Being married does not come without its challenges and many couples stumble their way through a less than mediocre marriage for decades. As we celebrate 32 years of marriage this week 🤯, I am sharing the 5 marriage game-changers that I wish I had known sooner.
Knowing these earlier in your marriage can save you from a lot of hurt and confusion from unrealistic hopes and expectations, and help you grow a more fulfilling marriage sooner than later!
My 5 Marriage Realizations:
#1. Marriage is not happily ever after
When I got married at the age of 22, I imagined that the bliss I felt every day in our dating life would continue on through marriage and if any squabbles came up, we’d quickly recover and get back to the butterflies and magical moments.
What I learned is happiness is based on circumstances and this is incredibly fickle!
Focusing on joy has made a huge difference in my marriage (and life, for that matter). Joy is a character trait that I can choose to develop and walk in. The more I choose to be joyful in life the more that joy overflows into my marriage.
#2. Marriage is a daily choice
I didn’t realize after our wedding day that with each day, each argument, each distraction, I was (and still am) constantly given opportunities to choose my husband.
Will I let this argument with my spouse lay a breeding ground for contempt to grow or will I choose connection with my husband?
Will I let the appearance of an old flame in my life create a fantasy and create betrayal in my mind or will I choose my husband?
It is a daily and conscious moment-by-moment choice.
The more I choose my husband and stay the course for who I am committed to be as a wife each day, our connection and marriage grows stronger.
#3. Marriage is a giant mirror
Marriage is a reflection of me back to myself.
When I am frustrated about something, my marriage invites me to look at my contributions. What is my part in the reality that I don’t like?
I get to ask myself, “If I show up one way in my marriage, what does that reflect back to me?”
I was so focused the first 20 years looking at my husband and pointing out all of his shortcomings that I missed everything that I was doing that was deteriorating and growing a disconnected marriage.
When I let my marriage mirror and reflect back to me, I get to learn and then choose to grow and become the person and wife I am committed to be.
#4. Two villains and two heroes fall in love
As humans, we are both villain and hero (picture a little cartoon devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other).
Our villain wants us to be comfortable, play small, and blame everyone else,
Our hero knows our potential and the impact we can have as we own ourselves and the impact of our choices on our spouse and marriage.
Every day our villain and hero are at war. When we get married, our villains like to conspire together and push each other’s buttons and sometimes call out the worst in each other. This is very human, and yet, each day we can choose if we want to call our heroes to rise above!
#5. Marriage grows through tension
Conflict can be the avenue to deep connection with our spouse, if we let it.
The more rich the marriage is, the more connected you become, and this does not happen without tension.
When my husband and I would fight, I thought something was wrong. Instead of taking the villain approach and feeling sorry for myself when conflict comes up, I get to call up my hero and I look at our tension as an invitation to growth and close connection.
As we show up and work together through the tension, listen to each other, share our hearts and fears, and what is wanted and needed, we are taken to new depths of closeness in our marriage.
Tension is the gift!
If you avoid the tension, your marriage will become quite despairing.
If you want to hear me talk about this more, I invite you to join me on my latest YouTube episode, “Avoiding the Marriage Mistakes I Learned the Hard Way”
What do you wish you had known in your marriage? Do any of these resonate with you? Head over to the YouTube episode and I would love to hear from you in the comments!
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I would love to connect with you!
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