After five years of being together, Gilson and I traveled to Sandals in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and said yes to love in the presence of our closest family and friends. It was the most magical time in our lives. Since then, we have grown and settled into the new roles that come along with saying I do. Thus far, this is what I have come to understand:
- There is no honor in being uncomfortable.
As a woman, I have many times adjusted to make others feel comfortable even if it means that I am uncomfortable. Throughout the years, I have recognized that this pattern of pleasing others works against me as it often times builds resentment. My husband has taught me that it’s okay to let him know when I don’t like or agree with something that he does. It’s actually needed! The issue does not lie in telling someone that you don’t appreciate something; conflict arises in the delivery of the message. Anytime something bothers me, I take the time to reflect, because, let’s face it, sometimes our issue has nothing to do with our partner. This brings me to lesson #2.
- It’s okay to talk about your past. We need to know the history to understand the present.
Have you ever heard, “The past is the past and that’s where it should stay?” Easier said than done! We are shaped by our previous experiences. There is so much to learn about your partner’s desires, insecurities, habits, patterns, and perspective. It’s all there in their history, we just need to be willing to explore the unknown territories. Through purposeful questioning while in an emotionally safe space, you can discover how your partner came to be who they are, especially, in your marriage. You won’t learn about your beloved without exploring their childhood or their past romantic relationships. And, word of advice, don’t ever use what is shared against each other.
- Learn to ask for what you want from your partner.
Many of us feel that that others, more so, our partner should automatically know our wants and desires. But, the truth is that sometimes we are not in tune with each other. We have demands outside of the home and are stimulated by more than just our marriage or relationship. Asking for what you want, decreases error. Asking allows you to be assertive and for your partner to be responsive and not reactive. Asking allows for communication and opens the door for appreciation.
- A healthy marriage takes work but it doesn’t mean it has to be hard.
Choosing to put your partner or marriage first is not a box to be checked off on a list. It’s not a chore, it’s a conscious choice. It may come with some resistance but it will result in a whole lot of growth and appreciation. If you remember that you are individuals who chose to dream together and chose to make decisions that lead you closer to each other, then how can it be hard? If you are both communicating and listening to each other’s desires, ideas, and challenges, there is no work; it’s a flow, it’s support, and an understanding. I know a couple that every few months review their finances and determine what has worked and what has not worked and adjust accordingly. My husband and I have taken that model and applied it to our aspirations as well. Every few months, on one of our date nights, we ask each other questions which allow for a dialogue of exploration and understanding (notice how I repeat this word).
- You will always be an individual.
You marry and became one; one household, one unit, one family. However, you still have individual minds, desires, and feelings. It is okay not to see eye to eye in every situation. Guess what, it’s actually a good thing! When you challenge one another, it allows for growth. This can be tricky but as a partner this is where understanding your own history and how you deal or don’t deal with perceived conflict is important. Through introspection and therapy (yes, I am a therapist with a therapist), I realized that when someone questions me, I become defensive. I recognize it stems from a decision I made during my childhood years where questioning triggers thoughts and feelings of inferiority. Throughout the years, I have learned ways to challenge the automatic thoughts and can now welcome a good challenge (still at my own pace). My husband learned this about me and now gives me the right amount of nudge and push that I need so I can continue growing on this journey.
As corny as it may sound, I thank my husband every day for being who he is, for growing with me, dreaming with me, and accepting me.
Don’t be afraid to manifest the love you desire and know that you are worthy of it!