There are things that no one tells you about marriage. People say marriage is a blessing. They say to not go to bed angry and to put your spouse first. So, you take that tid-bit, and enter into marriage with glorious expectations of rainbows and sweet goodnight kisses. Of course, you’re not dumb. You expect “ups and downs,” but you honestly don’t know what that means. And then one day while you’re screaming at your spouse at the top of your lungs, you realize that marriage – that love – is not what you thought it’d be. Instead, there are sometimes spikes on the rainbows and nights where you’d rather drop-kick your spouse than kiss him goodnight.
Marriage is a blessing. My husband is my greatest gift, and I’m grateful for him every day. But, sometimes I don’t like my husband. And sometimes he doesn’t like me. Perhaps had we known some of the ugly – but normal – parts of love and marriage, we wouldn’t have felt so lost when navigating those early waters. We don’t have it all figured out, and I suppose that’s the fun part. But here are four ugly truths I’ve learned thus far about marriage:
1. Sometimes you don’t like each other – and it’s okay.
In an awkward, but honest conversation with my husband, we learned that we’d both Googled, “I don’t like my spouse,” after an argument. We talked about what we each read in the Google results. (Which was a bunch of articles saying how people sometimes simply don’t like their spouse.) What?! We’re normal? We’re normal! We were both relieved. I just wish we would have been warned that it’s nothing new to dislike your spouse from time to time.
2. Your spouse will bring out the best – and worst – in you.
My mom gave me this advice before my wedding: “You won’t be a perfect wife. He won’t be a perfect husband. But together you’ll be better.” She was right. But, man, do our imperfections make it so easy to ruffle each other’s feathers! It’s true that the right person will bring out the best in you. But, it’s also very likely they’ll bring out your worst. Jake and I have had some explosive arguments. I’ve thrown a plate across the room and shattered a mason jar on the floor. Have I done that with anyone else? No! It’s just that beautiful side of me only he’s lucky enough to see.
3. Too much domestication can cause frustration.
Having a pretty home, good jobs, sex on the regular and love is not enough. You must constantly tend to your relationship. You need flirtation, intimacy, spontaneity and adventure. You need hobbies – together and separate. Yes, there are bills to pay, a house to clean and logistics to figure out. But simply going through the motions of domestication is boring, and it will become frustrating.
4. It’s very easy to act out of spite.
It’s easy to become frustrated in a marriage – lack of sex, sleep, communication, alone time, empathy, excitement, etc. And any bit of frustration can fuel spiteful actions and responses. But, acting out of spite only makes matters worse – I promise. Instead, you must treat your partner how you want to be treated. You must act out of love instead of spite. And that can be trying.
Knowing these little truths exist in marriage help us respond more appropriately to each other. I know this because we’re better at resolving conflict within our marriage now. In the middle of a heated argument, we no longer feel like there’s something wrong with us. Instead, we accept the crazy as a imperfectly normal part of marriage. Then, we pat ourselves on the back for actually resolving an issue and not walking away. Even if it was about something minuscule.