First off, sorry for being rather unfaithful to my blog already. I have no real excuse. I blame Vampire Diaries for sucking up all my free time and for being so addicting. I also blame Mortal Kombat. Ok, its my fault. I wanted to post something that would line up with the orginal intent of my blog which in part was celebrating this new season of life... the season where I'm all of a sudden a wife and roommate of this guy who I promised to stand by forever.
I don't profess to know much of anything about marriage given my relative lack of experience, but I will share a few things I've learned so far. Perhaps in a year I'll look back at these things, scoff and say " HA! What a CHILD" but, that's life. You learn things then unlearn them in exchange for new better things but for now, here are some things I've learned about marriage.
1) Its important to have fun.
Honestly, fun has been the savior of so many moments for Jon and I. I think an important part of selecting the person you're going to marry MUST be the ability to get absolutely goofy. Perhaps that's closer to the top of my list than it is yours ( I'm a goofball, duh) but, I think there's massive value in playing together. It lifts you both and increases intimacy if you ask me. My close friend Erika bought Jon and I Mortal Kombat VS DC universe and I'm telling you folks, we're LOVING it. Erika and her husband Josh are a great source of inspiration for us when it comes to marriage. They've seen some seriously difficult times and have risen above and grown and their marriage makes us feel like we have something to really look forward to as we keep walking together.
One time Josh came home to a nerf gun on the front porch and a note that said " Arm Yourself". Yes, his pregnant wife initiated an all out nerf war. That joy, that sense of friendship and freedom is pretty key, even for us newlyweds.
2) Don't get married if you don't want to change anything about yourself ever.
I think there's some terrible connotation to the thought of compromise in marriage. I know a lot of women who are like " I'm not gonna lose my independence just cause some MAN marrys me blah blah blah". A lot of us formed that view because we've seen friends meet a guy and totally lose herself in him. I'm not talking about THAT kind of change. In the context of marriage, its not such a terrible thing to compromise. Actually, its absolutely necessary.
I grew up an only child and didn't date until I was 20 years old. Yeah, I developed a fairly STRONG sense of independence and I really was convinced that I'd end up with someone who was pretty much exactly like me... because I'm right... all of the time. I don't think I'd ever SAY that, but once that was challenged it became obvious that I FELT that way.
Changing with someone, letting one another's hearts chip away at certain parts of you that might need to be smoothed or re-shaped is a really beautiful thing. In the context of marriage, when its supported by love and commitment, its pivotal to growth. Infact, I don't think marriages can stay afloat without the unspoken agreement that "I am a sinner, I will hurt you, and I will need to be willing to change". Otherwise, we'd just grow apart and live alone in our self-righteous pride. Right? I know I would.
3) You are not one another's enemy.
Ok, this is important for me. I think 80-90 percent of Jon and I's fights aren't about what we're fighting about... Let me clarify, sometimes we seem to be arguing about me losing at Mortal Kombat, but really we're arguing about why I don't feel valued, which is really a fight between me and the lies I allow myself to believe. It SEEMS like its Jon's fault, but I'm not fighting with Jon, I'm fighting with my pain.
Jon isn't perfect but he's NOT the real enemy even when he's NOT perfect. Does that make sense? Like, when I'm being a real a-hole, the truth isn't that I'm out to get someone, the truth is that there's a battle within me and I need to surrender to goodness. The enemy isn't one another. Get beneath the conflict to the REAL battle and fight THAT together. The times where we're in a tiff and Jon points out that I'm succumbing to my fears or wounds and he chooses instead to pray with me for those things rather than fight me... those times are what its all about. Those are the healing times.
4) Don't freak out if things aren't what you expect. In fact.Get rid of expectations.
I have this problem. I am a worst-case scenario obsessor and I have an alarm system that is triggered if something doesn't seem right that way I can prepare to get the flock out of there and save myself. Its a mechanism I'm working on but, it happens even relationally.
I've been enjoying marriage a lot because its a done deal. When we were engaged and dating I was ready to pull out of things if I needed to. I made sure I had one foot out incase I realized one day that this isn't right and I need to escape. I know that sounds terrible but... no, I guess it is terrible. Its a way of tricking yourself into thinking you can avoid pain. So, once it was done and over with... I felt like I was finally enjoying our relationship without the fear of it ending. There were walls up that I didn't know EXISTED that came down after we made it official.
I'm really learning that expectations can be joy's worst enemy. We're going to be in seasons where we loooove eachother, and seasons where we annoy one anther. We'll go through times of change and suffering and all of them are normal marriage things but the minute I think " Oh no, I SHOULD be feeling THIS way " I become destructive to our unity. Paul talks about contentment in scripture a lot on purpose and I feel like I'm starting to understand why-especially in the context of marriage!
5) Its not you, its we.
See what I did there? Marriage is a decision that makes you all of a sudden NOT the sole proprietor to your life. That sounds scary but really, it comes in to play rather naturally.
Its important to live into that truth when it comes to plans and your inner process etc. You aren't just YOU anymore. You're a part of one another and for me, in areas I didn't WANT to be included in decisions etc. before I now feel cut off if I'm not. I know that sounds clingy but its just the deal. You discover that your healing as an individual is your healing together. That when you're unhealthy- you BOTH are unhealthy. Its crazy how quickly that happens, too. On a REALLY intimate level. So, don't go rogue. It'll bite you in the ass.
That's all for now. Hopefully you er... learned something today? I don't know. Marriage is rad. Its workin' for me... but the above principles are sort of KEY to it working. Y'dig?
Until next time,
Carly Calmes the First.