7 Lessons I've Learnt Over 7 Years Of Marriage

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As my wife and I hit the 7 year marker in our marriage I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share 7 things that I have learnt about marriage over the last 7 years of our journey.


1. My mother can no longer be the main woman in my life

I learnt this one pretty early on. To be precise it was on a Thursday evening at the dress rehearsal of my wedding.

That was the day that I realised that some of the choices I make and some of the requests that my wife will ask of me will not always be in line with what my mother wants. I learnt that day that I need to stand my ground and defend the wishes of my wife over my mothers wishes. This wasn't an easy thing to do. I could see that my mother was frustrated at the fact that I would not do as she had asked as it went against what my wife and I had already agreed on and planned.

My mum won't mind me sharing this as it happened over 7 years ago and she has forgiven me (and I have forgiven you too mum).

Picture this. We're in the church being told by the minister what to expect from our big day whilst he ran everyone through the order of things to come during the service. The minister asked me, "Who will be taking pictures with us as we sign the register?" And I requested that it would just be the best man and the chief brides maid. My mother however had other ideas and decided to vocalise them at that point.

Now my wife and I had already planned what was going to be happening on this day and so it was my duty to stick by that, no matter who decided to contend it. To cut a long story short, that night I had to go back and forth in a very public verbal debate with the woman who birthed me and make a stand for what my wife and I wanted. Did I end up getting a backhander for it... Actually I did! Right outside the church, but sometimes that's the price you pay for standing by your woman. 

 

2. Marriage is far more than just a couple of love birds

Bill Withers wrote a song called 'Just The Two Of Us' but I have found that in many cases marriage can sometimes be anything but that. 

Take my mother-in-law for example. In the early days, if my mother in-law called our house phone I would have thought to myself "I'll have a quick chat, go through the normal formalities when you answer the phone and then pass the call on to her daughter" after all, that is who she was calling for... right? Wrong! My actual phone calls with my mother in-law are nothing like this. In fact sometimes I think she is calling to speak with her daughter but in fact she has just called to check in with me.

My wife also spends a lot of time speaking with my mother and father too. She often finds things out about my family that I never even knew. The new information she is given is based off of her personal relationship and time spent with them.

Over the years this has highlighted the importance of building my own personal relationship with my wife's side of the family. And even though these extended relationships were originally founded on my connection with my wife, they are now based on far more. I now share my own experiences and stories with my wife's side of the family.

It's hard to call someone family just based on a certificate that was signed on your wedding day, however integrating into her family and making your own connections will earn you the title of Son, Brother, "Cuz" or even be referred to as a Family member.

I couldn't imagine my sister-in-law introducing me to someone as her "sister's husband" or her "niece's dad" because I'm more than that. I am now her brother!


3. Everything is said in love (even the stuff you don't want to hear)

'It's not what you said, it's how you said it.' Ever heard this before? Well I have learnt that when you're married you will not always hear the stuff you want to hear. Sometimes you may already be hearing the things you need to hear but are unable to take it in properly because of how it was packaged or how it was said.

I have learnt that sometimes I need to look beyond how things are being said and look at the content of what is being communicated. This is where the important information is. Most of the time this information is being shared with me because it's for the betterment of our relationship.

If I'm honest, in real life, feedback will not always sound lovely and be packaged how we would prefer to hear it. Whilst we can't always dictate emotions or control the way people feel the need to express themselves, it is important to know that it's all said in love.


4. How to nip it in the bud with thirsty women

I remember one night when my wife and I were at a bar in London. This was wayyyy before we were married, when I was young and lacked life experience.

Anyway. We were listening to this poet do his thing and when he finished everyone clapped and as I am sitting down with my hand resting on the back of an empty chair I started to feel this hand rubbing my hand. This lady must have been in her 30's and I had just left my teens. I didn't quite know what to do so I froze, but my then girlfriend just watched me to see what my response would be.

Safe to say me not responding at all was NOT the best response, as I still hear about this story till this very day almost a decade on! I never want to add anything to the list of dumb moves I've made, so now I nip it in the bud as soon as I get the slightest inappropriate approach to me.

So now, when I can see a female who is a little thirsty, I make it very clear... DO NOT Hun, Honey or Babe me. You may well call everyone else that but I don't want to hear it!! In fact don't even put an 'xx' in any private messages you're sending to me.

Whilst I'm on the topic, what is it with guys sending guys an 'x' at the end of a text?? I just don't get it. I'll save that for another blog. lol!


5. Telling the truth is not the same as being honest

Telling the truth requires someone asking you a series of questions and you answering them truthfully. Whilst I have always been truthful, I haven't always been honest.

Being honest displays the use of free will to openly tell the truth without being probed for it. I use to think that my wife was crazy when she would ask me a question, I'd answer truthfully and then she would have the cheek to turn around and say 'Why can't you just be honest.' As a man, it can be difficult to be 'open and honest' as I have always been happy to share, but only if asked.

I now understand that being proactive and forthcoming with information means that there are a lot less questions and it changes what could have felt like the "spanish inquisition" into a pleasant conversation.


6. Kids change everything

There is nothing that I'm more thankful for than my wife and my daughter and there is nothing in this world (apart from an Aston Martin DB9) that I would trade them in for.

But seriously, if and when you have children, a lot of planning will have to be done if you want to spend any quality time with your wife. When it was just the 2 of us, you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted... Where ever you wanted (Wink Wink).

Before we had our daughter we didn't have to plan a thing. If we wanted to go out spur of the moment, then we could. But when you have a child you need to become a master of planning and prioritising.

Spending quality time with the Mrs will not always just happen because sometimes having a child can keep you preoccupied. This meant learning how to make time for each other. It's a bit like spinning plates. You can't take your eye off any of the plates, you need to pay attention to them all and spin at the right times or else you'll end up with broken dishes.


7. It's important to keep falling in love

I'm no longer married to the woman I first met. Nor is she married to the man she first met.

As the years have gone by, our likes, dislikes, characters and personalities have changed. We are no longer the people we met when we were in our teens. Some of the foundations are still the same but this means that we needed to keep an eye on who we are becoming as we evolve as individuals and together as a couple.

Fundamentally this means that we need to keep on falling in love with who our spouse is in the present. If you don't keep touching base by talking about things other than work and kids, then we tend to miss who we have become.

Coming to the realisation that with all of the distractions life can throw, it's quite possible to fall out of love. Making sure you discover and rediscover more about who your partner is as an individual can help to build a better understanding of each other as a whole, keep things fresh and keep the flame burning.

 

YOUR THOUGHTS

Can you relate to any of the lessons I have learnt over the past 7 years?

What lessons has marriage taught you?

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