The success of marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.-John Fischer
“You may now kiss the bride” is followed by, “and they lived happily ever after,” right?
I’ve heard countless times that relationships change after the wedding. Regardless of how long a couple has dated, whether the bond is solid or whether they have similar interests, no one seems immune to the change that awaits on the other side.
As an outsider of the married club, I struggled to understand what the fuss was. What could be so earth shattering that causes some couples to call it quits just hours or days after their big “I do?”
As an official member of the married club -only 55 days under my belt -I agree, things change after the big I do.
Marriage is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. This 55 day journey reminds me of Disney’s Rockin Rollercoaster ride. At the start of the ride they play Aerosmith tunes to pump you up. The music distracts from what’s happening – not allowing the mind to focus on the fear one would normally be overwhelmed with (speaking from a scaredy cat’s perspective). The roller coaster car is finally in view. Excitement, fear, and adrenaline pumping through the body! I approach the car without hesitation because how can anyone jamming to Aerosmith quit? I sit – I’m buckled in – and the car moves forward to wait for the green light. The speakers behind the headrest turn on – the screen in front of the car flashes the traffic delays – and the countdown for the ride begins.
What is going to happen? I want to get off – but it’s too late, I’m already strapped in. I want this – I want to be fearless- but who am I kidding? My heart starts racing. My palms are sweating. I’m holding on for dear life, forcing the bar down just in case it wasn’t properly locked. I need to feel secure and protected, but how? It’s time – I say a quick prayer for my fast beating heart’s survival. Nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened next. The car went from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds. I laugh and scream at the same time. Some moments make me feel insane, others are quite fun. The ride has ended and my entire body is shaking.
When asked how the ride was I respond, let’s do it again!
Newlywed life is similar.
One has to crossover and join the married club to grasp the emotions that take over the body in a matter of seconds just as it did in the Aerosmith ride. Sometimes you want to find the emergency stop button and jump out of the car – your mind is shouting “wait, what am I doing, let me get off, I can’t do this” but it’s too late. You’re in this – might as well make the best of it. Just when you thought this is it- my heart can’t take anymore, you start laughing. The fear overshadowed by excitement. You no longer focus on the fear, you ignore your sweaty palms, and just take it in. It’ll pass.
My husband and I have the ability to get under each other’s skin within seconds. We push each other to the edge making the other search for the nonexistent emergency button. A few minutes later we are laughing and have forgotten what the fuss was about. I go from shaking with fury or frustration, to being happy and in love. I’ve asked myself, oh my goodness how on earth are we going to make it? What on earth is happening here? How do people make it past the 1st year? Why are we saying the exact same thing – in our own way of course – but then correcting one another on what would’ve been the clearer way of presenting the information ?
Living with someone has been a huge adjustment (I’m sure this isn’t a walk in the park for him either).
To survive one basically has to smoother Vaseline all over to help the difficulties slide off and focus the music and the beauty that exists to soften the blow during conflicts.
The tears – they’ll dry up soon enough. Everyone goes through this – this is the fairy tale bubble bursting. I thought I knew what marriage and married life should look like. I had no idea that marriage was about how much guts and commitment one has to make it! It’s training for battle! LOL The sacrifices one is willing to make so the relationship can survive. It’s not always happy times, the passions might change, the courting will look different, but you have someone’s commitment that they’ll be there for the rest of your life. You have to be a team, in the difficult times as much as the good times. At the end of the day, regardless how many emotions I’ve been filled with I will respond “let’s do this again” just as I did at the end of the Aerosmith ride.
It’s crazy, it’s insane, but it’s amazing! It’s more about the journey than anything else.
Life before marriage was easy. I focused on my perspective, my wants, my needs, my habits, my routine, and my feelings. Now I must consider someone else as much as I consider myself. Especially in the moments when I don’t want to. I considered myself a selfless person, but married life has been a reality check to how much work I need in this area.
Marriage is developing my character -it’s pushing me out of my comfort zone, pushing my limits, and making me a better person. It’s teaching me to strategize when I handle a difference of opinion, rather than just walking away and ignoring the problem as I normally do. In marriage, the problem will be waiting for you the next time you speak to your spouse, that is why conflict resolution is necessary or the topic will be dragged longer than it should and indirect remarks will be used as jabs in other arguments. I’m learning to be selective about my battles and what I choose to overlook (I must admit, I have a long way to go, this is no easy task for me!).
This is forever – till death do us part – it’s a sacrament! If I push my husband away, if I condemn him, then I condemn our marriage and myself. Sure we can take the easy route, quit and find someone else, but I can almost guarantee the next relationship will have its own set of problems. Will life then be about temporarily hopping from partner to partner, staying only for the good times, and leaving just before it’s time for us to work as a team?
Marriage is made beautiful by the things overcome together and the situations we survive. The challenges will strengthen us by revealing how devoted we are to our marriage.
To an extent marriage is all about me – it’s discovering what changes I’m willing to make for the sake of peace in our family and a healthy long lasting relationship. It’s about putting aside my ego for something greater than me; for our family, for our children, and for a promise we made before God. I will be put to the test, I must be willing to learn and do whatever I can to help us survive. How far am I willing to go for the one that I love? How much am I willing to humble myself for our marriage? How can I be the best wife for my husband? How can I help my husband grow? How forgiving can I truly be? Am I willing to apologize and work on my vulnerabilities to protect those that I love? Can I handle his helping hand, even if the healing process is unpleasant? Can I love him in moments where I’m not feeling loved? Can I try harder rather than quitting? Am I willing to learn new ways of communicating if my current approach proves to be ineffective? Will I make an effort to understand his perspective before defending my own? Am I willing to take the first step towards peace and harmony? What matters most, being right or being loving? Can I find a middle ground?
Marriage is giving me the tough skin I’ve desperately needed.
The stronger I become, the stronger I will be for my husband and this marriage.
Whenever you’re in conflict, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. William James
Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. Timothy Keller
“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Robert Quillen
Check out: Toilet Paper-A Lesson In Self-Control