I heard my elders when they told me that marriage takes a lot of dedication and hard work, but I never thought that would be the case in the first year. Once I got engaged I honestly thought the beginning of my marriage was going to be a breeze. I was on cloud nine and so excited to finally marry the love of my life that I never for a moment thought about the obstacles I was about to face once we said I do. I’m a keep it real with you, marriage is hard and the first year was a struggle. Half way in I almost thought we weren’t going to make it. I thought to myself, why do we keep having problems and issues? Is it just us? Maybe we weren’t ready to get married? So many questions crossed my mind. I was beginning to doubt our relationship and I couldn’t understand why we were going through this rough patch so early in our marriage. I tried to put up a facade that we were perfect and everything was fine, but deep down I was breaking. I was lost and didn’t know what to do. The thought of losing this man killed me. After seeing my parents divorce and remembering the emptiness I felt when my dad moved out, I was determined to not make that an option for us. I was ready to give my all to figure out where we were going wrong.
Communication & Compromising
One thing I soon realized was that the issues we were having were very common. I honestly thought we were the only couple whose honeymoon phase quickly ended after the honeymoon. This was a sudden relief to know that we weren’t alone. Communication and compromising was one of the biggest things we struggled with in the beginning. Before I was married I was used to making decisions on my own. If I wanted to stay out late I could, if I wanted to hang out with my friends I would, but after getting married all of that changed and I struggled with that. Taking the time to consider my spouses feelings in my actions took me a while to get used to. In the beginning we kept bumping heads, but once my husband finally communicated his feelings behind it, we came up with a compromise that both of us liked. Unfortunately it took us a while to be able to keep our lines of communication open. I know at times we think its better to hold our feelings inside because we don’t want to feel like we’re nagging or we’re scared, but that actually does more damage then good. Whenever my husband would leave his dirty clothes on the floor, or leave dishes on the counter, or go out after work without checking to see if I needed help with the kids, I would become frustrated and hold my feelings inside, until I eventually blew up. I would lash out at him and become so furious and he didn’t understand where my anger was coming from. To him he thought we were fine so it was a surprise to him that I was so angry. I then realized that we can’t have a healthy marriage if I don’t communicate with him when something bothers me. Letting it pile up and exploding is not a good idea, it just makes matters worse and in turn causes resentment to your spouse. Think about it this way, if your spouse is doing something that you don’t like, how will they know to stop or fix it if you don’t tell them. Men are not mind readers. You have to be direct and blunt with them in order for them to get the picture.
Another struggle for us was combining finances. Now this can either make or break a marriage. When you have two people that lack compatibility in this area it can be destined for disaster. My husband and I would constantly bump heads over our finances. Shoot we still do sometimes. I would get so frustrated with him because he didn’t understand the importance of bargain shopping. I didn’t mind taking the extra time to look for a good deal, I actually enjoyed it. Him on the other hand, felt like his time was limited and didn’t feel the need to shop from store to store looking for the best price. In the beginning this was the main cause of our arguments. I like to budget and plan ahead and he likes to buy as we need which I feel can cost us more in the long run. When you are used to managing your own finances it can be a little difficult when all of a sudden you have to think of someone else when it comes to making purchases. No more impulse buying for me. After lots of communication we finally came to a common ground. We made a plan to put away a certain amount into our savings each time we got paid. We also agreed that any purchases over $100 we would consult with each other first. That way when big amounts were withdrawn from our account we knew exactly what is was for.
Finally, I still struggle at times with time management. When only one child was in the mix it was hard but still able to do. Now with two children in the mix, working a full time job and building my brand sometimes I’m ready to pull my hair out. My husband and I already had one child before we were married and then I got pregnant with our second on our honeymoon, so we really didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy being newlyweds without kids. So right away I had to find that balance between being a mom, a wife, a sister/friend, and a full time career woman. Finding that happy medium is extremely important because if not you tend to lose yourself. You get so caught up in your everyday routine from taking the kids to school, going to work, cooking dinner, getting the kids ready for bed, cleaning and doing laundry that you start to forget about the things you used to do for yourself that made you happy. This hit me hard after having my second. I was so stuck in my routine and unhappy with how it was going that I started to resent my husband. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and husband more than anything in this world, but I love myself too. And I was tired of putting my wants and needs on the back burner. I missed wine night with my girls, and going to the gym as I pleased and my long pamper days. I felt like I lost my freedom and I wanted it back. Luckily with the help of a planner and the support from my husband, I was able to gain some aspects of my life back. I began planning my days out in order to find down time. Now with my packed schedule it was a little hard, but I noticed if I wake up an half an hour earlier I can easily go for a run and do a quick workout at home before everyone wakes up. The building my job was in also had a gym, so I was able to do another quick 30 minute workout on my lunch break. My husband also compromised and started to keep his schedule open Saturday mornings so I could enjoy some pamper or some alone time to focus on my blog or other things I enjoyed doing. We also agreed to have date nights once a week, weather it was a night out on the town, Netflix and chill without the kids, or going out to eat on our lunch breaks when we couldn’t find a sitter. One key to a strong marriage is to never stop dating, so we promised that we would continue to do that. As I began to do the things I used to love the resentment and stress started to dwindle away. I now look forward to the family time, the mommy/daddy time and the “ME” time that I get.
Now that my husband and I are finally over that first year struggle things have been starting to look up for us. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have days where we want to ring each other’s neck but we learned to communicate and work through those difficult situations. Trust me when I say this wasn’t always easy. A lot of patience, dedication and support from other married couples really helped us get back on track. I can honestly say I am finally starting to enjoy marriage. Accepting the fact that no marriage is perfect, makes ours perfect for us.