I was not ready for marriage.
This is not to be construed as “Marriage was a mistake” or “I do not love the man I married.” Nothing of the sort.
This is an honest and stripped down truth that I have only come to admit months after saying our vows. It’s a truth that I have come to realize that I have to own up to in order to move on and continue to help grow our marriage into it’s own and beautiful entity.
I cannot imagine it’s an uncommon realization for newlyweds, though I can believe that it’s something we will not readily admit and maybe even deny, especially just coming out of the gate. But, for me at least, it’s something that needs to be confronted in order to continue on. My realization of it stems from some conversations with my husband, as well as just some general personal struggles I’ve been working through.
Married only a few months apart, my sister-in-law and I will often volley between us observations, frustrations, and encouragements of the newlywed life. She will often send me articles on the subject, and through that I have come to discover some great blogs and great voices that have help serve as what I suppose I could refer to as therapeutic inspiration (and not even on marriage alone, but life in general). I know they have helped me on this particular journey.
I have always been an independent soul. I like to think I strive best on my own, though in reality a lot more credit is due to my supporting cast. I love my alone time. I’m resistant to being tied down. I like having an escape option available. I am most pliable when I’m allowed to do things on my own terms. I truly enjoy bringing people happiness, but struggle with getting past looking out for number one first. Selflessness is something I need to work on, big time.
Not necessarily the best prerequisites to taking on marriage.
But admitting and knowing faults is the first step, right?
During our engagement, I wouldn’t say I had an unrealistic idea of marriage. I never got caught up in the fairytale idea of wedding planning or happily ever after. I knew about the ‘honeymoon period’ and that it ends eventually, that marriage takes work every day and that it’s not always sunshine and daisies. I held a general confidence that D and I would ‘make it’. But book learnin’ can never quite take the place of experience. You can never truly appreciate the trenches until you are down in them, living it.
I read today this article from the Darling Magazine blog (click here to read it), about a guy who is truly down in the trenches with his wife. Through the struggle, he has learned about what marriage truly means. Instead of quitting and giving up which, as he points out, is an all to common (and unfortunately, accepted) reaction these days, he draws strength and growth from it instead. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, there is beauty still.
Every marriage and each person in that marriage is going to have faults, just as each comes with their set of attributes. Personally, I need to learn that being married does not mean one must lose her individuality. The reality of being tied down in only in the eye of the beholder. Focusing less on myself and more on others just might bring me more satisfaction than I could imagine. Change is inevitable and change is a good thing, if you let it be.
I have a long way to go when it comes to being the best partner in marriage for my husband. And that’s okay. Theoretically (and optimistically) we have sixty plus years to figure this thing out. It’s not going to be perfect tomorrow or the next day or even decades from now. What is more important is that we continue to approach it genuinely and with as much heart as we can muster.
“Love’s not just something that we’re in, it’s something that we do.”
Clint Black, Something That We Do