I’ve been thinking about this topic for 2 days, but i was busy typing and publishing my poetry book. On April 1st 2014, I announced on facebook that I got married. Everyone thought it was an April Fools Prank, but here I am in 2020 and in 2 days is my 6 year anniversary.
I don’t celebrate anniversaries, but I’ve been reflecting over the 6 years of my martiage and the ups and downs and what I’ve learned.
1. Sacrifice plus resentment does not equal sacrifice. In any relationship, sacrifices must be made. They are called compromises, as long as both parties are compromising to a reasonable extent. But when only one party is doing all the sacrificing to make the other party comfortable and the other party is selfishly enjoying the sacrifices made for them without reciprocating, this ends in the sacrificing party harboring a lot of resentment and taking it out on the other party in subtle ways. So be careful when you are sacrificing something, make it clear that you are doing this for them and that you have a limit (things you won’t sacrifice) and make it clear that you expect certain sacrifices in return.
2. Tolerance is not avoiding confrontation while being bitter about it, bottling it up, only to explode in one of those big fights where you list all the other person’s flaws and previous mistakes which you supposedly overlooked. Tolerance is acknoledging that your spouse has flaws, quirks and bad habits, and accepting that they may not be able to change them all. Note that both spouses should always be working on self improvement for themselves and to become better for their spouse. If you can change something about yourself that you know really bothers your spouse, work on it. If you can’t, explain to your spouse that this is something you are unable to change but you would appreciate if they learned to tolerate it.
3. Forgiveness is really important in any relationship, especially in a marriage. This is your lifelong partner. This is not your enemy. Different people have different temperaments and personalities and love languages and backgrounds. You are bringing two completely different people and merging them together. There are bound to be some clashes, some fights, some arguments, a mean word uttered in anger,… There are different ways to apologize. Some people, usually men, find it really difficult to say sorry. Some people don’t even know how to say sorry. So when your spouse does you a favor after they upset you, accept it as a form of apology.
4. Compassion is a foundation in, i say it again, any relationship, especially marriage. Life is hard, and problems are thrown at us left and right. Your spouse may be having problems at work, but doesn’t like to talk about it. You may be exhausted and having health problems but you don’t want to nag about it all the time. There may be times when you go through financial difficulties (this affects men more than women). So have compassion for yourself 1st when you are going through tough times. Don’t be so hard on yourself, holding yourself to a standard of perfection, like if I’m not 💯 productive, I’m lazy. No! You can’t be 💯 all the time. Also, have compassion for your spouse. They are trying their best. At home is the only place where they can be themselves. Don’t expect them to be cheery all the time, but also watch out for signs of anxiety or depression and deal with them accordingly. Practice self care for yourself and encourage your spouse to practice self care. Yes men need self care as well.
5. Dont ask for advice about your marriage from family or friends. Yes sometimes a friend or family member can give good advice, but in general, your family and friends are biased to you and your spouses family and friends are biased to them. There will be misunderstandings. There will be miscommunication. You need to work it out together. If you feel lost, read a book about what you’re having trouble with, or listen to a podcast. In general, relationship advice is usually specific to the couple because what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Usually, when I feel like I need advice with a certain issue, I search about it, and I read, and mostly I pray.
The prayer i usually say, translated into english is: “God fix our interiors and mend whatever is between our hearts”
6. Love is really important, if not the most important bond that will help you thrive in your marriage. Most people in the West marry for love, while most people in the East marry traditionally based of financial status, social status and religious compatibility. But whether the love between a couple is there before the marriage or blossoms after the marriage, it is consistent effort, trust, respect and loyalty that maintain love. Marriage is not a bussiness transaction. Yes there is a contract with death as the expiration date, but a loveless marriage is just a marriage on paper, not a real marriage. It is love that helps each spouse to practice patience, bestow forgiveness, enable tolerance, feel compassion, and offer sacrifices for the other spouse.
This is basically what I learned from 6 years of marriage. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, nor do i claim to have a problem-free marriage. I’m just a wife and a stay at home mom who does a lot of inner reflection and works a lot on self improvement. If you benefitted from my post, please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.