A lot of people have come to either me or Wes or both when they are struggling in their marriage or relationship, I know I’ve touched on being honest in friendships and how that can be perceived as a negative thing, but I wanted to write more about marriage & how honesty can make or break a relationship and most importantly how to make each other happier in your relationship. I apologize in advance, because some of this is repetitive to a previous entry, but they are really important things to keep in mind in a marriage, or any serious relationship if you want it to end up being successful.
Honesty: I’ve said it before, but aside from loving & respecting each other UNCONDITIONALLY, this is probably one of the most important things. If you truly love someone and it’s the right type of relationship, you should be able to be honest with them… NO MATTER WHAT…. Whether you have cheated on them, you are keeping secrets (even if it’s making an important purchase on your own without talking to them about it first and you two always discuss finances together) or if it’s something bigger (an ex might have contacted you recently). To me, no matter what the circumstances are, I feel like it is the responsibility of both people to keep each other in the loop on important things. It’s worse on both of you emotionally in the long run, if the person finds out about things from other people that you hadn’t mentioned to them directly. Honesty is a hard thing for couples sometimes, because no one wants to me left just because they told the truth. If they leave you for being honest, then there are obviously bigger issues in the relationship anyway. Sometimes you don’t want to hear what that person has to say, but maybe it’s exactly what you NEED to hear sometimes. If you can listen without interrupting and take the words to heart and make an honest effort to see where the person is coming from and at least TRY to do your part, then you’re doing something right.
Respect: You have to respect each other. Whether, it’s not putting them in an uncomfortable position, or it’s not being abusive. Respect each other: physically & emotionally. Sometimes, if I’m upset, whether it is with Wes or it’s with someone else. Sometimes, I need him to not try to fix everything immediately. We’ve gotten really good at this over the years. Sometimes, his automatic reaction is to hug me when I’m hurting emotionally, but sometimes, I just need him to be near me and let me come to him when I’m ready. Sometimes, if I’m upset with him specifically, I have to say “Please, just don’t touch my right now” or I will just leave the room. He has gotten really good at listening to my verbal and non-verbal cues and he lets me have my space so that I can process everything internally first, and then he knows when I’m ready, I will come to him and we will talk about the situation or he will hug me first and then we will talk about it, but he gives me my space.
Another thing I see a lot of it, especially in the social media world is that people over-share a very specific fight they had with their significant other very, very publicly. It’s okay to reach out to a close friend or family member, but keep your significant others’ feelings in mind when you do that. As a general rule, people pick sides in relationships and they do it without getting the full story first most of the time. By sharing too much about your hardships with too many people, you could be making your significant other out to look like a bad guy, and that isn’t healthy behavior in the long run either. If you are a part of a social media group (like on fb) and you want advice, I would be very careful how much “bad stuff” you say to other people in a public setting, or how much you say to your mutual friends that love both of you. It puts everyone in a weird situation if you do that.
In girl world, sometimes when we gripe over certain things not being done the way we would have preferred, men only take it as griping for no reason. In reality, it’s probably over something much bigger or she feels she isn’t being heard or cared for or whatever… I personally believe that when these types of issues come up, it’s more about the lack of good communication between each other. As a general rule, the man in the relationship is the “fixer” and the women is the “emotional one”… So, when a woman is upset with her husband and the dishes aren’t done or whatever task that was asked of the man that wasn’t done fast enough or in the right way, sometimes women will get upset and feel like they aren’t being heard. Men are much simpler than that and have the attitude typically of “As long as I get the dishes done before bed, what’s the big deal?” It’s just how men and women process things differently. Wes & I run into this problem sometimes, mostly because I have OCD tendencies so when things aren’t done in a certain way or amount of time, I get upset because there is an extra signal that tells me “Until this is done, you have to keep worrying about it.” Sometimes he gets way more of this than he ever deserves, and I openly admit that I do it.
That’s another thing, sometimes you have to stop being right and realize that you play a part into the negative things that happen in your relationship. Even if you didn’t start the fight, if you’re engaging in it, instead of saying “I want to fix this. I don’t know how to, but if you can tell me what you need from me, I will do everything in my power to help fix this”. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree, but you can’t always be right, and it’s OKAY to admit you were wrong & they were right and MOVE ON. You have to be self-aware. Know your faults, flaws or short-comings and try to overcome them, or at the very least be able to say “I know I do this. I can’t control it sometimes. I’m sorry, but I am trying.” I find myself doing this a lot, because I’m very nit-picky about things, because they bother me internally… If you can help a person understand where you’re coming from, they will probably be more sympathetic and try to understand you, especially if you can make them aware that it is sometimes something you can’t control.
One piece of advice my mom gave me a long time ago that probably would have saved me a lot of heartache and I wish I had actually listened to it sooner than I did, is “If you can’t deal with something that person does that bugs you, you either have to learn to deal with it & get over it, or move on.” I love Wes very much, but he FIDGETS and fiddles with things constantly. I tease him all the time about how many things he has broken of mine because he fiddles with stuff. It still drives me crazy when he plays with silverware at the table before the meal or mindless is messing with something that has an annoying sound, but I LOVE HIM, so I either ask him to stop, leave the room or take the object away from him. lol He’s like a big kid, but that’s part of his charm. No, I don’t love some of his little habits, but he would say the same about mine. We make each other aware of them, work on them and move forward. It’s life and you can’t make each other happy 24/7, but you can at least try.
Another aspect that I think is important is the little thoughtful things, whether it’s doing a chore the other person hates to do, or doing something that isn’t in your normal routine, like a random date night for no reason. I think it is so important to let each other knows in some way everyday, that you love them. If you look up the book The 5 Love Languages, that book I believe will help everyone in a relationship. Everyone has their own love language (way that they either show love or want to be shown love). Some people love little notes and flowers or a random Starbucks drink just because, and other people really love it when the significant other just kisses them randomly for no reason whatsoever. Chances are that your love languages are different too. Sometimes we get wrapped up in showing love in the way that we want love shown, that we forget that our significant other may want or need an entirely different type of affection or love shown towards them. If you can work on really knowing what they need and want and try to give them that, then I fully believe that you have a great chance at success.
Wes & I went to a pre-marriage counseling session (partly because we wanted the discount on our marriage license, but mostly because we have many, many divorces between our parents and we want ours to be one that lasts, is unconditional isn’t just one of convenience). We want to WANT to be married to each other. As much as I didn’t want to do it at first, that one day class was probably the best thing we did for our marriage. We learned a lot about ourselves and how to help each other be happy. People hear the word “counseling” and they think “Now, tell me about your problems or what you don’t like about them” but in reality it was more of “What would you like out of your marriage, what are your needs, do you feel heard in your relationship, etc etc etc”. I would recommend anyone who is thinking about getting married, to seriously consider doing it. You learn a lot about yourself and your future spouse in a non-threatening (but eye-opening) way. If you can actually put that information to good use, then you will probably be successful.
I will close by saying, absolutely, positively, NO person or marriage is perfect (even when they seem like they are on the outside). If you can learn to WANT to self-improve. If you can realize that circumstances and people change, and you can learn how to adapt to the changes in a positive way. If you can work on things within the relationship with an open heart and mind and willingness, then you have potential to be the good example of how things should be, instead of how things shouldn’t be. I’m blessed & very proud to be in a marriage that is on the positive side.
I really, truly hope that this entry helps someone.