I need to preface this post with the fact that marriage is complicated. Not only for the people in it, but as a concept in general. Marriage is often tied to belief systems, and that can get tricky when taking advice from or reading other people’s words about marriage. So before you dive it, and I hope you do, make sure to read this with an understanding that I believe marriage is a sacred relationship between two people. And that the whole vow situation is LEGIT.
Also worth pointing out, I am a 0% expert. I am simply a married human who has thoughts on marriage and hopes these thoughts can help other humans who are or want to get married.
With that all laid out…
Let’s start this off with the biggest truth bomb of them all.
If your happiness is dependent on your significant other (or anyone for that matter), you’re co dependent or have codependent tendencies and should seek counseling. I’m being serious. And I’m THE MOST serious about it because this was me. And it was terrible; I was unaware and I went to counseling. On that note, I think everyone can use counseling, and if I had endless amounts of money that is the first place I’d put it. Provide counseling for errbody.
For some reason counseling has been stigmatized at large as something you do only if there is something wrong with you. That you should be ashamed of it. #WRONG. You go to counseling to get healthier, to learn how to feel and express emotions in a productive manner. It should be a safe place for you to grow. That’s #winning if you ask me.
With that, your spouse is not there to make you happy. You are not there to make your spouse happy. You’re there to selflessly serve, and love. Love as in the VERB – the act of love. You determine your happiness. No one else boo. Happiness in a marriage is a bi-product. A pretty sweet one if you ask me.
The very thing that terrifies people about marriage (the commitment) is the very thing that comforts me. You have your own beliefs and you’re entitled to those. My husband and I are on the same page. When we stated our vows in front of our audience of witnesses, we decided to be each others humans FUH-EVUH. And for us, that’s comforting, not terrifying. For us that means we choose fights wisely and talk it out ASAP. Because there’s literally NO POINT in staying angry or holding a grudge. You’re in this together. You’re on the SAME TEAM, so why make your own life miserable when it doesn’t need to be? YOU are in control of this. Which leads to the next point of COMMUNICATION.
Counseling can be a great tool for this one too. Alone and/or as a couple. Nate really took the reins on this in our relationship leading into marriage.
I should point out that we have some ground rules which were established early on in our dating. A huge one was my request.
No yelling. Period. It’s not allowed. Not in this relationship.
I grew up in a household where yelling was how married people communicate, how they express concerns or emotions. And at a very young age I learned to shut it out and run. My response to yelling is a hardcore flight mode. All rational thought and ability communicate like a REAL adult goes out the window. What our bodies learn to do in those developmental years is all SURVIVAL. Survival does not equal HEALTHY. Jot that down.
So as I relearned how to healthily communicate my feelings through group counseling, I needed no yelling. I communicated that to Nate and it stuck. Because if there’s no yelling, it’s REALLY hard to “fight.” I also happened to marry and VERY loud human.
So we have a simple agreement, if he’s getting “too loud” for me, and I feel myself pulling away, I just ask him to tone it down. I don’t say “quit yelling at me” because I know in his mind, he’s not yelling. He says I’ve never heard him yell, and I FULLY believe that and am very grateful for the fact. The no yelling is a ME thing and we’re both aware of + respect that. Because we’re on a team and have the mindset that WE IN THIS, so however painful and annoying it may be, we both want a SOLUTION and RESOLUTION to whatever issue we’re dealing with.
You NEED to learn how to communicate in a compassionate, non-defensive, solution-seeking manner. Whether it be counseling, group counseling, a communications class, or reading a book together and practicing, YA NEED TUH DO IT.
Communication keeps you on the same page, keeps you in a dating fuh-evuh mindset, and decreases the likelihood of a blow up.
Let me stop you right now from thinking the Millers are perfect. No one is perfect. No marriage is perfect, no relationship is perfect. I am simply sharing tools that helped build what I believe to be a strong foundation for OUR marriage. It’s also worth pointing out that we don’t have kids yet. Little rascals add a-whole-nother level of complexity to marriage and frankly I can’t speak to that yet. Lord help us when that day comes.
But if you’re engaged or want to be, keep reading sister. Because #4 might trump them all.
Read Sacred Marriage. Look, if you’re not a believer (in the Christ), we may not see eye to eye when it comes to marriage but if you want a lasting marriage, it’s worth the read.
We read this per request of our mentors during our engagement. I truly believe it set us up for success. Nate is my best friend. But if dies, I’ll survive, and vice versa. Will I be devastated and absolutely heart broken? 100%. But my life does not depend on him, nor his on mine. Although I do prefer mine with him in it. I think he feels the same?
The expectation laid out in the book is that marriage is a tool to challenge us. To strengthen us, not to make us happy. It’s all about our perspective around it. And that perspective can lead to success or disaster.
The most important thing is that you and your boo are on the same page. This is essential for your marriage and that can come through looking into the four tips above.
I am not a doctor, or counselor, or expert. Just a woman, who’s known her husband for 10 years, been married to him for five, and has some helpful thoughts to share with those desiring that #marriedlife.
If you liked this please comment below and let me know! This is the first blog I’ve ever done. If you want more, drop ya girl a line and I am happy to oblige.
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
You love my style, trust my reviews, and want more Annie Miller Concepts vibes in your life? Shop my favorite brands. You get awesome products and yours truly gets a little kick-back.