So here’s a post I have been sitting on for quite some time. I’ve debated clicking “post” for some time now because it’s not just MY story but OURS, for so long I wasn’t sure if it was just my experience, or others as well, but after speaking to so many of you on social media, I know I am not the only one to experience things, and I hope that this post can help some of you.
So here’s the truth about marriage….
The first 5 years of your marriage will be the hardest ever.
I’m grateful I went into my marriage completely open minded. I did not expect a fairy-tale, and I did not expect white horses. I knew my husband well enough to understand all of his personality traits and he knew me. I knew that there was so much more to marriage then then just “love”. It’s more about handling your expectations, tolerance and forgiveness, and self-respect.
However, even I was “unprepared” for everything that those first 5 years can throw at you. The changes you have to make to your lifestyle, especially as a woman and as you move through life’s stages. It is so important to note that my husband probably experienced ALL of the same things I did, in different ways. So I cannot speak on his behalf, this is my story.
You see, you go from being a “single” women, managing your own finances and doing whatever the hell you want really to suddenly adjusting to two of you. Now you may or may not have lived together before hand, we didn’t, so we had to find our feet when it came to finances. How should we split household costs, who does the cooking, who does the cleaning and whose money covers what. What each other’s EXPECTATIONS were of being a husband or being a wife. You have to learn how to cook for two people without too much food going to waste, and just as you fall into a little comfortable bubble, of you and your partner, lazy weekend mornings and sharing dish duty, bam….. you realise that you are pregnant (for some).
Your partner, who you have lovingly made the most important person in your life and adored on, needs to adjust. Nights filled with watching endless TV by themselves because you are simply too exhausted to move from growing another human. Your body and hormones changing and you are suddenly facing the reality that once this little human enters the world, your bubble is going to change (trust me, there is NO preparation for this). Who will assume the role as main breadwinner and who will be there 100% for your child? You have to be there for one another and support each other.
Enter your first child and suddenly, let’s be honest here, you forget to be a wife (I know I did). Actually, with one kid I think I was still alright, when the second came I was full on 100% focused on motherhood. Its OK. It happens, more often then you think. It’s a whole new roller-coaster of responsibility for you and your partner. Who does what? Do you share bedtime duty and diaper changes? Do you take turns to lie in on the weekends? Welcoming a baby SHOULD BE the happiest point of your marriage right? In many cases it is, BUT, in many cases, it is also the MOST stressful, and the MOST tested you will ever be.
Now, every partnership is different, but I can almost guarantee that at SOME point one party will assume a greater responsibility on these things. Whether it’s the cooking or the bedtime rituals at some point one of you will do it more, and with that comes a little resentment. Your nights of going out “together” will at some point become “your turn” versus “my turn” due to balancing baby sitting duties and you will miss being the “source of fun”. Every now and again though, you need to come back. You need to check in. While having children together is the most beautiful, bonding experience ever, it will also lead to the most intense struggles you have ever had. When to discipline, when it’s OK to lose your temper, what values are important to you; the list is endless, your partner and you were probably raised very differently and nothing brings that to light more then when you share a child.
In those first few years, you go from budgeting for 2 to suddenly budgeting for a family of 4 or 5. Figuring out how to cook family style meals and whose is paying for nappies, school fees or extra circulars.
The BIGGEST piece of advice I ever got is…and wait for it, this is going to ruffle feathers was; “not everything NEEDS to be equal, in fact in life nothing ever really is. You both have strengths and weaknesses. One of you will be able to carry more on their shoulders than the other. Work to your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get taken advantage of course, but don’t expect everything to be equal.” This is GOLD! Look at your strengths and weakness of support each other in them. If you can throw away your expectations, you are in for a happier marriage.
Know that you can’t change your partner. And you should never have too. You fell in love with ALL of them, so embrace ALL of them. Flaws and all. By change I’m referring to their innate personality, not necessarily picking up socks from the floor, because that is trainable (ask my husband, he trained me hahahaha) 🙂
Realise as much as you love each other, at some points, you will come pretty darn close to hating your partner. Yep it’s a strong word, but it is a very fine line. For it is only the people that you love the most in this world that can crawl under your skin so much. The people that know you the most. It is how you handle the conflict that will grow you the most.
The bottom line is the first 5 to 7 years of marriage are FREAKING tough. You are building your family and life throws all the change it can on you. Be realistic, check in with your partner and acknowledge the tough times. But celebrate! Celebrate everything beautiful, count your blessings and cherish them. Don’t lose sight of each other and why you chose to marry each other. Compromise. Focus on what is truly important and toss everything else out.
I can safely say after almost a decade of marriage and 20 years of being in my husbands life, I still love him more than anything. He drives me up the wall and down again, he is the most stubborn, hot headed person I know, but then again, so am I 🙂 Whether you like it or not he gives you the harsh, blunt truth and has a habit of not sugar coating anything.
I look forward to the next chapter of our marriage, we are about to welcome our fourth (and very final) baby into this world and I know over the next few months new hurdles will come our way. The one thing I know, is that he is my constant and insha’Allah, he will be forever.