I like to think that every once-in-awhile, every lady thought up how her marriage would be and “happily-ever-after” always came to mind. However, life isn’t as glamorous and as they say, marriage is a totally different school altogether.
All the lovey-dovey and mushiness you experienced while still in the dating process doesn’t have to end but more often than not, it is toned down a great notch. Not because the love has dwindled on either side but because you went into the marriage with so many expectations that may have been rooted in Disney princess fairy tales.
The reality of life always turns out differently. Hence, as you consider tying that knot, you have to get yourself some real life ground-root understanding so you don’t begin to come to wrong conclusions like, “He doesn’t love me anymore”.
True, the chase doesn’t have to end after the ceremony. True, you both can still act like first-time lovers with each other even though you are 20 years into the marriage. True, you both have to constantly and consistently work on your marriage to make it work and keep the fire burning.
However, to successfully achieve these on your part, you have to understand these few tips shared by Char J. Patterson:
It’s Okay To Change
I know there’s this complete stigma about why you should know yourself before you get married. If you don’t know and love yourself, then how can you love someone else? I get it. But I got married about three months after I turned 30. And while I thought I had myself all figured out, I certainly didn’t. Little did I know I had a lot more changing and growing up to do. I had to come to terms and be okay with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still on my “Cater 2 U,” keeping myself up and staying the same chick he fell in love with when it comes to certain personality traits. But at the same time, I’m growing. I’m going to continue to grow, evolve, and develop for the rest of my life, and I’m good with that.
It’s Not His Job To Complete Me
In no way did I expect my husband to complete me before we got married. I was actually super independent and had to learn how to let him do certain things. But when it came to emotions, I was totally looking for him to be what I needed at all times. That’s not the reality of the situation.
I remember a couple of months after we got married, I would try and fish for some sort of compliment or reassurance that he didn’t even realize I needed. I wasn’t doing this on purpose, but hindsight is 20/20 and now I know that I was looking to him for validation and self-confidence. I felt like since he was my husband, that’s what he signed up for. Yes, he’s definitely supposed to make me feel good about myself. But the foundation of my confidence and self-love certainly shouldn’t be found in him. I had to take time to get even closer to God and realize that’s where my real source of everything I needed was discovered.
I Don’t Always Have To Have It Together
When I was single, I always had in my mind that I would come home and cook every single night. I would make sure our home was always spic and span and smelling like roses and love. Girl, that did not happen. Let me just say that even months after we were married, I was struggling in a major way (I blew up a casserole dish on top of the stove), and still am to this day.
Now, I’m not a slob by any means, but our living space certainly looks lived in, which I actually like because it looks like home. We don’t have to have this picture perfect lifestyle when it’s just us at home. Like, who are we trying to impress? There are times when I’ll clean up after him and pick up his socks or whatever, but I had to learn that it’s not those things that validate me as his wife. It’s okay to have off days and not always be on top of my game.
Speak His Love Language, Not Mine
My husband and I read The 5 Love Languages book before we even got engaged (I would definitely recommend it for anyone in a relationship), so I definitely thought I had this lesson in my back pocket when we got married.
Unfortunately, I was once again sadly mistaken. Looking back, I can’t help but laugh and think “poor thing,” because I would do things for him that I would want him to do for me, and expect him to be leaping with joy about it. And I really thought I was gettin’ it, y’all. In reality, I was speaking my own love language with him, which wasn’t in a way that he could even comprehend what I was trying to say.
I Have To Be Okay If Some Things Don’t Change
A couple of months after we got married, we got into a very intense disagreement. It’s not in either of our personalities to yell, so there weren’t any voices raised, but it was bad. It was over a year ago, but we still point it to as one of the worst times. Once we got over that hurdle, we haven’t had anything like it since. I’m convinced it’s because this argument came with the biggest learning lesson — I have to accept how he’s wired. There are just some things that aren’t going to change about him, just like there are things that won’t change about me.
It’s not enabling certain behaviours by any means, I just had to discover a way to be okay with his flaws and things I didn’t like, and love him anyway. For me, that has been the biggest lesson. While I wish I would have learned it before walking down the aisle, I think experience is the only thing that could have taught me that.
PHOTO CREDIT: BellaNaija