It was on this day exactly two years ago that I married my best friend! The day was absolutely perfect; an unseasonably warm fall day in Charleston, SC. We were surrounded by family and friends who’d traveled from near and far to be with us. We are eternally grateful for the love and support that we experienced on that day.
This journey has been one amazing rollercoaster ride, to say the least. I’ve learned so much in these last two years, and am certain there is plenty more to discover. Today, I’d like to share the top five things I’ve learned in my short time as a wife. 🚨Disclaimer🚨: I am not a relationship expert nor do I provide relationship advice (unless you’re one of my girlfriends, then you can get these words!). I am only speaking to what I’ve learned in my own relationship, and what I’ve found to be of importance for my husband and myself.
1. Communicate! Obviously, this one is a no brainer. I’m sure 99% of you guessed this would be on the list before getting to this point. Surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult aspects of being in a relationship for me. My natural instinct is not to talk, but to listen (hello, therapist here 🙋🏽). I’d much rather listen to my husband talk about his needs as opposed to opening up and talking about my own. On the flip side of that, my dear sweet husband sincerely thinks I can read his mind (no, seriously), and he thinks I know everything. He’ll ask me questions he logically knows I don’t know the answer to and genuinely expect me to have an answer (*sitting in traffic* H: “Hey babe, what’s going on up there? W: “Obviously I have no idea. I’m in the car with you!). So, though I’m often ready and willing to hear what he has to say, he already thinks I know it! In this conundrum, we’ve found that keeping the communication alive in our marriage is a concerted effort. It takes both of us checking in with each other daily, asking questions and truly listening.
2. Fight Fair. I’m sure some eyes just got wide, but anyone who says they don’t argue with their spouse is lying (yeah, I said it). The fight, however, is not the issue here but rather how you fight. I’ve learned that hurtful words can linger far longer than I could have ever imagined. As a result, I’m mindful of what I say when my husband and I are in the heat of an argument. Though restraint can be difficult to muster when I’m fired up, I’m cognizant of the ramifications tongue lashing my husband can bring. After all, I CHOSE to enter in this marriage, and I CHOOSE to respect him no matter what the topic of today’s quarrel.
3. Laugh!…A lot! This is by far my favorite thing I’ve learned. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to joke, laugh and make others laugh. It’s no different in my marriage. When my husband and I met, we were very much opposite. Though I’m nearly 2 years his senior, he was much more reserved and mature. I, on the other hand, was the overly gregarious comedian. Over the years, we’ve rubbed off on each other and taken on more of one another’s personalities. We both love to laugh, and are constantly laughing about some benign thing are another when we’re with each other. With every snort and chuckle, our connection and partnership are somehow deepened. My favorite is when we’re able to make a covert reference to a private joke while in public and share a good laugh. So, next time you see us out “kekeing up” (as we like to say), you’ll know what’s up.
4. Embrace Vulnerability If embracing humor is my most favorite lesson, then this has to be me least. If there’s anything I hate, it’s feeling vulnerable and exposed. I prefer to keep my issues and hurts to myself and process them alone. However, as a wife, I’ve realized that I don’t have this luxury anymore. Yes, I still process before I bringing it to my husband, but I now appreciate how important it is to actually bring my concerns to him. I also appreciate the fact that I need to be a safe place for him to be vulnerable as well. I can’t wholly offer myself as a refuge if I’m not willing to seek the same in him; tying back into the notion of communicating effectively and choosing our words and battles wisely.
5. Support, support, support! If I don’t believe in my husband, someone else will. And vice versa. My husband and I are members of a small group facilitated by our church (shouts out to my church home, CityGate Church) dedicated to married couples. In one of our sessions, we discussed one of the main reasons spouses often go outside of their marriages; lack of support. You may often hear someone who’s experienced infidelity say he/she wasn’t even that attractive, yet they somehow attracted the attention of their significant other. Now, I in NO way endorse or support infidelity or any excuse for such behavior. But, I can understand the gravity of our innate need to feel supported by our loved ones. So, my husband and I continue to support each other dreams, goals, aspirations and any other harebrained schemes we can contrive (mostly my harebrained schemes 😬).