Marriage is hard work! Is what I tell anyone who’s thinking about getting married or about to get married. The thought that marriage is something that will suddenly make things easier is false. You have to work hard to get the marriage that both of you can love and appreciate being apart of.
My sister-in-law got married almost 2 years ago and one of the things that guest were asked to do was write marriage advice on Jenga blocks.
I know it should have been easy for me to write something since I was already married (10 years), but oddly enough it wasn’t. I had no idea what I should say to this young woman on one of the most important days of her life.
Should I tell her that its hard work to be married and that every day will not consist of Luther Vandross and rose petals. That she should throw everything she knew marriage to be out the window? No, instead I wrote nothing.
I didn’t write anything on that small ass block, because marriage is not just a simple phrase or something that could be summed up in a few little well placed words and emojis.
Marriage is hard work. Marriage is compromise. Marriage is forgiveness, and marriage is love unconditionally.
Mal and I were engaged 4 years before we even picked a date to say I DO. I will…eventually, was what I said when he brought up a date. I remember him asking me why we waited so long and my reply was simple, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to jump into something that I knew I was not ready for at the moment. Did I love him sure I did and for that reason I couldn’t marry him. I loved him enough to not go into this without being able to give him what he deserved from a woman.
I won’t….at least not now. I had to do some self-healing and had to let go of the negative things that I knew marriage to be. I had to go into this with the openness and the willingness to give this person who never been in a long-term relationship or any relationship for that matter something that was real. I couldn’t hurt this person because I was hurt. I couldn’t bring all of the anger and hurt from my previous relationship into this one. I had to leave the baggage behind and move forward. When I was done with me I could then focus on us. He loved me enough to wait for the I Do.
I’m often asked how we make things work in our marriage. There’s no book or blueprint to follow when it come to being married. You have to be willing to work for what you want. Both parties have to be willing to work towards the same goals. So the first thing and the most important thing I would say you need is a belief system ( God, Allah, Jehovah), and the willingness to pray for and with each other. Then you will need:
Communication, the willingness to talk it out, and the willingness to understand each other point of view. It didn’t take me long to figure this out, because all he has ever wanted to do was talk. I could be raising hell and he would just sit there and wait until I said what I wanted and then calmly ask “you good, you got it all out?” At first this would piss me off more and I would walk off leaving his ass sitting there. He would still go about his day as if nothing was wrong and I couldn’t understand for the life of me why he just couldn’t fuss back, get angry, and say a few cuss words. It wasn’t until I sat down and looked at things differently and most importantly seen things through his eyes. When things….ok I calmed down I would then sit down and talk about what went wrong and how we could fix it so it doesn’t happen again. Now we bring everything to the table and talk about it, good, bad or ugly truths are brought to the table and talked about.
Trust, to believe that your spouse would not purposely cause you hurt or harm, the willingness to be truthful even if it hurts. Trust for me is the one thing in my marriage that I have to look at from what I call the “what if” perspective. Meaning before I do something I have to think about what if it was done to me and if I can’t handle what I’m issuing out then I won’t do it. I also think about him and how this would affect him and since I love and respect him, I would never want to see him hurt. If at any time I do mess up I would tell him about it, why because I would expect him to do the same. Yes I know and I hear it all the time “what if you found out he has been lying to you about something” Yes I would be hurt, but he would hurt more because the trust would be gone and its harder getting trust back than keeping it.
Respect, the willingness to think about each other’s feelings and represent them at all times. Hitting below the belt in an argument, calling each other out of their names, belittling, and making each other feel unworthy of being loved is a sign that the respect for each other has been lost. This has never been an issue for us. Yes we argue (discuss), but that doesn’t mean the love for each other is lost. Also you have to understand what respect and disrespect means for the other person. For example, some woman find it disrespectful for their husband to watch Beyoncé videos while she’s in his presence. For me I couldn’t care less if he watched a Beyoncé video. Understand and respect one another feelings.
Love, the most important part of my marriage, the willingness to love unconditionally. Out of all the things a marriage should have this word holds the most weight. This word allows everything else to fall into place as it should. When you love someone unconditionally you are able to talk to them about anything, you are able to trust and respect them. I hear people say that love hurts, but the truth is love is the one thing in this world that does not hurt. What we believe to be love is what hurts.
Understanding that every marriage is different and working to make yours what you desire it to be is what’s important.
Giving your spouse a place to feel safe, loved and at peace is also important. You ever wondered why some people would rather do overtime at work, ride around aimlessly, or hang by a friend’s house rather than go home to their spouse. The reason is home is where the stress is, where all the problems of their life is, where there’s an ungrateful, never satisfied spouse waiting to dump all of their bullshit into his/her lap as soon as they get home. It’s a miserable feeling to not have a place of peace to retreat to after dealing with the problems of the world.
When my husband walks through this door every evening I give him a chance to breathe, drop his days problems at the door, and eat before I drop my days problem in his lap. I couldn’t imagine being that wife that nags; fuss about everything as soon as he steps through the door. We both know and understand that home is where the love is and if there’s a problem then we will take care of it together.
Yes marriage is hard work, but if you are willing to give each other 100% of yourself and work towards making it work then your journey should get easier with time. What advice did you give or would give?