One of my sorority sisters posted a question on Facebook asking what people do better as a result of being married. The topic caught fire as everyone chimed in. I responded with:
1. Being able to understand that not all battles are worthy of being fought. Before engaging in a fight or an argument, asking “do I want to fight about this?” is key. Sometimes we have other stuff going on – we’re mad about something at work, we’re thinking about other family issues, we’re tired, etc. and our partners become collateral damage. Fighting affects other areas of the relationship and it often clogs the channels of communication and it makes things complicated. That is not to say that it’s not healthy to disagree and to debate, but to be cognizant of when, why and how you’re disagreeing so that you can change or improve the quality of your relationship.
2. Being able to articulate my feelings (and not allowing resentment to build because of not expressing my emotions). Our partners are talented!!! They worked up some magic to snag us lol. But even the most gifted individual cannot read minds. We can’t assume that by putting out stink bombs – nonverbal cues (eye rolling, slamming doors, being withdrawn, etc.) that our partners are going to get exactly what’s happening in our heads. We have to be able to articulate from our perspective what happened, how it made us feel and what we’d like to see or do moving forward so that we don’t find ourselves in a particular situation again. Being too general “you hurt me” does not give the information needed for our partners to modify their behavior. When the behavior isn’t modified, resentment builds, as the list piles up. It’s not fair to have resentment over something that has not been expressed.
3. Being intentional about growing together by writing down shared goals and a vision for us, versus separate visions (which can cause couples to grow apart). On a annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily basis my husband and I check in about our individual goals and our collective goals. One of the most important roles that we’ve agreed to share is to be accountability partners, which means we have to know what the other person is working on. We have a shared goal of being healthier, so we challenge each other when we see the other eating unhealthy & we purchased a treadmill to make it easier to get our workout in during these cold winter months. The person that I am now, is not the 25 year old my husband married. We all change and we all evolve. In order to ensure the relationship stays strong, you have to have shared goals & shared interests, otherwise you run the risk of one person evolving right out of the relationship, or one person staying so stagnant that the two fall out of love because they don’t have a shared vision for the future.