To follow up celebrating our two year anniversary I thought it would be fun to give my take on what I've learned in the last two years of being married. Disclaimer: This is my point of view and my lessons learned, not Allan's. Perhaps I can talk him into posting his point of view...
One of my closest friends recently asked me if the good always outweighs the bad in marriage. With unwavering certainty I responded yes and I meant it. Is it sometimes easier to get angry and forget the good and only focus on the bad? Yes. Does it take more strength and self-control to watch what I say and not be so quick to correct and give my opinion? Yes. Is it always worth it to put myself in his shoes? Absolutely.
Since I was little I've been a "learn every lesson the hard way" girl and nothing's changed as I've gotten older. I like to figure things out for myself and that spills over into my relationships as well. I have a tendency to push my boundaries within the relationship and test the limits of patience that Allan has with me. I swear I don't do it intentionally and I'm grateful that Allan puts up with me when I get wound up. Speaking of getting wound up, if you know me then you know I have the desire to make everything right with everyone and I will stress myself out if I think there's something else I could be doing to make things right between myself and someone else. Allan keeps me grounded and probably from going crazy. He's helping me learn that I can't do everything by myself and sometimes I need other people's help or I need to sit back and give it time and do nothing at all. (Still working on the sitting back and doing nothing at all-that really goes against my natural instincts!)
The night Allan and I started dating (August 23, 2005) he told me that communication is key to a successful relationship. Now I'm sure that each and every one of you have heard that and probably thought it sounded like an old cliche. Well, you would be wrong. That's the most solid advice I would give anyone getting ready to get married or perhaps those that are already married. If you feel strongly about something talk about it with your spouse but don't expect to always hear a point of view mirroring your own. Be ready to listen when that time comes and respect the difference rather than lobbying to change their mind. When it comes to something that your feelings have gotten hurt over, speak up. Chances are you are the only one who realizes something was done or said to hurt your feelings.
For the ladies reading this, let's just be honest for a minute. There's a difference between asking them how you look because you aren't sure this top should be worn with that skirt and asking them how you look because you feel fat today and want them to tell you that you look beautiful. In their defense, we or at least I, will mean either but say "How do I look?" in both situations. Thankfully I have a husband who usually tells me to change if something about my outfit doesn't quite look right. He also has a great eye for picking out clothes that I would have never thought I could wear but turn out amazing. I'm a lucky woman!
All joking aside, I'm grateful each and every day that God has blessed me with a husband who loves God, keeps me grounded, respects me, and encourages me in all that I do. Before getting married I made him promise me that we wouldn't fall into the married bubble as I call it. I came up with that term and started to fear it after I saw friends get married and lose all ability to remain in contact with the outside world. Every invitation was met with the "I'll have to check with my husband/wife" response which I learned usually meant no. We enjoy our time together but when it comes to family and friends we are ready to pick up and go if someone needs us. There's no asking permission to have a girl's night or guy's night. We make plans, do our own thing from time and time, and love nothing more than having a house full of family or friends.
In conclusion here's the short and sweet of my advice:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
2. Focus on the good
3. Accept the differences
4. Be your own person
5. Speak up if there's hurt feelings or something on your mind
6. Surround yourself with people that love and support the two of you
Here's to hoping I learn a lot more in the years to come!