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The Lessons of 9 Years of Marriage

July 2, 2015

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. We have been together over 10 years now. We went out to dinner and reflected on the past decade of this relationship. We’ve learned a few things, so let me share them with you young ‘uns thinking about entering into this lifetime contract.

1. He isn’t going to change. He just isn’t. And if he does, it won’t be because you changed him. If you are going into a marriage with the the thought: “I’ll change that about him after the wedding,” just stop. You are not going to change him. He has faults. So do you. Either decide now to accept those faults or do not get married. If you are already married, find strategies to deal with these shortcomings because they are not going to change; at least not by your nagging.

I do need to qualify this with the fact that my husband has changed A LOT in the past 9 years. He has grown into a wonderful husband and father, but I did not make that happen. That change was between my husband and God. I had to get out of the way before these positive changes could take place.

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2. Learn him. Last night my husband told me that he appreciates that I have stopped trying to change him and started trying to learn him. After years of painfully realizing that I could not make him into my idea of perfect, I did start trying to learn who my husband is and let go of my Prince Charming idea of who he should be. Let me tell you ladies, who he really is is pretty amazing and much better than the fantasy man I had in my head. I had been missing who I had really married for years because I was too focused on all the changes that needed to be made. Accepting that my husband for who he is has been a marriage saver.

As an example of one issue where I had to learn him, my husband doesn’t like to clean. We fought for years over cleaning. I used to really feel like this issue was a huge one that was destroying our marriage. We both work and I was completely overwhelmed with the cleaning, taking care of the kids and holding a job. He would help but as a favor and not as part of his job. I was a resentful nag about it and the topic was a horribly sore one in our house. But then, one of my friends mentioned that she had a cleaning lady, and it was the first time that I realized that people who are struggling to make ends meet can actually have cleaning ladies. I was raised fairly poor and so was my hubs so the idea was foreign. However, we both worked, we were both tired and the cleaning lady was cheaper than marriage counseling. We called her and it was the best thing I could have ever done. No more fights over cleaning. We had a problem, I learned that I could not solve it through nagging and fighting, and we found a solution. And now, because there is less stress and nagging, my sweet man does the dishes after dinner almost every night and is a wiz at laundry. He changed but not because I changed him. He changed because I stopped trying to change him.

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3. Be nice. This seems so simple, but it isn’t. We can be so mean to our family, especially our spouses. My husband sees the real me; the one who isn’t putting on a happy face for the world. I let down my guard with him because he is contractually required to stay with me even if I am horrible. I took him for granted for a long time and vented my stresses on him and was NOT nice. I would never talk to anyone else the way I talked to my precious life partner. I have made a big effort to stop doing that and to be nice. Being nice has changed our marriage for the better. Your husband is another human being; treat him as such.

That’s all I have for now, but we are learning everyday how to be better at marriage.

In 50 years or so, we might actually be 1/2 way decent at it.

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