There are lot of myths and misunderstandings about what it means to be in a lifelong commitment with someone. And it’s easy to be disoriented by the conflicting ideas about marriage.
I believed a lot of these myths when I began my married life. But as many happy years with my husband have gone by, I’ve debunked the biggest ones. Here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned:
1. Love means you’ll always know what you both need and want.
I have always hoped that marriage would mean my husband Ben could look at me and instantly know my needs. I wouldn’t have to say a word because he just knows me so well. Of course, that is such an unrealistic expectation! He’s not a mind reader and neither am I.
I have realized that when I ask my husband to do something it doesn’t make it any less meaningful because he is still taking his time to help me. While he may not see what I want and need immediately, his response still reflects his care for me. I appreciate any effort he puts into being there for me, whether I have to ask him or not.
2. Having kids means less time for each other.
In my experience, having kids can definitely deepen partners’ understanding of each other and their intimacy. But there has to be an understanding that there are going to be long, tough days when raising a family.
Children aren’t a Band-Aid to heal a relationship. But they are a gift that can enhance it. The mutual agreement to work together through the frustrating days to reach the best days as a family allows for so much growth and joy! Children take the partnership you began with your spouse when you got married to another level.
It is also true that having kids brings to light previously hidden fault lines for spouses. But having children helped us face our failings and insecurities together.
Ben has learned to let go of self interest for the sake of our children. In doing so, he has also learned to do so for me in our relationship. I still struggle with my desire for perfection, but at the end of the day it comforts me that my husband has seen me through childbirth and now child rearing and loves me on my best and worst days. Having children has taught me that perfection isn’t possible, but growing in love from this experience is.
The shared responsibility and goal of raising your children can bring you to a whole new level of your relationship. Ben and I have shared in this wonderful experience together and we are forever connected by our children.
If you remember your spouse and make sure they are always in the forefront of your mind, children can be one of the best things to happen to your relationship.
3. You’ll inevitably grow apart.
There is a reason we fell in love with our partner in the first place. But sometimes that can be lost amid the stressors of everyday life. After the honeymoon phase ends, we are faced with our biggest differences, and it often scares couples. It isn’t the differences in a marriage that potentially destroy it, but how we handle those difference that make or break a marriage.
We are two different people so it is only natural that those differences will appear. But I have learned that Ben and I don’t have to agree on everything to be happy. Your differences can actually strengthen your marriage if you consider it a growth opportunity.
You don’t have to agree with everything your spouse thinks, but valuable insight and relationship growth can come from hearing them out. Ask them questions and become genuinely interested in who they are. You may be married for 5 or 10 years, but a person is constantly evolving and listening to your spouse with genuine interest helps you to continue to learn who they are every day. It keeps things exciting and helps you to grow closer together.
4. Happy couples don’t argue.
Every person enters a relationship with their own fears, baggage, hopes, and dreams. When that’s paired with another person, miscommunication and conflict is bound to happen.
Arguing just shows that you are being open and honest with your spouse. Ben and I are both strong willed and opinionated people, so we argue, and sometimes it isn’t pretty. It’s taken time to learn how to navigate conflict, but each time I think we get better at discussing whatever we are going through in healthier ways.
At the end of the day, we love one another wholeheartedly, and those arguments are just a blip in the grand scheme of our life. We are happy and grateful for our lives and one another, but conflict happens even to the happiest of couples.
5. Your sex life will get boring.
When people first get together there is this intense attraction and curiosity that is so exciting. Once this fades people tend to think they will hit a plateau, but the truth is there is something special about married sex.
The understanding and trust my husband have is something even deeper than our physical attraction to each other. And that level of intimacy spouses share grows over time. I can honestly sex has gotten better and better the longer we’ve been married.
Marriage really has gotten a bad rap in recent years. I hate to see people have the same inaccurate ideas about marriage as I did going into it. I can say without a shadow of doubt that getting married was one of the best decisions of my life.