I spent a lot of time thinking about marriage when I was single.
First, I was a single girl, which bought me at least an hour each day mulling over the idea of marriage. Second, I was in my late twenties, which mean that I had watched my entire friend group get married, made brand new friends, watched those friends get married, and made new friends again — so I was surrounded by marriage all the time.
Finally, I kept a blog about dating and relationships, which meant I was answering questions that required me to think about the dynamics of dating and marriage.
Regardless of all my mulling, marriage is different than I expected. In a couple of ways.
Over the next week I’ll be posting a list called “fifteen things I believed about marriage before I was married.” Some of them are from me, thoughts that have surfaced in the past nine months since I’ve been married, and a few of them are from my friends — other bloggers and thinkers who are also married, and also have valuable perspective.
I’ll share five each day.
Today, I’ll share four of my own thoughts and one from Emily Wierenga, the author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, with Dr. Gregory Jantz. For more information about Emily or her book please visit www.emilywierenga.com.
1. If I could get a good husband, I would have a good marriage.
My husband is the best man I’ve ever met — and (surprise surprise) he’s not the perfect husband. You know why? He’s only been at it for about nine months, and this job has a learning curve.
The more I can learn to have as much grace for my husband as I have for myself in the learning process, the better my relationship will be. Good husbands (and good wives) are not handed to you on your wedding day. Good relationships are cultivated, with grace, compassion and gentleness over time.
We teach people how to treat us.
2. Good communicators have good communication.
When Darrell and I did our compatibility assessment in pre-marital counseling, we both scored really high in “communication.” It wasn’t really surprising to us. In fact, I think we felt pretty good about ourselves at that point. “Well,” I can picture us saying, “looks like we won’t have to worry about mis-communicating!”
Um, yeah. No such luck.
We mis-communicate just as much as the next couple. In fact, sometimes i think we’re so attached to the way we say things that we miscommunicate more than other couples. Either way, often when we discover what the other person thought we were saying, we’ll think to ourselves: How did you get that from what I said??
3. Things just work themselves out.
Things don’t just work themselves out. My fears or insecurities, our arguments, hurt feelings, misunderstandings — none of those things just “work themselves out” without intentional, honest conversation.
It’s not easy, but you have to do it. You get out what you put in.
4. Men want sex more than women.
I’m not sure where I got this idea that men are just sex machines, wanting and thinking about sex all day everyday, and that I would just have to get used to having sex more often than I wanted. Regardless where the idea came from, it has threatened to be really dangerous in my marriage.
If men only want sex all the time — why doesn’t my husband want to have sex right now?
Sex drive, I’m learning, has something to do with gender, but not everything. In fact, sexual desire is complex and nuanced. It has to do with mood, self-esteem, and how the relationship functions outside of the bedroom. It’s probably also different from person to person.
5. I could do life on my own (from Emily Wierenga)
Before I got married I thought I could do life on my own. Well, with God, of course, because that’s what good Christians do, but mostly, on my own.
I dated guys because they were fun but my mum always said I’d have a hard time getting married because I couldn’t submit. And, for the first three years of my marriage to Trenton, she was right. It was hard. So hard that I relapsed back into anorexia because I couldn’t get over the fact that my name wasn’t mine anymore and my bedroom wasn’t mine anymore and my body, wasn’t mine anymore.
But the thing that I had missed, in all of this pining for myself, was that I was never my own to begin with. And everything good in my life, including my husband, has been in spite of me, not because of me.
I am not my own. My body has never been my own. My possessions are not my own. God owns it all, and everything I have is a gift—including this love that I share, till death do us part.
So I am learning to submit. To a love so much bigger than me. And it’s so much better than anything I have ever known.
Question: Are you single or married? What are some of your thoughts about marriage? To reply, click HERE.