So, you’ve been in a long-term relationship and you recently got engaged. Congratulations! Maybe you’re single and you’re looking for love, or if you’re trying to figure out if this guy is “the one” I’m speaking to your future self. Or, maybe you’ve been married for a few years, or let’s face it… Many years. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, OK, this woman has no idea what she’s talking about, she’s not even MARRIED YET! What could she possibly tell ME that I don’t already know after being married for X years?!”
Well, yeah, OK, you’re technically correct. I’m not married… yet. I’ll be a married woman in 23 days. And I’m going to clear one thing up before I continue my rant. I’m not married yet and I’ve never been married. In fact, I’m also 23, which I think is considered young to be getting married? I’m not sure what society calls it these days. I could care less. BUT, I will tell you – as young as I am, I know WHY I’m getting married and I know what I don’t want brewing within the walls of my marriage.
I’m getting married in 23 days… But, I don’t want to be married.
I want to date the love of my life, for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be thrown in the category of “that old married couple.” You know, the ones claiming they can’t go out and have a fun-filled night with their friends – because they’re married now. The individuals ripping each other’s heads off at a social event about something that happened last month. The ones constantly complaining about everything their husband does wrong, instead of focusing on what he does right. I don’t want to come home after a long day to fight about the dishes in the sink with food still caked on them… or the heaping piles of dirty laundry. I know this will occur some days, but it doesn’t need to be the main fight or discussion, day after day. Some days are busier than others, complete those tasks another day. It’s not the end of the world. (Still learning this one, but we all have our flaws, right?) 🙂
I’m not saying you can’t stay in on the weekends, I’m also not saying you should go out every night. What it really boils down to is: balance. I will preach about balance until the day I die. Similar to living a healthy lifestyle. I’m going to eat my salads, chicken, and veggies, I’ll try my best to get my walk/run in every day – but, when Bryce is down for wing night at Quaker, you better bet your buns I’ll have a smile on my face and be ready to eat my heart out.
So, my message to you, my dear… Don’t let the spark of your once exciting, young relationship eventually fade into an uncommunicative, unhappy marriage. There’s this negative stigma around getting married when you’re young, or in general. Don’t involve yourself in that negative stigma, especially before you’re even married! I’ve heard various comments on marriage, a common one is, “Well, everyone is getting married and having babies. It’s a trend.” OK, maybe for some, but not for me. And believe me when I say, I’m too stubborn to follow the “trend” of marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there will be arguments, battles, and times of hardships. I know we won’t always be on the same page. This happens in relationships too, not only when you become a married couple. But, this also doesn’t mean our love or happiness for one another should fade into thin air. I’ve had many, MANY people make the statement, “Be ready. Marriage is hard. Like, really hard.” So let me ask you, what is the definition of “hard”? Do we bring these hardships on ourselves because we’ve been repetitively told marriage is supposed to be hard? It’s just something that… happens. Is this the norm with marriage?
My answer to you: it doesn’t have to be hard, if you don’t allow it to. Don’t allow yourself to get so upset about those unwashed dishes. Don’t let yourself focus on all the things your husband does wrong. When you compliment your husband, he’ll be more likely to WANT to wash the dishes. He’ll actually be happy to assist you in all of the unfinished household chores and watch the kids so you can have your “me” time. If he sees no appreciation on your end, it’s pretty likely he’ll look past all of the things your secretly upset about. Nobody is perfect. If you dwell on your spouse’s imperfections, you’ll never be happy.
I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear, but it needs to be said. You aren’t always right. As women, we have this strong tendency to feel like we have to be right – all. the. time. We’re not. He’s not perfect, but neither are you. This marriage is a two-way street. It’s called a relationship. It takes two. So, drop your guard. Listen to him, he’ll listen to you. Communicate with him instead of automatically accusing him. Don’t get pissed off immediately. Marriage is ALL about communication and if that’s something you’re lacking, learn to communicate better. No, it won’t happen overnight, but baby steps are key. We’ve been taught at a very young age that as long as you take the small step, every day, the situation will improve, you’ll reach your goals, etc. These lessons apply to marriage and various relationships in your life, as well.
And to my hubby-to-be, in 23 days, I want to continue dating you. Yes, my last name will forever be changed. Yes, we’ll sign legal documents to unite in a lasting relationship with one another. Yes, our debt will combine (Yikes, scary!). But, no, we don’t have to let our marriage evolve into a dull and uneventful relationship. We don’t have to terminate our once playful relationship. If being married means we hinder our feelings and emotions for one another, I don’t want to be married.
I want to date you. I want to date you nonstop through every year of our marriage. 20, 40, 60 years from now – I want to go on cute, little, romantic dates. I want you to kiss me before you leave for work in the morning. I want to cook together (even though I will be cooking and you’ll be eating all the food in the process). I want us to set goals and accomplish them together. I want you to be goofy and make a reference to an inside joke when I’m mad, just to get a laugh out of me. I want our children to look at us when they’re twenty or thirty and know the definition of love. I want to set an example for them, I want them to know the definition of true love – because of us. Because of our affection, because of what we’ve demonstrated for them all the years of their lives, and because we never let our spark fade.
Here’s to you – dating the love of your life, for the rest of your life. You don’t have to follow in the footsteps of everyone else around you. It’s been pounded into our heads that marriage is going to be hard… It doesn’t have to be. Don’t allow it to be hard. Yes, there will be hard times, but don’t let that make it a hard marriage. Fights, arguments, disagreements, they’re bound to happen – regardless of whether you’re dating or married. Address them right away, don’t enable them to escalate for years to come, waiting to burst at the seams of the marriage. Communicate, listen, admit when you’re wrong, commend yourself when you’re right. Love unconditionally. And don’t allow yourself to believe that marriage HAS to be hard. It doesn’t. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken, sure. But, don’t presume something that hasn’t and may never transpire.
Marriage is not a “one-size fits all” kind of deal. Every marriage is different and unique in its own way. Stop comparing yours to those around you. Focus on the good thoughts, throw away the bad. Focus on your marriage to make it the happiest possible relationship. Grow as a person, grow as a couple, grow to love one another with every part of your being – through everything.
Every person in this world has flaws, so love your imperfect spouse perfectly. And seriously, live a marriage where you date your best friend for the next eighty years.