ANGRY at having to clean up after two people. So I hired a cleaning woman to come in on a weekly basis and once I showed him exactly how much it was costing ..he quickly got with the program!

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