It didn’t take me long to know I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl, who is now my wife, shortly after we met — luck was on my side because she felt the same way. I figured why not make it official and proposed. Our wedding day was one of the happiest moments of my life next to my son being born. We’ve discovered a lot of things about ourselves — both good and bad.
My wife and I are the complete opposite. I had no idea being married was going to teach me so much about myself. I’ve learned about respect, boundaries, communication, forgiveness and what it means to love being the physical.
I’m going to share things I’ve learned in my marriage that are continuously helping me becoming a better man.
I’ve learned that being respectful in a marriage is different than you would in a friendship or towards your parents. We had a few friends over one day and having a good time. We were playing card games and she just didn’t want to participate. I was overjoyed having my wife with me. I wanted people to see how smart she was. But she simply didn’t want to play. In the heat of the moment, softly I said “ Man, I need to find a new wife” jokingly, of course.
When all the guests left, my wife informed me how hurtful and disrespected she felt. I’ve learned that day intent and impact are two different things. What I meant to say was that my wife and I need to find more activities that we’re both interested in. But it was received differently. From that day on, I try to think of the impact of my words before saying them out loud.
Pay Attention to The Little Things — They Matter The Most Sometimes
The little things make the biggest difference. What is small for one person could potentially be big for another. I never paid much attention to some of my habits because I didn’t have to answer to anyone. I used to leave my shoes at the door whenever I got home from work. It never bothered me because it was just me.
However, my wife had an issue with it. She tripped and fell one day because my shoes were in the way. I never understood how frustrating it must have been for after the incident and made sure to find out other things that bothered her to prevent them from becoming a much bigger problem. Even when it felt like I was doing everything right, I still made sure to check myself now and then and also asked her about things I was unaware of.
Communication Is Key
My wife didn’t use to talk a lot. Sometimes I had to interrogate her for a very long time to find out what she was upset about. There were times when we talked but didn’t understand each other. A few other married couples suggested a book entitled “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. We also decided to address issues when they happened instead of waiting for too long.
I used to assume I knew what my wife was thinking or feeling without asking. I got in a lot of trouble because of that. I was wrong more times than I can ever count. I learned that listening is the biggest and hardest part of communication. Most people have heard the say men do listen or are not good listeners. I had to constantly make sure I was present wholeheartedly in conversations to truly understand and be there for my wife.
Forgiveness Heals Most Wounds
We all have done things that we’re not proud of, especially me. Hurting a loved one, a coworker, a friend tends to make people feel bad. However, when that person happens to be your significant other, then it hurts a little more. My parents always told me to think about what I say to people because words can never be taken back once they come out. I’ve learned to ask for forgiveness and to forgive as well.
Forgiveness is key for any relationship to flourish. To forgive is to profess to the other person that your love for them is stronger than the hurt they’ve caused you and being forgiven means you’re valued, trusted and loved enough to be given a second chance. I’m not implying in any way that you should keep forgiving someone with a reoccurring habit, but you need to forgive to be forgiven and moving toward.
Make Time For Each Other
It’s really easy to get caught up in all sorts of things nowadays. Social media, live streaming, work, etc… These are all good things, always remember what truly matters in life, especially in a marriage. I used to work longer hours before getting married. We all need money to function and provide for our loved ones. But money shouldn’t be the reason we neglect the people who truly matter to us. After I got married, I realized I needed to cut back on the number of hours I was working. I didn’t want my wife to feel provided for but neglected.
We sort of came up with our tradition, We’ll make sure we make time for each other no matter how hectic life gets. Being a father means spending a lot of time with my son and loving every second of it. But I also make sure I don’t lose sight of who gave him the gift of life. Many strong couples sometimes lose sight of how they became a couple after becoming parents. Remember you were a husband, or wife first before becoming a parent.
Learn To Fall In Love All Over Again
My wife and I loved going to the beach before we got married. It always felt magical being there with her. Sometimes it felt like the ocean was playing a beautiful musical piece just for us. After the wedding, this went on for about a year, then it started slowing becoming more of a routine. It was the same girl, the same place and at the usual time. It took me a while to realized why the sparks magically faded away.
After a few months of trying to shake that feeling off, I concluded the issue was me. I realized I needed to remember how I felt the first time I saw my wife, or how I went home the night of our first day and felt like I’d won the biggest prize of my life. How she gave me one of the most wonderful gifts I could’ve ever asked for. Right then, I decided to consciously choose to fall in love with my wife all over again as many times as it takes.
Being married can be hard work sometimes. I’ve had a conversation with a family friend who feels that he’s missing out on meeting other people and doing other things. I assured him he wasn’t missing out on much. The grass only looks greener on the other side because it’s being taken care of — invest in your marriage as if your life depends on it because, in reality, it does.