When you think of marriage, one of the first things that usually comes to your mind is the wedding day. We see it all over tv, social media, movie screens- white dress, full wedding party, glitz, and glamour. Every girl wants her day! I know I did and I loved every second of it. But I learned very quickly that fairy-tale weddings are completely different than real, every day married life. Over my 10 plus years of being married, I have had to work through so many things I was unfamiliar with prior to I-Do. Things like raising a bunch of kids and still taking care of myself, how to fight fair, and how to handle days when I just don’t like my spouse. I learned first so I can tell you all about it!
Family Size Matters
When my husband and I got married, I had 2 sons from previous relationships whom he immediately took on as his own. We jumped the broom in May, got pregnant in June, and in October we found out we were having twins! Our family of 4 grew to 6 within the first 5 months of our marriage. Life was pretty much a whirlwind for the first year after the twins were born. With the addition of our 5th child 7 years later, I say with all the love in the world- children are a blessing but they definitely add to the weight of marriage. They impact your sex life, dating life, and they challenge you in ways you could not possibly imagine. Not to mention how they change our bodies FOREVER!
It is super easy to get caught up in fulfilling all the roles we play as women. We often feel as if we have zero time for ourselves. However, if YOU don’t take care of YOU, “mommy burnout” will prevent you from taking care of everyone else. Trust me, I have been there! You have to create moments when you can just focus on yourself. Self care can be as simple as uninterrupted reading time, a trip to Starbucks, going for a walk/drive, or just taking a nap (my personal favorite). Whatever it looks like for you, make it happen. Your mind will thank you!
How to Handle Disagreements
Have you ever looked at a couple that looks super lovey dovey and thought, “I bet they never argue”? Well my husband and I are NOT that couple! We have had our fair share of disagreements, probably some of your share too. It has taken us a long time to learn how to fight fair. By long time, I mean we are still learning. I have comprised a list of some things that have really helped us in this area:
Practice Active Listening-
Active listening is learning to hear for understanding instead of listening to respond. In marriage counseling, our therapist had us take turns talking. After our turn, she would have the person listening to repeat what was said to them without adding their opinion or any rebuttal. When they were done, she would then turn to the speaker to confirm if the listener heard correctly. This takes so much practice but it is a skill worth learning that will help your communication.
Calling a Time Out
This might sound super childish but it was a game changer for an entire season of our marriage. Early on, I was the hot head. Arguments would go from 1 to 1000 in 2.2 seconds. It would get to the point that the “issue” wouldn’t even be the focus anymore. We would just be aimlessly yelling back and forth. So we introduced the concept of calling a “time out”. When one of us calls time out, that abruptly stops the conversation until both parties are calm enough to talk peacefully. Once the fire has died, then you proceed.
Let Go, Choose Peace-
This is something that has come into play just this month for me. I will honestly say, this is probably the HARDEST, especially when I am right about something. The whole “who’s right, who’s wrong” can be a real stumbling block in handling a disagreement. What is boils down to for me is do I want to be right or do I want to have peace? In the end, I feel much better when I LET IT GO!
The “Like” Factor
No matter how amazing your husband is, and mine is pretty freaking awesome, sometimes you just are not gonna like him! He is going to say things that irritate you. He’s going to do things that annoy you- like playing that STUPID PS4 for 3hrs instead of watching a movie with you for 2! He is going to completely misinterpret what you thought you said to him clearly. The list goes on. The point is, sometimes it’s ok to just say “I’m not liking you very much today.” I never knew that would be a real thing but it is. Loving him is a guarantee but liking him every single day for the rest of your life just might not be the case.
The final thing I wish I knew before I got married was how to deal with life transitions. Dealing with the loss of a parent, an unexpected miscarriage, homelessness, and going through career changes were extremely hard for me to handle. I will be the first to admit that I do not like change very much. When transitions begin to happen, it takes me a while to process the change mentally before I can just roll with the punches. Don’t get me wrong, I am the queen of making lemon meringue pie out of lemons, however it is tough adjusting to a new way of life.
Marriage Takes Work!
That’s pretty much what I am saying. I did not know how much effort it takes to have a successful marriage. I love having a large family but it is definitely more than a notion to raise kids of all age ranges. Transitions and disagreements come with the married life territory. There will be days that you just don’t like your husband. Above all, your mental health MATTERS. These are all things that I wish I was familiar with before I said I do.
What are some things you wish you knew before you got married? Comment below!