Ah marriage. Something taught to us as kids growing up, equivalent to the holy grail. Everyone I knew either had it or wanted it. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when Daniel and I said “I do.”
I was married at nineteen. Pregnant, and two years into my relationship when we decided to take the plunge. My biggest reasoning was based on religion. I knew it was a sin to live together. Especially having a child on the way, and not being married. Oh yeah, that was a big “no no.” Daniel, bless his heart, just wanted to make me happy. In all honesty though, neither of us knew the responsibility we had given ourselves at such a young age.
I think it was the pressure we put on ourselves that made it so hard in the beginning. It was also the fact that we didn’t give ourselves time to just be together, we missed a huge part of the dating experience. So much of our life together seemed like someone had hit the fast- forward button.
One thing that I learned (and pretty recently) is that the most unfair thing you can do to someone you love, is put them on a pedestal. I had done this to Daniel on many occasions and the resentment built up really quickly.
“We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrine-like area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them.” – Madonna Ciccone
Which is exactly what I did. I was frustrated by these unrealistic expectations I had for him, that I had given him. How shitty is that? He was being human and I was upset by it. But you know what? He loved me anyway. He is the most forgiving, selfless person I’ve ever met and his qualities outweigh, no… surmount his shortcomings. I could not have picked a better father, husband, or best friend to share my life with.
I see now just how immature I was, and how selfish I was too. I wasn’t thinking of our marriage as a partnership, I was looking out for my own ideations of what marriage was, and what everyone else expected it to be for us.
This year we celebrate eight years of marriage and ten years of being together. Quite honestly, there were days I didn’t think we would make it this far. I just thank God that he helped us pull through. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:
You cannot expect your partner to be perfect, when you aren’t. I’m emotional, moody, needy, very grouchy in the morning, a control freak, the most indecisive person you will ever meet, among other annoying things, and yet Daniel never tries to “fix” me. So to expect him to be perfect is not only unrealistic but very unfair. Don’t do this.
Marriage is teamwork, you are not working against your partner. Sometimes it feels like you are always fighting an uphill battle in your education or in your career, but your marriage is not a part of that battle. Lift each other up, support each other, take turns succeeding, and it will feel like it’s a win for everyone. Which (spoiler alert) it is.
Change is good, don’t fight it. Learn to love it. I fought change for so long, I thought that if we changed, we would do it in opposite directions, and not end up together. That is a possibility, don’t get me wrong. We’ve basically grown up together, and we still have so much growing left to do. But if that happens, it won’t be because I clipped his wings. I refuse to let that happen now. The beautiful thing I realized, is that change is usually part of that growth. Growth can be a painful process, but what we get out of it is so amazing. I feel like with each chapter I love Daniel more, and I learn so much more about him in the process.
Never stop being friends! Being a parent and being married is not always fun. However, you have to hold on to those things that attracted you to that person to begin with. Daniel is my best friend. I love spending time with him. Going on dates, running errands, or even just hanging out at home folding laundry together. It’s not always glamorous, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s what makes it real! Don’t ever stop laughing together, being silly, and having fun. Life is just way too short.
- Gypsy Mama at Heart