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Starting a Marriage Off Right
How I Began to Alienate My Husband
As a newlywed, you and your new spouse are supposed to be in joyful bliss and think that everything is puppies and rainbows.
And you have a point. I'm not saying that I'm not in bliss now because I actually am. I am loving life and loving being married to my husband! But it did take some work and some self-reflection to get here. But I'm just sharing this story so that someone else that might be experiencing the same issues with their spouse can learn something from this.
I'm not saying that I'm an expert on marriage. Oh no, far from it. I know there is quite a lot I still have to learn. But I will say this. Compared to where my marriage was after we got back from our honeymoon (Sanibel Island in Florida, the most amazing place!) to now, our arguments and fights have dwindled considerably.
You see, I had an epiphany. Even though I had dated my husband for three years and considered myself mature enough to take the leap into matrimony, I still had unrealistic expectations of marriage. I have no earthly idea why but I thought when we got back from our honeymoon, we would be in the so-called "honeymoon stage" where we just found everything about each other so romantic and cute. I thought he would be able to read my mind on things that I wanted. For instance, I used to get mad at him when he would play video games instead of paying attention to me. Which, to be fair, he honestly didn't do that very often. But I never told him when I wanted him to pay attention to me, I expected him to just KNOW. I would just drop hints and when he didn't pick up on it, I would blow up and say things like "Don't you want to spend time with your new wife?!"
And my poor husband would be so bewildered at first. Then he would get exasperated with me, rightly so. And looking back, I cringe at how I acted. Even though my husband had never been THAT romantic, I expected him to just start doing things like leaving cute little messages around for me to read or bring me flowers unexpectedly. I expected him to do things that he hadn't done before and that weren't really in his nature.
Well, all of my unrealistic expectations started creating some arguments and frustration between us. And I couldn't understand it. Before we got married, we rarely got into arguments and if we did, it was usually resolved quickly. But my attitude was causing us to fight more frequently than ever before.
Feeling Like Newlyweds Again
One night, I was sitting on the couch pondering my marriage. I couldn't figure out why we weren't the insanely happy newlyweds that we were supposed to be. Then I started ruminating on our arguments and the angry words we had said to each other. Then I thought about the reasons that were starting the arguments. And it hit me.
I wasn't letting us be us. I was expecting my husband to be a man that he wasn't. I was expecting him to be able to read my mind and be super romantic all the time. That wasn't him though. And I knew that. Or I should have known that but my belief is that I got caught up in this whole idea of what I thought marriage was supposed to be.
So that night, I made a decision. I decided to stop putting so much expectation on ourselves and to just let us be ourselves. I decided to let my husband know when I actually wanted to cuddle instead of expecting him to read my mind.
I told my husband about my epiphany and why I thought we had been fighting more lately. He mulled over it and came to the same conclusion as me. We needed to just communicate more and just be ourselves.
The change in our marriage seemed to happen almost overnight. I noticed that we were both much happier and the frequency of our arguments decreased substantially. We were laughing again and having fun together, just like before we were married. I finally felt like we were back in that honeymoon stage. I felt like we were blissfully happy again. I felt like we were newlyweds again. And I am happy to report that I still feel that way.
What Are the Secrets to a Happy Marriage?
I don't pretend to be an expert here. I can only share what I've learned from my own marriage. Every marriage is different and every person is different in how they relate to each other. But here are just a few of the things that I've learned that you could apply to your own marriage.
- Don't marry someone thinking that you can change them. It doesn't work. People are who they are and if you think you can change someone after getting married, your marriage doesn't stand a good chance of surviving.
- Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself and each other. (This is one that took me a while to learn!)
- Don't let the stress of real life get to you. We all have debt, problems with family, school, or work but the key is not to take that stress out on your partner.
- Remember that you are a team! The great thing about marriage is that you automatically have someone in your corner. You are a unit. It is you two against the world. If you can keep this mindset, it will help a lot when dealing with difficult issues outside the marriage.
- Don't keep score. A very wise woman said this to me once and it's very true. Keeping score breeds resentment. Unfortunately, this is something I still struggle with, as does my husband. Sometimes we will say "I took the trash out last time, it's your turn." We both need to work on just taking the trash out when it needs to be taken out and not worry about who did it last time.
Did You Struggle in Your Marriage as Newlyweds?
Interesting Facts About Marriage
One Last Thing
What is that phrase they say? Oh yes. Happy wife, happy life!
I kid, I kid. But really, as amusing as the picture above is, it's important to remember that your partner feels like they have a say in running the household and making decisions in general. And hey, chances are that you married someone perfectly capable of being right sometimes.
All in all, I hope that my ramblings on marriage gave you some food for thought. I know that I've learned a lot in only five short months but I wouldn't change any of it. It has made me a better person and a better wife.
Granted, I don't know how things will turn out in life. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? Life would be boring if it was predictable.