Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Things that Surprised Me About Marriage

Marriage is one of the hardest, most wonderful adventures I've ever been on. The last three years have been the best of my life, and I would marry Aaron again in a heartbeat. He challenges me and cherishes me in the most amazing way that makes me fall in love with him all over again. But I'd be lying if I didn't say this: from the moment you say I do, life is never the same. Two people merging their lives into one is an incredible process, and there are bound to be misunderstandings, differences, and some surprises along the way. Here are five things that have surprised me about marriage, along what you should do about them.


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!

Currently,
Kelsie

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61 comments:

  1. I agree with all of these! The selfish one is hard....

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  2. Great post! I am getting married in a few months :-) haha but my fiancee and I already know he is the much more selfless one haha so I am always trying to work on that lol. congratulations to you guys!

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  3. So true- especially the first one. I never thought of myself as particularly selfish but now I realize how much I am, so that's what I've been trying to work on.

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  4. Marriage definitely helps you find the worst in yourself (like being way too selfish) but it also helps you learn to work and grow together. Great post!

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  5. I love this post! The mister and I aren't married (yet) but we've been living together for over 2 years now and learned a LOT of these lessons. It's amazing how your world shifts from "I" to "We" and the forms that takes

    Wrote this post about it if you're interested: http://www.cookwineandthinker.com/2016/04/lessons-from-two-years-of-living-in-love.html

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    1. I'm sure you've learned a ton- thanks for sharing!

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  6. #1!!!!! I used to think I was so selfless....but wow, hahaha did I wake up after getting married. Love this post!

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  7. This is such a great post and so true! I definitely agree with the first one. You never realize how comfortable you are in your own little bubble until you get married, and then you come to terms with the fact that now you have to share-haha. Marriage is a wonderful thing, but there are definitely valuable lessons at every corner. Great post!

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  8. Oh, my gosh, yes to all of these! Especially #3. So often, I used to expect J to just know how I was feeling or why I was feeling that way. That's definitely not how it works, though, and thinking it does leads to a lot more conflict.

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    1. Definitely! I know just what you mean!!

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  9. All of these things are so true! Especially #1 :)

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  10. Loved this post! I will be married in November so I am sure I will come to a lot of these realizations as well.

    xoxo, Jenny

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    1. Thanks so much- blessings to you and your marriage!

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  11. I love this! Though I am not married I have been dating my significant other for a little over 6 years and we have lived together for 3. I also too found that I was a good bit selfish when we first moved in together. Of course there are bound to be disagreements here and there but you always have to remember to be as kind as you can. Such a great post!

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  12. This was something I needed to read.. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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  13. Good points. You're right, it's not just about you anymore! It's important to compromise and bend at times, but you shouldn't have to change everything in order to accommodate your partner. You're still you, but with a spouse now.

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  14. Oh my goodness, yes! These were things that surprised me too!!! I love that you also share tips for how to work through them! <3

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    1. Oh for sure! And thanks, Susannah- I wanted that piece of advice with it instead of just being a rant ha.

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  15. I really love the way you wrote this post, it came from such a personal place. I just got engaged and I'm expecting big changes in our relationship but I think it will really help that we have lived our lives as a couple for the past 6 years. We have lived together, made all of our decisions together, adjusted and grown together.

    La Belle Sirene

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  16. Amen to the selfish one! I never thought of myself as a selfish person but marriage definitely opened my eyes a bit on that one...

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  17. These are SO true! I learned how selfish I really was so quickly. Also, even as an introvert, I thought we'd spend all our waking moments on the weekends together. Right around the time we got married, Dan took a new job where he had to work weekends. I had to learn to lean into my introversion and find ways to enjoy my time alone on the weekends -- or to find friends to go out and have fun with!

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    1. Great point. That would be hard for sure- but there's so much to learn in all areas of marriage!

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  18. I'm not married but I can see these things in my relationship. The first one is the hardest one for me. I'm used to be in charge doing what I want, when I want. So having to stop and realize I'm not in a relationship with myself and there's a whole another person there. Is quite a habit change.

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  19. This is such a great post! I love hearing things like this - I'm not married yet, but still so great!! :) xoxo

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  20. I agree with a lot of this. I know I have changed and grown a lot in our almost 12 years of marriage.

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    1. I think there is so much to grow and change with along the way.

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  21. This is so sweet, I love seeing how other people make marriage work. I'm the same as your husband I can't recharge with other people around either (so it's tough with two kids at home!). It's all about helping each other out and that includes giving a bit of space when needed.

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  22. Oh man, speaking your mind with kindness is my biggest challenge for sure. When you wrote, "Always assume the best in your spouse." Yea... I have to work on that. When I feel unheard or not important, I just immediately go on the defense. Great suggestions :)

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    1. It's definitely not always easier. I'm totally with you, and I have to stop and remind myself that his intentions are good, and not something to fight. Thanks so much for reading!

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  23. I find it to be insanely healthy to have your OWN LIFE outside of our spouse. You both need to do separate things, so as to grow and learn without one another, and then come together and teach one another what you learned. I feel like that strengthens bonds.

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  24. YES to conflict! When we first married it freaked my husband out if we had an argument and he would just immediately think that our marriage was falling apart. It took a while of me reassuring him that conflict is natural and that as long as we stay respectful when we speak then it's fine. We're now 6 years and doing fine (still with the occasional argument though, of course).

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  25. I love that you mention that you will both keep changing. I've been married almost 6 months, and so many parts of us have already changed. Since we're changing together, it is such a beautiful transition for us! :)

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    1. Thanks, Abbey! That's so perfect. I love changing together!

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  26. LOVE how practical this is. ANd the very first tip...what a whammy - but so true! Tweeting this out - it's golden.

    Coming Up Roses

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  27. Wow Kelsie, this is one of my favorite posts of yours yet! I can especially agree with #1 and #3. Each day, I find myself becoming MORE selfish and independent as I am at the stepping stone of my career. And for #3, the more educated I become in my master's, the more I realize how it's harder for women to take a stand. Men are naturally more privileged, and the more I realize that, the harder it is for me to walk about this world.

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    1. Thanks SO much Chelsea! Yes yes yes- I totally agree! You go girl.

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  28. Speaking your mind with kindness can be SO HARD sometimes! It's easy for tempers to flare or for assumptions to be made. I really like the solutions you gave for dealing with that and I'm going to try that in my relationship :)

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    1. I totally agree! And thank you- I hope the solution works well for you!

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  29. Yes to all of these! Especially #1 -- I had no idea I was so selfish until I got married! And just when I thought I had it figured out, Selah came along and made me realize how REALLY selfish I am. ;) But these relationships are so refining, and what a privilege it is to grow alongside our men.

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    1. For sure! I know that I'm going to be oh so refined through this parenting process. It truly is a privilege to be with such amazing men.

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  30. I just recently wrote a post on the worst marriage advice I got (never to go bed angry) and how it's so important to take a step back and gain some perspective. It's so easy to think about ourselves because hey, we're human, but I think you've covered some huge keys to a successful relationship.

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    1. Perspective is HUGE and makes a huge difference.

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  31. I LOVE this post and I really appreciate it! I have seen a lot of people lately talk about how marriage isn't hard, and to me, marrying IS hard because we are selfish humans, but the challenge is part of the blessing. We grow through all these things we experience- through all the surprises. And it brings about beauty :)

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