1. You'll realize how selfish you are.Boy oh boy, is this a biggie! I never considered myself to be a super selfish person, but once you get married you are aware of just how much your world revolves around you. Suddenly the plans for the day, expectations for holidays, or even what you want for dinner involve another person. It's easy to want your way and to try to take charge, but there are other feelings and opinions to consider.
What to Do About It:Don't just assume that things will happen a certain way, especially your way. Talk about them. Ask questions. Come to compromises and figure out plans together. Just because you're married doesn't mean you have to give up your own individual hobbies or passions (see number two), but it DOES mean that you need to keep your spouse's needs and wants in consideration. If you work to out serve one another, and put each other's needs first, then you'll be just fine. And when you do have selfish moments, and you will, apologize and make a change for next time.
2. You may not do every single thing together, and that's okay.As some of you may already know, I'm a huge extrovert. I love to be outside, work out, and be around people. But my hubby can only do "extrovert" things for so long. He doesn't recharge with people around, like I do. He recharges with some TV time or even just sitting and relaxing (without conversation). For a while, I thought he needed to be running, outside, and with people- just like me. But then I realized that while we have much in common (music, our faith, teaching, loving sports, etc), there are still things that make us different. And that's amazing! So it's okay if I go for a run by myself, or if he works on cars and watches some TV on his own. Because that's how we recharge.
What to Do About It:Talk through this. Make sure that you are aware of each other's individual needs, and be real about the solo or "friend" time you'll need. You're still people with unique personalities and passions, and as spouses it is our job to cheer on each other in those passions- even if it's from the sidelines. Don't be upset or feel unloved if your spouse spends time doing their own thing every now and then- it doesn't mean that they don't love you. And if you are truly interested in being a part of your spouse's passions too, then say it! Don't be silent and angry- communicate, communicate, communicate.
3. You've got to learn to speak your mind (with kindness).I know this one seems kind of obvious, but it's actually trickier than you think- especially for women. Coming from the dating world into marriage means that we've got to flip the switch from being reserved and nervous about what our significant others will think into being totally honest. That doesn't mean we just blurt out our emotions right way in the middle of an argument, but instead that we give our spouse our honest opinion when they ask for it, or tell them what we're thinking when they can't guess it.
What to Do About It:Always assume the best in your spouse, and give them a reason to assume the best in you as well. If you're struggling with something, tell them. If you're scared about something, tell them. Marriage involves you both, and when things go unsaid then feelings get hurt, expectations go unmet, and confusion appears. Speak thoughtfully, and with kindness. And often. Communication is key.
4. You will have conflict, and that's okay.In a perfect world, married folks would never have any sort of disagreement. But because marriage involved two imperfect people, there is bound to be conflict. You'll fester over dirty clothes that are left on the floor, or he'll be annoyed that you change your outfit four times before you leave. Sometimes arguments will be quick and loud, and other times they'll go unspoken for days. But guess what- this is normal! You are not the only married folks in the world who have ever had an argument. That's far from the truth. Now obviously if things are getting abusive or if you are regularly struggling with conflict at a high level, you may want to reach out for help or see a counselor (which is also perfectly okay!) But for the most part, don't assume that your marriage is a failure or strange just because you don't always agree on everything.
What to Do About It:Be real. Figure out the heart of the matter, and examine your heart. Be sure to take responsibility for what you have done and can change. Decide on your action steps to change things, set goals, and put your plans in motion. And take time to be alone with the Lord and to keep Him a priority. It's hard to love others well when you aren't loving Him. For more on this topic, check out my post When Conflict Comes.
5. You're going to keep changing.For some reason, I had it in my head that once I got married I would stay the same Kelsie forever and we'd just ride off into the sunset together. While parts of me have stayed the same, I've also seen a lot of change in myself over the last few years. If we're honest, everyone is changing- all the time. We are constantly being shaped by our experiences, hopes, dreams, failures, and successes. This isn't a bad thing, it's just something that we have to be aware of. In fact, this is part of my heart and mission with this blog: to recognize the world is changing and moving around us, and to love fiercely, learn fearlessly, and live fully.
What to Do About It:If we're going to change, we can either change together or separately. Aaron and I are committed to making our marriage work, and so we make an effort to change together. We will be different in five, ten, and fifteen years, but we want to continue to know and love each other, in the midst of all our flaws and failures. Because of this, we're still dating. (Check out my post on Why I'm Still Dating My Husband.) Share your hearts. Share your words. Continue to know and love each other through all life brings your way!
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