Recently, I had a conversation with a single friend in which she said to me, “Getting married is easy. I need someone to tell me how to stay married. I need to know that there you can go on after the Worst”. I, simply, nodded and chuckled. One, getting married is not easy and Two-staying there is even harder, but it’s possible.
Like most love stories ours started with two people finding each other, love happening, and then marriage. And like most Romantics, I followed the script. For our wedding song, we selected Raheem DeVaughn’s “Mo Better” as our wedding song, because it embodied everything we were and had done for each other, and it still does. But I was not prepared for what followed, no matter how many great (and not so great) examples of marriage I had my life. As I make my transition from newlywed to seasoned wife, I wanted to give you a few tidbits, from my experience, that I can only hope will ease a new bride’s newlywed experience.
- Saying “I Do” DOES change people. It’s a misconception that a piece of paper does not change how you love. There are advantages [and disadvantages] that come with your nuptials. While it may not change how you love each other, it will change how you handle situations that will become the sandpaper for your marriage.
- The Fairytale is just that. During my first couple of years, I tried to become this…Stepford Wife. The shit was exhausting. Not only did I try to be something that I felt he needed and wanted, I became someone that was unfamiliar to both of us. I believe it’s OK to have a vision for your marriage but don’t lose yourself trying to achieve it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Use your heart less, and your brain more. One of the worst and, now that I think about it, the best pieces of advice I received as a new bride was “You’re just going to get over it”. I was livid at the time. Now, not so much. Wearing your heart on your sleeve gets you nowhere. This does not mean ignore your intuition, but be stealthy in your approach to handling situations with your mate. It’s going to take a clear head to make the necessary decisions to move your marriage forward.
- Forgiveness is something you’re going to have to work at more than you expected. It doesn’t come easy, nor swift. There’s no time limit to when you should forgive but do it quickly for your sake.
- Seek Counsel. Anytime you are dealing with emotions you can’t understand, you need to talk, kick or scream that mess out. Whether it’s a spiritual counselor a professional therapist or a support group, you are going to need a listening ear. You don’t have to take all advice to heart, but keep things in mind and apply it where it fits. Not everything is going to fit the occasion.
- Patience is truly a virtue. In the midst of friction, continue to speak life into your marriage. Just breathe and let God take control.
- People are going to judge your marriage, whether it’s a happy one or not. So do y’all. Remember that stuff I mentioned in number 1? Well, here’s what it applies. Here’s where you develop the cojones to defend your marriage. This is also when discernment kicks in. You will learn who really cares about the success of your marriage and who’s just really thirsty for tea.
- The happy times really do outweigh the bad ones. I know it sounds like a cliché of bull, but it’s true. As a newlywed, you are setting borders and boundaries for your marriage. There have been great times, and really bad times in my marriage. Some so bad, that they would make anyone reconsider their decision. In the end, know your limits, accept what you will, and move on.
I was once told it would take 10 years to really know your partner. So far, we realize we aren’t perfect, but we know who and why we married. We celebrated our 8th anniversary this August. I’m excited about our journey there but until then, I’ll settle for my mo’ better. This is us.