A couple days ago, I posted a quote from Pioneer Woman from her live chat hosted by Barnes and Noble (I have to interject here to say that I much prefer Borders, but B&N gets kudos for hosting the chat). Anyone could post questions, and PW answered the ones she could/wanted to. One of the questions was from a young woman named Amanda who is getting married this summer. She wanted to know: "What is one piece of advice you would give a new bride?" Note that she said "one." :~)
This is PW's response: "Every relationship is different, of course. BUT: The first year of marriage is inherently difficult. Turf wars. Figuring out the "rules". Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. (Wait...huh?) Don't expect it always to be perfect. You'll go through seasons. Don't hold grudges. Don't bring up past hurts over and over. Embrace the differences between you and your spouse---don't try to make your spouse a version of you. Remember why you married him. Have his back. Have fun. Touch toes when you get in bed at night."
I LOVED IT.
So of course, I had to share with everybody who is remotely acquainted with me.
Which means I put the quote on FB (and cited my sources, as a good English teacher should).
Then a friend of mine suggested that I blog about the quote, since I am sort of a newlywed still and she wanted to know my thoughts. I told her that unfortunately, not only am I an inconsistent blogger, not very many people are interested in what I have to say on a day to day basis. I honestly just meant that there just aren't that many people who read this blog, so I blog whenever I feel like it, rather than blogging for my readers.
I discovered I have more readers than I realize. :~) Friends who I had no idea were interested in blogging. Strangers.
Does this mean I have to start being good all the time now? ;~) Anyway, in light of all this new discovery, Kat, this is to honor your request. I don't have time to talk about everything PW mentioned in one blog, so I'll do it in several posts.
I definitely agree with PW that every relationship is different, but there are some basic foundational truths that are necessary for a healthy marriage. There's no better time to lay down that foundation than in the first year of marriage. Obviously, you can learn the lessons later on, but why make life harder for yourself, right? Also, please keep in mind that I am still a newlywed, so I'm learning the ropes, too. I don't have it all figured out, but due to lots of personal mentoring by older women in my life, other couples pouring out into our relationship, and excellent premarital counseling, Nich and I feel like we set a good foundation in our first year.
1. "Figuring Out the 'Rules'"
When people live in the same space, even just as housemates, there are expectations, both spoken and unspoken. The spoken ones are easy enough. Wash your own dishes. Don't eat each other's food in the fridge. Put away your stuff. Let each other know when you'll have guests over. It's the unspoken ones that are tough to figure out. We all have different boundaries, and being married means learning about your spouse's boundaries, being sensitive to them, and respecting them - even if they are different from yours. As a good friend of mine said to me over and over while I was engaged, "Different doesn't mean wrong. Different is just different."
For example, something I learned early on is that the Nich is not responsible for my feelings. Let me clarify. Obviously, as my husband, and as the one person who has promised to cherish me for the rest of my life and take care of me, Nich should treat me with love and tenderness. But he's human. He's going to have moments when he's cranky. He can't be in more than one place at a time. In short, he's not perfect. I need to know that, and I need to give grace for that. And when I'm feeling vulnerable, grumpy, irritated, you name it, I cannot take it out on him. Nor can I blame him for it.
Let me make this clear. Say I'm feeling overwhelmed and rushed because:
1. I had a difficult day of subbing where the kids were awful and mean.
2. There was a roadblock on my way home, which made my 15 minute drive over half an hour.
3. I don't have time to go for my run.
4. I have to make dinner.
5. I have the closing shift at work tonight.
Then say Nich comes home and just wants a good, long "hello" hug from his dear little wife. And I flip out saying, "I don't have TIME for this! Can't you see I'm BUSY?" That's not okay, right?
I also highly recommend taking Cloud & Townsend's "Boundaries in Marriage" class if it's available anywhere near you. If anything, read their book.
Any other "rules" you can think of?
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner