You guys know that old saying that says people who assume make a donkey's hind end out of themselves and others? Well, I guess you could label me a donkey hind quarters because I tend to make a lot of assumptions. Turns out I had some assumptions in mind as I went into marriage. Now I am not sure when these assumptions settled into my heart and mind though I would imagine it was gradual over the course of my life and marriage. Some of my assumptions were true but some...well some were not.
Turns out some of the things I assumed about married life were not all that accurate. My husband and I got married in mid-November of 2014. So, as of today, at the end of February 2015, we have been married three and a half months, which very much makes us newlyweds.
I almost didn’t write this because I realize that we know very little about marriage compared to seasoned married couples. I decided to anyway, though, because even three months in I have learned a lot! In a year or two, I am sure I will have many more lessons to share, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some value in the lessons I currently have to share.
Before I dive in, let me say that I LOVE married life. It is absolutely awesome. I am having the time of my life. It is overwhelming to me that my husband is mine. Like, for life...Crazy. I love it. I had never lived with a man before my husband, and we both come from interesting upbringings. We both entered this marriage with expectations. Unfortunately, expectations don’t always line up with reality.
Misconception #1: You won't be lonely anymore when married
Reality: Lonely before = Lonely after.
This one was quite surprising to me. I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 20. I spent three years living on my own. From time to time I had a roommate, and it was during those times that I loved living out on my own. However, most of the time I lived alone. I loved those seasons until I hated them. I would be so content being alone for such long periods of time that I would isolate myself and allow myself to fall into these fits of depression. Soon anxiety would overwhelm me and wreak all kinds of havoc on my relationships. Then, one day I would realize, “I am alone. I am alone and I don’t like it.” I would feel so lonely during those times.
I thought that when I got married I wouldn’t have time for those terrible behavior patterns. I thought that my permanent roommate would be the solutions to years of negative behavioral and relational patterns.
I have learned that if you are lonely before you get married, you will probably be lonely after you are married. Bad behavior and relationship patterns don’t cease to exist because you’re married. I still have to work to stay “others-focused” so that I am building healthy and involved relationships with my husband, friends, and family instead of sinking into myself, neglecting those relationships and allowing depression and anxiety to attack me with their lies.
It is not my husband’s job to break those habits, nor is it his job to control my emotions or what I choose to believe.
Misconception #2: Once you’re married, conflict will be easier
Reality: You'll handle conflict married, the same way you did before marriage.
And now all the seasoned married couples begin to giggle at the silly newlywed. I really thought this. I looked forward to marriage because I thought it would make conflict easier! I don’t think I ever outwardly expressed this misconception. I simply thought it in the back of my mind.
Mike and I had to learn to communicate while we were dating. We both came into this relationship with terrible communication skills that we had learned from our families and previous relationships. We spent around four years doing it terribly! Sometimes I am shocked we made it to the altar at all.
During that time, though, I always wished we could just hurry up and get married because once we were stuck together, we’d be forced to work things out. Ha. Nope! Maybe to an extent that is true, but we can let an issue stew for quite a while before we go anywhere near it in a reasonable way. We can go days passive aggressively tiptoeing around an issue that we need to work out. The fact is that even after marriage you still must learn to communicate better. It’s an area you’ll never master because room to grow always exists.
There will always be ways in which we can become better communicators.
Misconception #3: Once you're married, he’ll be better at reading your mind
Reality: Your spouse is still not you, even after marriage.
This one is funny to me now. I love my husband, but my husband is not me. He does not do things the way I do them. He does not react to things the way I react to them. Again, my husband is not me. Even now that we’re married, he is still him. Crazy.
While engaged, we decided that we wanted a relationship in which he is allowed to be him and I am allowed to be me. When we disagree, I try not to turn my husband into myself, and he doesn’t try to turn me into himself. We don’t try to convince each other to agree with our own points of view. Instead, we seek to communicate our sides.
Sounds awesome, right? Hard to do.
I find myself expecting him to do things or not do things. Then I get upset when he doesn’t do them, or when he does them but in a weird way that isn’t how I would have done it. Why does that make me so mad? WHY?! In these last three months, I have learned the answer: even after marriage, he cannot read my mind. He is still him and that’s okay. It goes right back to communication.
If I don’t express to him what I want him to do or, more importantly, what I need from him, especially emotionally, he will most likely not meet that need. This is (usually) not his fault. If I am feeling neglected because he is super-busy with work and I don’t tell him, even though I know he is very distracted, I can’t blame him for my feelings and emotions.
Choosing to punish him is unfair and unproductive.
Instead, I should bring it to his attention. Pull his focus back to me for a minute and communicate what’s happening in my heart. My husband loves me and will try to listen and help.
Misconception #4: Losing your independence and space will be a big issue
Reality: You adapt quickly and when nurtured, love just keeps growing.
I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I thought that even though I was madly in love, I would have trouble giving up my independence. I thought that having my husband with me constantly would cause me to want space and lots of “me time.” I was worried that living with him and having him always around would make me grow tired of him.
I still have a large degree of independence. That’s just ingrained in me, and I didn’t lose that to marriage. However, I enjoy depending on my husband because he is so dependable. I love loving him. I trust him to be a great leader and provider because his character testifies to the fact that these traits are part of who he is. We both are pretty busy with work on the weekdays. My husband runs a construction business and I am trying to build a business. So in the evenings and on the weekends, I cherish every moment I get to spend with him. I have yet to feel like I need space from him. I love being with him.
My love and my desire to be with him grow every day. I know I am dangerously close to letting this one become a Brad Paisley song, but I mean it. I didn’t think it was possible to love a person as much as I love him now. When he has to go out of town for work, I miss him terribly and count down the time until he’s back. I understand when the Bible tells us in Genesis that the “two shall become one flesh.”
We are two parts of one thing and when we are away from each other I feel that absence.
Maybe this will lessen in time, but I sure hope it doesn’t. I love being in love with him and looking forward to just doing nothing with him. I will fight to make sure that is always my mindset and would encourage all couples to do the same.
I am curious if I am alone on these expectations! Please feel free to share if you relate to any of my misconceptions or share you own in the comments below. Also if you enjoyed this post please consider sharing it out with your friends and followers. There is a share icon below this post to make that super easy for you!
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