Marriage–Not What I Expected

July 20th, 2011

Guest Post by Dawn P.

When I was a little girl I dreamt of my wedding day, wondered who the groom would be and played it out in my mind as a fairytale every time. So naturally I thought that once we said ‘I Do’ everything would be magical and happily ever after.

I found my Prince Charming, we were head over heels in love, we had a magical wedding in a magical location, but after the honeymoon the happily ever after didn’t come so easily. To my surprise marriage equaled work and lots of it. It took us a good 2 years before we figured out the happily part. We loved each other to the moon and back, but couldn’t figure out why and how we hated each other at the same time. Before marriage we were so madly in love it made people sick and suddenly as man and wife we were in rough waters.

Looking back I think there were two main things ruining our marital bliss; selfishness and lack of communication. We both had our own separate opinions, ideas, wants and expectations (some being completely unrealistic) of what marriage was supposed to be and neither of us were getting what we expected, but we also weren’t communicating our expectations verbally to one another.

I will be the first to admit that the selfishness was 90% me. I was the first of most of my friends to get married so while my husband and I were home on a Friday night my friends were out having fun, going to parties and experiencing new things. I felt left out and that marriage was boring and far from the glamorous lifestyle I had envisioned. I just assumed I would get married, buy a home and start having babies. [I think this is a common misconception in the young newlywed world. We want it all and we want it right away] In reality we were just starting life which consisted of both of us working and going to school and living on very little income. I always wanted more and better and I let it frustrate me. I was never happy with what we had and I may have taken it out on my husband. Neither of us was happy and I would be lying if I said we didn’t consider divorce.

It wasn’t until my husband started listening to Dr. Laura on the radio that things started changing. We purchased her book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” and with a lot of coaxing on my husband’s part we read it together.  Before we started we made an agreement to talk openly and freely about what was mentioned in the book and if we felt something mentioned applied to either one of us we could point it out and not get upset. Basically we had a Marriage Counseling Session each night with Dr. Laura’s book as our therapist. We did one chapter at a time and the first few chapters were difficult. Being open and expressive was a new thing for us as a married couple, but as we got further into the book we dove deeper into our feelings and got better and better at communicating. We were able to discuss and point out flaws and areas each of us needed to improve as individuals and as a couple without getting mad at one another. It was difficult for both of us to hear what we weren’t doing right, what we were doing wrong or not doing at all; but it was THE BEST thing we ever did. We were digging deep into our feelings and souls and by doing so we were growing closer together. The book was obviously written to women about their husbands, but we found that certain areas applied to both of us or at least allowed a discussion on a topic that was much needed. (Obviously there were areas of the book that didn’t apply to us at all and we just skimmed over those)

After we finished the book we were an entirely new couple with a healthier relationship, stronger bond, realistic wants and a better friendship. We realized that rather than keeping any grievances to ourselves being open and honest in a nice, calm manner was the best way to discuss our feelings and resolve any issues. We were able to understand that we can’t read each other’s minds and we can’t make one another happy without expressing our wants, needs, feelings and desires. And most importantly we came to the realization that the old martial advice of ‘put your spouse first’ was by far the best advice. Marriage began running much smoother once we were communicating and being selfless.

This new found union did not happen overnight; it took work, time and a lot of effort on both our part. We have now been married for almost 7 years and we still have to work on our relationship on a daily basis. There are days we can be selfish and days we don’t communicate well with one another, but since reading that book and with time it’s only gotten better and easier.

We are so grateful we both decided to put some effort into our marriage so many years ago instead of throwing in the towel. I have since learned that marriage is a team effort. In the past seven years we have had a whirlwind of highs and lows with trials and events that life has thrown at us; however, with constant determination and a little elbow grease we can achieve our happily ever after.

 

We want to thank Dawn for sharing her story with us! It is a wonderful and honest account of trying hard to make a marriage work even when things don’t always go as planned. Thank you so much!