One of my dearest friends of 26 years is getting married next month and I am to be the Matron of Honor. I was ecstatic when she asked me to stand with her on her big day. We’ve been through many ups and downs throughout our lives together and it just makes sense that I’m there with her. We got our first apartment together when we were just 20. Young and naive we tried to balance our university lives around the responsibility of having our own apartment in conjunction with working part time and maintaining a successful social life. It was challenging, difficult, stressful, fun and wonderful all at the same time. We fought, we hugged, we cried, we laughed and now we look back on that time fondly. I’m approaching my second wedding anniversary with my wife, Melissa so I thought maybe I could pass along some words of wisdom and experience to my good friend Kyla. Two weeks ago, my wife threw me for a loop when she finally admitted she was not happy in our marriage. This felt to me like a hard punch in the chest. One you aren’t expecting that completely takes your breath away leaving you gasping for air. I knew we were having problems connecting as of late, but I chalked that up to her busy work schedule and the recent lapse of employment she experienced from her employer. She started going out, for long periods of time; in essence, avoiding me. Married people: DO NOT DO THIS. If you experience problems or sadness in your relationship, the absolute worst thing you can do it walk away leaving your partner in the lurch. Lack of communication is just as responsible for divorce as money problems and infidelity. Marriage means constant communication, even if you don’t feel like it. Marriage is a responsibility to your partner to respect them enough to keep them informed of your feelings. Now obviously we don’t always wear our hearts on our sleeves but the big things- feelings of overwhelming stress, insecurity, pain, love- these things need to be communicated with your partner as most people are not innate mind readers, we need hints. Needs must be expressed from time to time if you feel they aren’t being met. I have a need to spend more quality time with my wife; sitting in the same room together, watching TV does not count as quality time. Intimacy is a huge part of a marriage, and not just physical intimacy, but intimacy of the emotional kind. Connecting, sharing, talking, touching, laughing; these are forms of intimacy that women notoriously require therefore I expressed the fact that I felt these things were missing from our relationship. She expressed to me that she needed time away from the house (as do I) as well as to maintain connections outside our relationship which is fine, I have friends as well. The very fact that we went for months not talking to each other about things that were obviously bothering us could have led to a “break” and ultimately divorce, so you can see how very fragile and delicate a marriage truly is. Now, Kyla and her fiancé Len have been together for about 10 years when my wife and I were together for 2 prior to our wedding so I’m hoping the years will give them more confidence to talk openly if they need to.
It’s also important to maintain your own identity inside a marriage. It’s easy, particularly for women, to simply become an extension of her partner. I did this too for a while. I was just happy being Mrs. Melissa for the first part of our relationship but then I started feeling empty like, “who am I?” empty. I then started working on my sense of self, who I was, who I wanted to be so that it would compliment Melissa rather than just being a “hanger-on-er” and that’s when my writing took off. Now I need to work on keeping that sense of self strong so that when I am upset about something in my marriage I don’t just shut down completely like I did this past time, (Hence my month or more hiatus from writing.) The insecurity I felt made me lose all sense of who I was. I couldn’t write or paint- my creativity just shut down when I really needed it. So I am posed with a new challenge. Apparently I rely too heavily on my partner for my own happiness, which is healthy to an extent but then it just becomes tiresome.
My wife and I have been openly communicating the last 2 weeks; we’ve gone away, gone to dinner and have an upcoming hotel stay for our anniversary. The hugs and kisses are back as well as the “I love you’s” which makes Sparky happy. With the first big marriage lesson under our belt, I feel like we’re stronger. Marriage is a lot of work, and it’s constant- the key is finding that person that you feel like you can get through anything together and loving and respecting them enough to keep them in the loop and consider how your actions may affect them. It means not giving up, you take a vow that you will see this person through thick and thin, for better or for worse and in sickness and in health. It’s a lifetime commitment which some people treat like a cell phone contract, where you’re ready to cancel at the first dropped call. I don’t operate that way. I’ve been with the same cell phone provider- shout out to Telus- for almost 10 years and don’t plan on dropping them anytime soon. Be conscious of your partner’s needs and feelings, sometimes you should even put their needs before your own which is hard in this ever increasing selfish world we live in today. The “Me” philosophy just doesn’t apply when you’re in a marriage.
Be kind to one another, tell each other you love one another whenever you feel it in your heart, listen to one another, give lots of hugs and kisses and always be supportive and encouraging, it goes so much farther than criticism and judgement.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
“Marriage Problems” http://www.astrologermukeshsharma.com/marriage-problem.html