Advice to Someone Before They Get Married
Marriage is often considered two ways in America. One, it’s like having a ball and chain around your ankle. You become a slave to your spouse and marriage is a burden, hindrance and weighs your life down. Or, two, it will be like a fantasy. You will both live happily ever after. Everything will be easy and you will get along all the time. And most important, that person will make you happy!
What if I were to tell you that most movies and the ideas of what marriage is, in our society, are false.
What is Marriage?
Marriage takes work. Now, I do not want you thinking that it is going to be this horrible slavery, that is going to hold you down and supress your dreams. Marriage is a binding agreement between two people that requires you to give. You must learn to put the other person first and then yourself. But that is not what our society teaches us. Our society says that , you are to take care of yourself first. Make yourself #1 in your eyes. You are the most important thing in your life. Lie, lie, lie. All our society is doing is feeding you false lies as to how a marriage should really work.
My First Marriage
My first marriage was hard. We had been together since I was 17 years old. We had a daughter, out of wedlock by the time that I was 19. It was a hard time to say the least. I was not grown-up and neither was he. We both still wanted to hang out with friends, have a good time and just be kids. But, those days were over. When our daughter was a year and a half old, we split up for awhile. I wanted to be able to be with my friends, he wanted to control me and in the middle was our daughter. What a nightmare. I lived on my own, while taking care of our daughter most of the time, going to work, going to college and feeling tired. But, I did it. He kept coming around. Wanting me to come back home. We talked for a long time. We tried to work through our problems, as best as we could and in the end, I moved back home.
For awhile things went really well. He stopped drinking as much as he was. I started to be a better mom and girlfriend. I thought that things were going to become the fairy tale like what the movies painted. A life full of passion, and feeling alive with joy. So on this high, we decided to get married. When our daughter was 5 years old, we both said “I do.” Then it all came crashing down.
Right after we became married, I got a job as a kindergarten teacher. So we went to look at buying a new house. We had lived in our small trailer for 7 years, it was time to find a bigger and better place for our new future together. Then he decided to open his own electrical business and do electrical work for people in the area. We were only going up, so we thought. But it came crashing down about 3 months after we were married. He started drinking again. I wanted to go to church, he wanted nothing to do with it. We fought terribly. The fights escalated and we emotionally bruised each other. Then his words turned into his fists. He started putting his hands on me, and threatening to kill me. I had never been in a situation like that before. I was at a loss for words and didn’t know what to do. Sometimes I would lash out. Sometimes I would cry. Mostly I just started to die inside. I became depressed and anxious all the time.
Then the calm in the storm came briefly. He wanted to change and make the marriage work. I wanted another child (our daughter was already 6 years old). So we became pregnant, then things sunk even lower. I found out that he had been having an affair for quite awhile with a girl that was much younger than me. I was so heart broken and 6 months pregnant at the time. I cried for hours and didn’t know what to do. I thought that I was going to lose the baby that night. The pains in my stomach were horrible. But, thank God, the baby was ok. I started to realize that there was nothing left in this marriage, but I didn’t want to get a divorce. I felt so embarrassed at the idea of getting a divorce. I had watch both of my parents get divorced and I didn’t want that. I wanted to be able to say that I tried everything under the sun to make it work. So I started to look at rehab centers, counselors, anything that would maybe help our marriage. Each time that I found something that he agreed with, and made an appointment, he would back out. Our marriage turned into a roller coaster ride. Each time he said that he would get help, it was followed by the feeling of hope, only to find out that nothing was going to change.
I started to go to counseling for myself behind his back. I even started doing an anxiety program at home, created by a wonderful person named Lucinda Bassett. I had to build myself back up. I needed a backbone to leave him. I also needed a plan. He constantly said that he would kill me if I ever left him. That he would rather see me dead instead of with someone else. So on August 25 2008, I finally found a way to leave. I moved in with my step mom and prayed every night that it would not be my last. The nightmare kept on playing for awhile, but at least I had finally left. I was so upset that the fairy talk of living happily ever after was a lie.
My Second Marriage
When I first met my current husband (Jason), things were very open from the beginning. One thing that I learned from my counselor, was I was going to attract a man from the type of vibes that I was putting out. So, if I put out a vibe that I was willing to help someone, then I would find someone that needed fixing up. I didn’t want that. So when my current husband e-mailed me for the first time, I replied with, “I have a crazy ex, 2 daughters and a lot of debt. If you can handle that then we can start talking.” I was so surprised when he wrote back a positive reply about how I must be a strong person and that he wanted to talk with me still.
From there on out we asked a lot of questions and talked with each other all the time. I wanted to know if he was a christian. I asked things about his financial background, his job, prior relationships, if he had any prior kids, if he owned a house, and so many more questions. I wanted to know right away who and what I was dealing with. I wanted to know that I had someone that could stand beside me, not behind me.
