Monday, November 28, 2011

Marriage is Hard and other Tidbits

It's W here, obviously. Just giving some tidbits about marriage now that we're about 5 months in-- we're practically experts at this point, ha! Not really, but I do think I've learned a lot about relationships, compromise, patience, and God's design for our lives through our marriage so far. Here are the top five things I've learned:

1. Marriage can be hard. So, pretty much everyone says this. And I was like, "okay well yeah I'm sure it is but we love each other and God brought us together and blah, blah, blah." But really, it is hard. It's hard to put another person's needs before you own, and it's hard to compromise when we're inherently selfish, and it's hard to give up the dreams and plans for your life that may not reconcile with the reality of your life now that you've melded it with another life. That said, it's hard in the way that exercising can be hard. It pushes you, and exhausts you, and forces you to reach beyond yourself for strength. This is the kind of "hard" that makes you a better person, with a stronger faith, and a more compassionate outlook. This is the kind if "hard" that makes me understand why God's vision for marriage is to make us holier, and not necessarily happier.

2. Marriage can be hilarious. So, T and I can be pretty funny. This has been exacerbated since we got married and have been living together. It's incredible to have someone who can share all sort of inside jokes and secret strange behaviors. It's like having a roommate who is also your best friend who understands the intricacies of what makes you convulse with laughter but ten times better. M noticed this trend when she visited us this past week...we've gotten funnier. Well, maybe just quirkier and it seems funnier to people. I don't know, but there's something about having the space and grace to really be yourself that brings out the ridiculousness in us.

3. Men are often beyond comprehension. Okay, so in reality this is probably more like "T's actions are often beyond MY comprehension," but I would bet that most wives would agree. Men seem to just think differently from women. This is probably a good thing-- it creates kind of a "checks and balances" system in the relationship that prevents me from adopting 5 dogs and T from drilling a hole in our refrigerator and turning it into "The Kegerator." (He's hoping this dream can become a reality in our next home. We'll see). That said, sometimes the way that T thinks just baffles me. I know that he feels the same way about my thought processes. I believe that it is because of this fundamental disparity that both #1 and #2 are true.

4. Married people aren't that different from single people. When I was single, I had this idea that married people were on a different "plane" of some sort. Like, they had entered a protected world that was exclusive to other married people and contained all sort of secrets about life and adulthood and relationships. Now that I'm married, I don't necessarily think that is true. I don't get along any better with other married people then I do single people. I don't claim, (outside of this particular blog post, ha!) to have any greater knowledge of life or love than anyone else, married or not. I still need friends, and sleep, and time alone just like everyone else.

5. No one is ever "ready" to get married. I'm assuming this is sort of the same thought as when people say it's never the "right time" to have a kid. Marriage looks different for everyone, and maybe the biggest lesson I've learned is this: every single married person is simply just winging it, trying their best to hold fast to the vows that they made and learning a day at a time what it means to be a good spouse to their partner. I do think that there are a few necessary qualifiers a person should achieve before marriage-- being able to provide for yourself, having a strong relationship with God, understanding the gravity of the marriage commitment, knowing how to communicate your needs and wants effectively-- but really, if you wait until you think you've found a "perfect person," or you're the "right age," or you feel "really ready" to commit to loving someone for a length of time that is simply incomprehensible on the day you say "I do," you'll never do it. At some point, there is a leap of faith that takes place and you say, to yourself and to your partner, "I'm not really sure how to be a wife, or what it takes to have a good marriage, or how love you for this incomprehensible amount of time, but I promise to try my best now and forever, and I want to figure it out with you and only you by my side."

And those are my thoughts about marriage after 5 months. Maybe I'll check back in after another 5 months and see if I feel the same!

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