Photo: Frankie Shlain
I often write about the sunny side of married life, and while yes the good outweighs the bad, I would be lying if I told you that there are not difficult times.
The big fluffy elephant in the room of every marriage is conflict. Yes, every marriage has conflict. And just in case you didn’t know, marriage is just plain hard. So if you thought it was just your marriage or relationship that has hard days, nights, weeks, or months, you are completely wrong. I hope that brings you comfort. It did for me.
This first year of marriage has been nothing short of an amazing learning experience. I had all of these dreams as to what I thought marriage was supposed to be and was disappointed when I found out just how difficult it was. We were together almost five years before we were married, but there was so much more I had to learn about J. I read somewhere once that, “it doesn’t matter how long you are together, on the day that you get married it is like you are committing your life to a total stranger.” These words are truer than I ever could have imagined.
J. and I are young. Some people say too young to be married because marriage is a forever kind of thing. We have been together since I was eighteen years old and he was twenty-one. Finding the one when you are so young means that you have a lot of growing up to do. I like to think that J. and I are still growing up together. When you are married you become one with the other person; it is not just about you anymore, it is about us. This proved extremely difficult for me because here I was becoming one with someone else when I barely knew myself. We are learning a lot about ourselves through each other. Through him, I have learned that I am stubborn, impatient and selfish, but I have also learned that I am loving, nurturing, and beautiful inside and out.
He supports me, loves me, and drives me bat shit crazy sometimes. We fight, we yell, we curse, but we make up. I spent most of the first year of our marriage blaming him for his flaws and all the things I thought he was doing wrong. If he could only fix these things, then and only then would our marriage be perfect. Now I realize that the biggest problem in our marriage was not each other or each others flaws – it was ourselves. We lacked communication. Sure we talked everyday, but we didn’t really communicate. I fully expected J. to read my mind, and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t. I was completely unfair and my expectations were unrealistic. We are learning to communicate better, expressing our needs in every aspect of our relationship. This does not mean that we do not fight – trust me, we do. But that is ok. It simply means that we are working hard at (and I say this with confidence) a great marriage that will last forever.
Unfortunately, conflict is a part of marriage. It is how you handle the conflict that is most important. Know that it takes time, love, and patience. We don’t have it all figured out yet, but we have one year down and many, many more to go.
I want to leave you with the words of Charlotte York (yes, from Sex and the City) that I think are really raw and true. When she is asked how often she was happy in her relationship and she answers: “Everyday. Not all day everyday but, everyday.” I know that at the end of the day our choice to be married was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me.