After we talked for awhile, we started dating. Our first couple of dates were playing indoor soccer at my church. It was nice to play a competitive sport with someone who didn’t mind if a woman beat them, some of the time. It was nice to not see him intimidated at my soccer skills. Someone who would laugh and have a good time, no matter what.
Once I felt comfortable, I introduced him to my daughters. I knew that if they did not like him, it was over. They fell in love with him quite quickly. I was pleasantly surprised. After that, I started to fall head over heels in love. We went to church every Sunday together. We talked on the phone all the time and kept growing in our relationship. Finally, we moved in with him (I know now that I shouldn’t have moved in with him till after we were married). You see, once I moved in things changed.
I quickly realized that I was living with someone again, and I was waiting for something bad to happen. All of my anxieties and fears came surfacing again. I became distant and started pushing Jason away. I was still carrying baggage from my last relationship and I felt horrible. I didn’t want to put those negative feelings on Jason when he didn’t deserve it.
About two months after I moved in my phone died. Jason found one of his old phones and said that I could use that until we could get a new one. Being me, I was curious as to what was on the phone. Little did I know that past conversations with old girlfriends were on there. I was so scared and hurt that I took off and talked with a good christian couple about what to do. I found a side to my boyfriend that I wasn’t as aware of, and it frightened me. That couple took the time to explain something really important to me: that everyone that has been married for awhile has had to go through some sort of disappointment caused by their spouse. That learning to talk about how you feel and forgive that person is important to a healthy relationship. I stayed there crying for awhile, till I found enough courage to go home. We talked about the situation for quite awhile, till I felt comfortable enough to continue on with the relationship.
We started going to marriage counseling. We each had to go online and complete a survey to see what trouble areas we had, before we got married. It was nice to find out that we were very compatible in all areas except for finances. We found that the reason why we were not on the same page with our finances was because I had kids and he didn’t. Jason had never been married before or had kids. He was a lot more at ease with spending his money. We were able to figure out how to compromise in this area to make sure that we stayed married. Going to marriage counseling was the best thing that we have ever done.
Then the best news came. Almost three years after I left my first husband, the divorce had been finalized. I was so excited. It had not been an easy divorce to say the least. Going to court and seeing someone that you have a restraining order against was nerve racking. I was so excited, I remember just sitting outside the court house, talking to Jason and crying that finally it was over. In the next three days we were married. It was the best, small, simple ceremony ever. I had never been so happy in my life.
For the most part our married life has been wonderful. But, we still have our down times just like everyone else. One of the biggest areas of tension in our marriage is being intimate with each other. If he had his way we would be intimate everyday. I feel worn out and annoyed when he pushes me to be intimate more than 3 times a week. Besides having sex 3 times a week is great for a couple that has 3 kids (we now had a son on top of two girls). That is not how my husband felt. He wanted sex more, I wanted more time for myself. Let the arguing begin. For about 2 years we went round and round about sex, and who was right, till finally we started to compromise. I started to be more sexual in ways that pleased him. He learned to back off, help around the house and not be so horny all the time.
Tips to Help You Have A Better Marriage
1) Put God First – Without God it is really hard to make a marriage work. When my husband and I find that we can not agree on a topic, we sit down and pray about it. God will let us know what is the right way to go. God protects our hearts and keeps us true to our spouse. There are so many temptations in the world and we are only human. With God our marriage stays stronger.
2) Learn To Really Talk To Each Other – When you are talking to each other make sure that you are really listening. You should not be thinking in your head, well you do not know how I feel. And then the minute that your spouse stops talking, start telling them about your feelings. This negates everything that they were just trying to tell you. If you can learn to listen to your spouse and validate their feelings, before you tell them how you are feeling, then you will have a better outcome.
3) Compromise – Realize that marriage is not all about you. I have met so many people lately that wonder why there marriage is going down the drain. I want to tell them it is because you are being too selfish. It is human nature to be selfish and want what you want. We all have dreams and things that we would like to accomplish in our life, but if you have to step on your spouse to accomplish your dreams, then they really are not worth it. Gaining a dream, to lose your marriage is not the way it is suppose to work.
4) Have More Sex – I know this may sound crazy, but guys love to have sex (this is no surprise). Your man feels loved the most when you are having sex with him. Even if you do not feel like it, sometimes you should just put out. Also take the time to try something new. Surprise your man some night by having someone take the kids for the night while you make dinner for him wearing only an apron. Maybe just make out for a few minutes and remind him that you need him. Anything to keep the fire burning. It is worth it.
5) Help Around The House – men helping around the house more gives your wife the much needed break, to relax enough, to want to give you more sex. The favorite thing about my husband is, if I ask him to help me with something around the house, he gets right up and does it. He doesn’t complain, throw a fit or get grumpy. He just helps me. When he helps me around the house more and with the kids, it makes me want to give him sex more. I want to love him and show him that I appreciate his willingness to help me when I need it. Husbands please understand that helping around the house does not mean that your wife will be having sex with you that night. Learn to help, because you love her. She will notice that you are helping without expecting something and will feel loved.
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, lover your wives and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:18-19).
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