Wednesday, August 4, 2010
What I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married
A blogger friend of mine recently posted about the day her husband stood up to her for the first time and the challenges and (ultimately) good things it brought to their marriage. She ended by saying she wished she would have known that making changes to her language and the mindset she brought to their relationship was something she knew about before her wedding, not a few years after.
This got me thinking. Our marriage is by no means perfect, but I like to think we're pretty perfect for one another. We bring our own brands of weirdness to the table and we mesh pretty well. On the other hand, we're both pretty stubborn and when we each get passionate about something, we're bound to butt heads and exchange some words, a.k.a. shout at one another and get mad. I just wish that I would have known a few things before the wedding--though I probably wouldn't have listened anyway! That brings me to...
Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married
1. No matter what, there's nothing I can do that will make my husband hate me, resent me, or leave me.
This sounds silly, but I guess I've just had a series of bad relationships, mostly with friends. Too often I had misunderstandings with friends that led to a falling out or parting of ways and what I once considered a close friendship unraveled quickly. Especially during our first year, I'd do or say something that would make Graham mad--not for very long--and he'd leave to go on a walk to clear his head. After the dust settled I usually sat on my own for a few moments, trying to clear my own mind, and I would start to freak out a little. "What will I do if he comes home and says he wants out?" My heart would race slightly and I'd really start to fear all the what ifs that plagued my mind. Instinctively, I knew that thoughts like these were silly. Deep down, I really and truly knew it. But something would just come to the surface--probably the product of some of those broken relationships--and I'd start to fear that the man I'd come to know would decide to throw away our history and the love we had for one another and just walk out. I know these thoughts are ridiculous, but it really took me most of our first year together to get over the fact that he's better than those unraveled friendships and he's not going to walk because we had a fight about something stupid.
2. We need to work together on financial matters.
This sounds pretty simple, but it's something I have really struggled with. I don't have very much self-confidence when it comes to anything involving math. (Heaven help me if our kids need help with their math homework!) It's never been a subject in which I've had confidence or been able to succeed. I notice even now that when a student asks me for help with math, I catch my breath and hesitate because I don't have confidence in my skills, even when it comes to simple addition or division or multiplication. I have some basic skills stored away in the back of my head, but the fear of being wrong really gets to me. This has spilled over into our finances, and I'm not gonna lie: I'd be more than happy to hand it all over and just be told what I can spend on food, shoes, etc. each month. I can follow directions, but when left to my own devices or when I'm expected to contribute, I get the shakes and feel like I can't do it. Graham, thankfully, has more confidence in my abilities than I do and he's refused to play Ward Cleaver to my June. He won't handle all the finances on his own and he forces me to sit down with him and work on the budget each month. He makes sure we sit down and discuss every financial decision (small ones not included). If it weren't for him, I'd be living in ignorance. I don't like to have a part in all of that because I'm afraid I'll do something wrong, but I do appreciate his...push...to make me a full partner and shareholder in all our finance discussions.
3. Family members can be a huge cause of stress.
Someone could have sat me down before our wedding and told me about every single instance in which a family member would cause us stress, and I wouldn't have believed them. "No! Our families are great! We're not gonna have any problems!" :
:pause for chortle::
The fact of the matter is that our familes are great and have been a wonderful source of support for us, there's no denying that. But there have also been times when one set of parents--in a few cases, both--or another family member has caused one or the both of us to catch our breath and bite our tongues. It's really true when you marry someone that you marry their family too. Suddenly their problems are your problems. Woo! It's like a two-fer. Some parents and family members can be very hands-off, others very hands-in. It's been a learning experience for both of us, learning to be married and balancing learning the dynamics of the other person's family. This has been especially challenging because we didn't live together before we got married so our first year was full of juggling all sorts of things.
We're still trying to figure things out, and I think it's resulting in a lot of good. Especially with a baby on the way, knowing how to deal with our families and what makes each person tick is a good thing.
This list could get longer, but I've got some things to catch up on. See you later, taters.