As kids, boys and girls are raised a little different from one another. Girls are given kitchenettes and baby dolls. They begin an imaginary life of what they want when they get married and how they want it. They immediately begin playing house. While boys are given power tools and things to build. They are told to go out and conquer the world whether you’re a Fireman, Police Officer, or President. They can be whatever they want to be! On the flip side girls are creating their preconceptions of how they want their family life to be 20 years down the road. We want the marriage, with the house and white picket fence, the two kids, and a dog!
Then as teenagers going into college years we get involved in minor relationships here and there. All we know is what we have seen our parents go through or perhaps close relatives. No one takes the time to explain to you the pro’s and con’s of relationships. The fact that your exes will forever play a part of your life no matter how long ago the relationship was. Soul Ties (we will have to get into that another day). We have no clue as to what is required and expected from one another. We are just out there to figure things out on our own.
As we venture into adulthood, we find that relationships start going into this “on again and off again” phase. We just go from one relationship to the next, finding nothing to work and this is when women tend to develop the “Miss Independent” attitude which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. We come up with all these prerequisites of what our partner should be. Suddenly, we find ourselves engaged and NOW WHAT?
While I’ve never been married (not yet anyway) but engaged a few times (read about those HERE), I wanted to end February aka as the “Love Month” with an inside peek into marriage; but from people who are experiencing it on a first hand basis. So I reached out to several people of whom I know and asked them all the same 7 questions. No person was aware of the other individuals who were being asked these same 7 questions or their answers; however, you can see where some of the answers are similar to one another.
*Disclaimer: These are the individuals opinions based on their own marriages and their truths. Their answers may be used as inspiration or an eye opener but be aware that all marriages/people are different. Please seek professional counseling if you feel it is necessary–if we need to have a couples therapy session via blogging–I’m all for it!*
- What has been your biggest struggle/challenge as a married couple?
CJ- Learning to compromise. That it’s a team effort.
BS- Realizing that people are raised differently than you and because I’m use to doing one thing a certain way doesn’t mean that they are used to doing it that way. In a nutshell, communication.
MK- My biggest struggle has been “role” expectations and finances. You grow up believing that the woman does the cooking, cleaning, etc. while the man takes care of the finances, fixing what’s broke, and cutting the grass. While it was expected that we do everything 50/50, I also believed that the man should take care of the finances by whatever means necessary. That has been our biggest challenge.
SB- Communication. But I think that’s the same for any relationship.
DB- Agreeing on how to raise our child.
JP- Talking the same language. Trying to be heard and understood while also hearing and understanding your mate. Knowing that we both have feelings and all feelings matter.
MC- Communication. My husband thinks I should be a mind reader.
- Do you have any advice for those who are getting married or perhaps newlyweds?
CJ- Don’t let outside voices in. Marriage should between God, you, and your spouse. Listen more than you talk and try not to ever go to bed angry.
BS- Communicate. Everyday will not be great. Keep the communication line open and always be willing to forgive even if it is not your fault. Never go to bed angry and remember your vows.
MK- Don’t lose yourself, you are still an individual. Have separate accounts along with the joint accounts.
SB- Never stop dating!
DB- To let go of the independent mentality.
JP- Take time out for just the two of you. Go on dates, spend time at home alone, COMMUNICATE effectively. Explain what you mean. Don’t jump to conclusions.
DP- Make sure you know each other as well as possible.
MC- Don’t lose your identity. Maintain who you are as a person. Have faith in your spouse. Encourage each other and to strive for better. Avoid becoming stagnant in your marriage. Always take a vacation. Try new ways of doing things together. Ladies, always have your own money.
- (a) What would you do differently, if anything? (b) Is marriage different from what you initially thought it would be prior to getting married? If so, how?
CJ- (a) If I could do anything different, I would have listened more early on. We are in a much better place now, but that took more yelling than it should have. (b) Yes, marriage is different that what I thought it would be because I went in with a lot of makeshift ideals.
BS- (a) The only thing I would do differently is not have so many people in my wedding. (she laughs) (b) I wouldn’t say it’s different. You are still the same person that you were when you were dating.
MK- (a) I wouldn’t be as argumentative. My daily prayer is, “Lord guide me to be very quick to hear and very slow to speak.”
SB- (a) I would have a smaller wedding and perhaps purchase a bigger house. (b) It’s only different because you have to put forth more effort. You can’t just leave and walk away when there is a problem.
