A couple weeks ago I was getting my hair cut and was very chatty with my hairstylist (which is not my norm, usually I am very quiet and just zone out enjoying the pampering). We got on the topic of marriage, which I can talk very easily about. My stylist was asking me about my relationship and how I felt about marriage. I have actually had this similar conversation a lot lately. Even at church this week we were discussing marriage and how to be One as a family. One of the questions was, "How do we teach the youth of today about marriage?" I raised my hand and was very honest.
Marriage isn't easy. It takes work. But the joy you find in your relationship is unlike any joy you will experience. I really enjoyed taking a couple marriage classes in my 20's. One was when I was single and around 23 and the second was when I was engaged and 28/29. One of the MOST IMPORTANT things that we were taught was that COMMITMENT is they key to a successful marriage, not love. When you first meet someone and "fall in love" you have this euphoric feeling, you look past many faults, and revel in the newness of this person. Eventually that "twiterpated" feeling goes away and you are truly faced with, "Do I love this person? Is it real? Do I want to continue forward or are there deal breakers?". Now while this "in love" stage is important, it is not true genuine real love. Love is wanting to continue one despite hardship, love is wanting to share your life with someone, good, bad, and ugly.
Love is commitment.
Pride is a very difficult thing. Often we are tempted to put up walls when someone has hurt us, but in marriage you CAN NOT put up walls. You CAN NOT shut the other person out. You must learn to put your pride aside, to be "the bigger man" and say "I'm sorry.". Sometimes even if you were in the right.
Space is important, time to cool off is important, but you must always come back together and move beyond the issue. Whether that means just letting it go, or talking through it.
Communication is key. We all change. The things we wanted 2 years ago will be different than what we want now. It is important to always have an open dialogue with your spouse about dreams, and goals. To talk about what each person wants, and how to achieve these dreams together. To always stay on the same page so that you are not blindsided later.
Being aware of one's self is also important. Last year my husband and I had a difficult period. I was complaining a lot, and would vent frequently, and got upset easily. I had no patience, and often came across as unhappy. My husband is a very laid back guy, and my demeanor was really hard for him.We argued, and we were both unhappy, but we didn't really address things. Thankfully we are both committed to making our marriage work, and we opened the communication up, (sometimes writing things down helps you to get your thoughts and feelings in order so you can discuss things in a calmer more productive way) he shared with me how my negativity was affecting him, and I have made a concerted effort to let things go and be happier.
My husband doesn't need to know that a driver pissed me off, it's not important, so I don't need to share it and bring that negativity into our home. I still share my feelings (trust me I do!) but I try to share what's important and let the smaller things roll off my back. And we are happier and I am happier because of it.
When we are Spiritually where we should be our marriage is so much better. When we say our daily prayers together, and read our scriptures together, and attend our Sunday meetings and frequently go to the temple, our marriage, our relationship, our love is so much stronger, and deeper, and happier.
Intimacy is important. Let me say that again, Intimacy is important! And I'm not just talking about sex. Holding hands, kissing, snuggling, butt grabs...all these things are important. Intimacy solidifies your bond with one another. When you are intimate with your spouse there is no room for pride, and anger. Because love and sharing love is the antithesis of pride and anger. It is important to show your spouse you love them and find them attractive. Sex within the bonds of marriage is the most sacred act you can partake in on this earth. It is truly a Oneness with your spouse. I can honestly tell you, when my husband and I are actively intimate with one another we are happier and more fulfilled as a couple.
It makes me sad when I hear of women that talk negatively about sex. It is a chore to be checked off a list. When women are so unhappy with themselves that they are too afraid to show their body to their husbands. A truly healthy marriage is one where judgement is put at the door, especially in moments of intimacy! A husband should nurture his wife, tell her she is beautiful and worship her body. A wife should compliment her husband's body and lavish him with affection. God gave us sex to become One with our spouse and to further the bonds of love and commitment. Sex is ordained of God, it is not dirty. And I promise you ladies, your hubby is NOT noticing the jiggly parts! He is enjoying the whole experience that is you! He loves you and married you! Don't be afraid to leave the lights on! Take down that wall and truly share yourself with your husband, you will become closer and happier for it.
I love being married! Like I said, "It's not easy, but it is soooo worth it!"