Yay I am married! I am so excited!!! Or am I??
Before you start creating preconceived opinions, let it be known that I am not a “guru” in the space of marriage, but I would like to contribute to the conversation! So you have had your big or small wedding ceremony, all the laughs, butterflies and excitement might or might not have settled in. Whichever way, you are married and now you are “IN IT”. My disclaimer and most important thing to note is that I 100% percent believe in the institution of marriage and that marriage is indeed a mystery and gift of Life!
Having said that, and having been married a couple of years, I can say with certainty that all those half-drunk women at my bridal shower were right! Well at least to some extent! You can never really be ready for the subtle surprises that come with marriage. I could delve into some them, but I am certain, a yearlong deep dive into the topic is not what you are looking for! My hope today is to talk about one of the most important parts of marriage that will save you, or at least tone down the friction that is yet to come. That, to me, is ACCEPTANCE. So before you nod off to sleep because you expect a lecture, I have broken down into 4 separate articles, the importance of acceptance in marriage. The first two and what I think to be the most critical are the following two points of acceptance:
1) The Enhanced You…
So before marriage, most of us think we have managed to figure out “who we are” and have managed to box ourselves up neatly on the shelf, then here comes the curve ball called marriage. Saying you become a different or new person is a bit extreme, but what I do know, is that you become an “enhanced version” of you. You may have racked up a record of being the party girl, the workaholic, the therapist, the adventure seeker or whatever, but once marriage kicks in, it’s important to accept the changes that may come. Because you now have a better half, it’s difficult to live up to the standards that may have been typical traits of your personality. Where a person dedicates most of their time, is an almost clear indication of where their priorities lie. Your girlfriends call you for sundowners or a cocktail or two, you’re unavailable. Your boss asks you to finish up a report required the next day, you’re unavailable. Your friend is having a complete and utter emotional breakdown at 10pm, you’re unavailable. It’s easy to feel annoyed with yourself, or to annoy your friends, with the endless “excuses” but let me tell you hun, there is joy and relief in accepting that things cannot and will not be the same as they were before marriage. I don’t mean this in a negative way, I mean it in a positive one! Your life has been enriched in such a way, that you now have a new set of ingredients thrown into your cocktail manual. Now it’s for you to pick and choose the quantities and measurements you will add to the new cocktail that is a representation of “The Enhanced You”.
2) The Enhanced Him….
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it's only after marriage that I started noticing that my husband throws socks on the floor that could stay there for days unless I intervene. It’s an endless road when it comes to pointing out the faults of our partners, so I won’t go down that road, today. What I will say, is that it really is true that men “don’t change” or often rarely change. Again, the road of negativity and self-righteousness is never-ending and dark. I would like to point out a few realities that we don’t like to talk about when we are dishing out dirt on a “why my husband drives me crazy” afternoon, sponsored by “Johnnie Walker” or whatever wine the girls like to drink at the get-together’s. Most, if not all those little things that irritate you about your spouse, are qualities that reared their little heads out whilst you were dating, but you chose to ignore or decided that they “were not a big deal”. Oh you missed the imaginary basketball hoop that is our laundry basket, with regards to your socks?? No problem honey, I am so glad you wear socks in comparison to that hoodlum I dated, who had the audacity to wear sports shoes without socks, and would totally stink up the room, called my Ex!
The point here ladies is, trying to change your man is a futile effort. The best you can do, is accept the person he is or has become. It will not only save you from some bitter fights, it will help you focus on the positives that fall under the 80/20 rule about marriage. If you have no clue what I mean about the 80/20 rule, then I think you need to commit to our weekly blog posts, because girl, you have much to learn! Allow me to challenge you for a bit and ask you….how do you think your man would react if you often complimented him on his positive traits and spoke less about the negative ones? It doesn’t take a Doctorate to figure out what the outcome of this act would be, and what perception it would give your spouse about how you feel about him! Do men have an ego? Yes! Do they love it when you speak positively to their ego? Yes! Case closed!
The reason why acceptance is such a critical step is because it eases YOUR burden. "But I still need to pick up the dirty socks" you whine? Well, you and I need to ask ourselves a critical question…..does it take more energy to fight about the dirty socks than it takes to lift them up and throw them in the laundry basket because you know he can’t be bothered about them?? A liberating trick I have come to learn is half the things I “put up with”, tolerate or choose not to fight about when it comes to my spouse, gives ME a lot more freedom, joy and sanity. Why? Because he, unlike me, doesn’t sweat “the small stuff”. If he isn’t petty about it, why should I?
Be true to yourself, let him be true to himself…together, accept yourselves as individuals who were attracted to your differences and accept that the enhanced you and enhanced him can create a relationship based on the unconditional love that comes with the act of “acceptance”.