Marriage Advice For A Modern WomanMay 21, 2012 No Comments
After you get engaged, it’s easy to become bogged down with planning the wedding, if you choose to have one. But while being bombarded with emails about chair covers (seriously, never give your email address to anyone in this industry), occasionally it dawns on one that hey, one is going to be married after all this! And that’s a pretty big deal for one, is it not?
This concept can be frightening for some, which I think is part of the reason couples can freak out over planning the party (remember, it’s only a party): focusing on chair covers (according to that email, it’s a really key issue, ok?) is a lot easier than examining the pretty heavy stuff that’s going on in your life.
Together forever: hurray!
Together forever: wow, *gulp*…?
It goes without saying that I love my fiancé and truly believe deciding to marry him is the best life decision I’ve ever made (I’m sorry, stick-blender-margarita-and-soup-making-thing, buying you just has to come second now). This being the case, committing the rest of my life to him has still been something to get used to. We lived together for two and a half years before getting engaged, and during that time I didn’t focus on certain aspects of our relationship as much as I do now. It’s not just cutesy things like that fact that I’m going to have to hear him blow his nose incredibly loudly every morning for the rest of my life (every. morning…) – a lot of it’s deeper than that. We’ve always had a very stable, equal relationship, however since getting engaged, I’ve seen both of us examining this balance with greater scrutiny than ever before.
Suddenly, washing the dishes when it isn’t my turn isn’t just an inconvenience that I’m sure will balance out at some point, it’s a potential precedent setter. With marriage approaching, every argument is amplified as we examine its potential life-long implications. I’m finding it harder to laugh things off like we usually do – this is the rest of our lives we’re talking about here.
My fiancé and I both recognize this change in our perspectives for what it is and nothing has come close to a deal-breaker. I did think, however, that it would be both wise and interesting to gather advice from the married couples I know who have truly equal relationships in which all endeavors are shared and mutual respect is a given. Below are some of the best things they told me.
- This is nothing new, but my advice is to Communicate, every day in every way. That means listening and hearing as well as speaking and doing! One cup of tea made for me is worth at least a thousand words. If you communicate truly and openly then you know each other – if you then don’t like what you have, well then that is a sure sign you shouldn’t be together, which is OK, as people change. At least if you BOTH always communicate you have the chance to change and grow together. Communication makes you a strong unit.
- Be your partner’s unconditional champion, defender, and supporter.
- I’m with Mel Brooks when he said: “Marry funny. Everything else goes away. Funny lasts to the end.”
- Make lots of friends and work at keeping them. Make friends with other couples, but also friends you enjoy individually. Most of us need more stimulation than just our constant partner can provide and we need someone to whom we can “vent” without necessarily telling our partner.
- It’s about being married to your best friend, and having a real teammate in life – someone who’s always on your side no matter what. So if that person does the clichéd forgetting to put the toilet seat down, you don’t really mind because a cold ass is nothing compared to the warmth of his arms.
And finally, my absolute favorite piece of advice for maintaining a happy, equal marriage:
- Beware the Archetype, which changes who you are and what you have been to each other. Thwart your natural tendency, which will inevitably arise, to think of your partner as Husband, with all that culture, tradition, observation, and literature as taught you to Expect. And help him to see clearly when, on occasion, he cannot help but expect his Wife, instead of who you truly are.
Tune in two weeks from now for my final column: Conclusions…?
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