DB- (a) I wouldn’t do anything different. (b) It’s what I expected.
JP- (a) Instead of falling in love with my partners potential I would fall in love with who he was at that very moment. (b) Yes, it is different, because it is harder to maneuver when two minds, wants, and needs are involved. But I would rather have him there than not because he helps bear those burdens.
DP- (a) I wouldn’t do anything differently. (b) A lot of explaining yourself.
MC- (b) Marriage is about growth, learning, believing, trusting and understanding. Those are all the differences.
- What is the best thing about being married?
CJ- Having someone to grow and develop with, someone to bounce your ideas off of. Having someone who loves you at your best and your worst. Having someone who is under the covenant of God with you and wants the best for you. Oh, and someone to put your feet on at night when it’s cold. Someone to take the trash out, open tight jars, and warm up the car (which is most important).
BS- Being married to your best friend. The inside jokes, the laughter, and companionship. Having someone who is all yours. The love, romance, taken care of each other and knowing that you have someone in your corner no matter what.
MK- I love laying down after a long day and laying on my man’s chest and just watching TV. Just being held takes all my worries away and makes me feel safe and protected. I love cuddling.
SB- You always have a best friend to go through life’s ups and downs with you.
DB- Knowing that my spouse has my back, right or wrong.
JP- For me, the best thing is the fact that my husband is my protector (earthly).
DP- Having someone else to depend on; a second half.
MC- Feeling loved.
- Since being married have you learned anything about yourself?
CJ- I’ve learned that I was a control freak. I would ask him to take the lead on things but I never really trusted him with it because I was so used to having control.
BS- I’ve learned many things about myself. I’ve learned that I’m not single anymore and that I have someone to help me. For a while I was so used to doing everything on my own, that once I was married I would make decisions without talking to my husband first. I had to stop and realized that we are a team!
MK- I’ve learned that just because I’m married doesn’t mean I have to settle. That I must take time out for me. Happiness is priceless.
SB- I’ve learned how bad my OCD really is.
DB- I’ve learned to be more open, to compromise, listen better, to understand that I’m not always right. I’ve also learned how to avoid conflict by not allowing things to escalate and I’ve learned how to pick my battles.
JP- Yes, that I don’t have much patience for people.
DP- Yes, characteristics about myself; good and bad.
MC- Yes, that I can really and truly love someone. I’ve learned that the person that I love will take care of me. The one thing I had to understand and learn to accept is the word compromise.
- Is it important to socialize with other married couples?
CJ- It is important to have other married couples as friends. The conversation is different and you can learn from others. It is good to have separate friends too.
BS- If you know married couples it is not bad to socialize with them, however, someone else’s marriage may not be as successful as yours so regardless of who you talk to or get advice from, always seek God first.
MK- I think it is important to socialize with married couples. However, it is not something that we do enough of. I believe having a couples unbiased opinion in a fun atmosphere is always good. You never know when you are able to learn from them and vice versa.
SB- No, not really married couples per se, but more friends in general. I think it’s good to socialize with other people.
DB- Yes, it is important when you can, otherwise you’ll find yourself going out with your friends more.
JP- Yes, it gives you an outlet. It is fun and it shows you that it is not all that bad. You get to see that you should laugh at your frustrations a lot more than get angry.
DP- At times.
MC- Never stop socializing period. What I don’t think you should do is socialize with anyone that has a single mind complex which a lot of married people do. Don’t associate with people who is quick to tell you to leave your spouse.
- Finally, how long have you been married?
CJ- 7 Years
BS- Almost 4 Years
MK- 14 Years
SB- 10 Years
DB- 26 Years
JP- 3.5 Years
DP- Almost 4 Years
MC- 9 years
First, I would like to say THANK YOU to those who were gracious enough to participate. I know that being vulnerable isn’t always easy, so again THANK YOU! I hope this was a little inspiration to all of those out there in Lovers land; either single or married. Just reading the responses were very eye-opening for me. It definitely made a light bulb go off.
Keep those fires in your marriages burning. Remember people are looking up to you each and every day. This isn’t to put pressure on anyone but to say, no matter what, hang in there! I pray that God continues to bless your marriages each and every day!
Did anyone else learn anything from looking inside our guest marriages? Any married readers have anything they would like to add? Feel free to comment.
FYI: Some of the answers were shorten to fit the blog and may have also been paraphrased but all answers are of the individual.