Be selfless! Keep it sexy! Have regular date nights! Wait for kids! Have kids when you’re younger! Communicate!
This.is.hard. These are all pieces of advice you receive from people who genuinely want the best for your marriage! The advice above is actually solid advice. The problem is how do you do these things? How do I become selfless when I feel my spouse isn’t meeting my needs adequately? How do I keep it sexy when the “thrill” of newlywed sparkle is gone? How in the heck do you have regular date nights when your work schedules are completely opposite?
The first part of this post will be for my Newlywed/Soon-To-Be-Wed Couples. Tomorrow we will talk about ways to repair a marriage in crisis. If you fall into both of those categories, read on…
You might be saying, “Seida, we were so happy and we’re only 3 months in!” Does this mean we’re not compatible or we made a mistake? Why can’t we stop arguing? If I were standing there with you right now I would tell you to breathe. Just stop thinking about things and take 3 long, deep breaths…
This is the reality of marriage. I believe everyone comes to a point in their marriage where they are thinking, “What the heck is going on?” The good news is: this is a normal phase of marriage. The next few pieces of advice I would offer are: learn your spouse’s primary and secondary love language, communicate often and be ok with saying sorry!
If you’ve never heard of Dr. Gary Chapman, you might be thinking, “Seida what the heck is a love language?” To understand your spouse’s love language is to understand how your spouse experiences/feels love. For example, you may feel loved when your spouse gives you a head rub. Your spouse may feel loved when you bring them home a gift randomly.
For more information, visit Dr. Chapman’s site. Determining your spouse’s love language can be so helpful! Things that haven’t made sense in the past will make sense. Now don’t get me wrong – you still have to put in the work, but it’s like driving a car. You have passed the written exam and seen it done before, but you have to decide what’s comfortable and what works for your marriage! Essentially, the more you begin to study your spouse and actually use what you see working the better your relationship will be.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! I can’t say it enough! There will always be some form of miscommunication, because we are humans and we misinterpret things. Marriage is two people from two different walks of life bringing all of their past (and the insecurities and baggage that goes along with this) together to create a future!
This is not easy! The way we grow up heavily influences our interpretation of the world. This means it influences how we treat our spouse, how we talk to our spouse, how we read in between the lines of what we think our spouse is trying to say. All of these things impact our communication and ultimately our relationship. This is not something we can perfect overnight. In fact, I’m not sure we will ever completely understand each other perfectly. The more we spend time practice effective communication strategies, the better we will get at understanding one another.
Be ok with saying, “I’m sorry!” Yeesh! This is a huge one! Most people enter marriage thinking of it in terms of a partnership. Somewhere along the lines this partnership gets twisted and we start to think of each other as enemies. You may never say that out loud with your mouth, but your actions show that you have begun to treat one another that way.
When your thought process switches from, “Let me make sure I leave enough (insert random shared item) for (insert spouse’s name)” to “Oh well (insert spouse’s name) can just figure it out on their own! It’s not my fault they’re not here!” you are in dangerous territory and on the brink of “Enemy Island.” It’s easy to get here, but harder to leave.
Saying sorry does not imply weakness. Saying sorry is actually a sign of strength. When we have the courage to say sorry, we are telling our spouse that we value the relationship more than winning some stupid argument! Just like everything else…learning to say sorry (and to truly mean it) takes time and practice!
Whether you have kids or not, you are a family and your family can’t flourish if you’re not willing to practice these three things! Don’t be discouraged! If you’ve started your marriage off on the wrong foot and you’re in currently in crisis: stick around for tomorrow’s post!
Tomorrow’s Post: When the Honeymoon Ends: Tips for a Healthy Marriage (Part II)