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I was watching a movie three nights ago and the newlywed couple on there had a fight. Turns out that the man was expecting one thing of his wife while she expected another. Despite the fact that they had conversations about the glaring differences that were apparent at the time, they never discuss the subtle ones like whether to have children, would he follow her if the best job for her was somewhere else and what would happen to their relationship if the sex life waned.

Much can be said about the things one doesn’t know before marriage. However, it’s my belief that not everything should be learned prior to marriage because some things need to be learned inside of a marriage to test it. Marriage is work and we all know that work has times where things are good, smooth and pleasant and then it has times that are bad, tough and unpleasant. How we handle either one of those times in marriage is a great indicator of how the marriage will be in the future.

As a woman who’s been married a few years over a decade, I found myself wanted to give the couple on television some advice.  I must admit I laughed at some of the issues, not because they were funny but because we have gone through the same thing. However, what quickly brought my laughter to a halt was how fast she mentioned divorce. I mean, it looked like the same nightie she wore on her wedding night and two scenes ago it was her wedding. So it made me wonder why was she running so soon. I waived it off and started writing my version of the five things I wish I knew before getting married.

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5. There will be a day that you won’t understand your spouse. RELAX! Those days can be far and few between. I’ve come to understand that those days mean that your spouse has reached another element in their lives that they’ve come to know of themselves and has finally felt comfortable enough to show it to you. What does this mean for you? It means that’s the day you need to learn that something new about them. Embrace it. It doesn’t mean that you have to like it. It just means that you acknowledge the difference and that you love how they felt comfortable sharing it with you. Remember, unless those differences physically, verbally, or mentally hurt you,  they are there to help you grow deeper with your spouse.

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4.  It’s not your spouse’s job to make YOUR dreams come true.  One major problem I had with the movie as their fights grew was how she expected her husband to make her dreams come true. She even mentioned how she gave up certain things just so he could be in his current position.  She revealed that she hated she gave that part of herself up for him. I wanted to remind her that it was her decision to give those things up, not his. So understand this: if you choose to stop or halt your dreams for your partner, it was YOUR choice. No blaming them for your decision. You don’t stop your dreams just because you don’t stop your dreams just because they have dreams of their own. What you should do to  balance the two dreams is to be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader, not their most efficient servant. This means to cheer them on but don’t do the work for them. By not stopping your dreams, you are keeping focus on your own dreams so they can come true. Stopping your dreams for the sake of another will make you focus on their dreams, causing you to do more for them than you would have done for yourself, pushing you further behind on your dreams until they either become questionable or a distant memory.

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3. United front does not start with parenting.  Allowing your spouse to constantly get bashed by your family does not do wonders for your marriage. In fact, the only wondering it does do is make them wonder why they married you. Protect your spouse against your family and any others that threaten what you have. Stand together, united, in your desires to be together and in your desires to be the other person’s backbone. Over time, people will see that neither of you are leaving the marriage and in that same time, the trust, love and respect you have for one another will grow deeper.

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2. Planning a wedding is not planning a marriage. Do not confuse the two. A wedding is a ceremony that can last anywhere from a few hours to an entire week depending on your culture’s tradition. A marriage is a long-lasting commitment to another person regardless of the fanfare.  I didn’t have a ceremony. Only my husband and I went to the Justice of the Peace and got married. We had no other known witnesses. We planned it that way when we learned that our families had two different ideas for our wedding. So we went on a rainy Friday in my black dress to match his black suit and got married. Why? Because we decided to plan for our marriage instead of plan the wedding. We decided that the other person would have to mess up and leave the marriage first before we ever thought about leaving it. We planned to stay together no matter what and when it looked like we were going to split, we dug in deeper to stay together.

1. You’re going to be disappointed by your spouse. So what.  It is not always like what one sees on television. You will be disappointed by your spouse. They are human. It’s what humans do. We make mistakes. We don’t always do the right thing all the time. We have feelings which make us react differently than what may be expected of the other person. If we were to be disappointed to the point of leaving every person who creates this feeling within us, we would never have relationships.  If that’s the case, we can honestly say someone not being who we expect them to be (except being physically, mentally or verbally abusive. Please leave them.) is no reason to dissolve the marriage. If anything, it’s a time to grow in forgiveness and stretch in trust. If it’s infidelity, accept your part of it and learn from it too. Whatever and whenever it’s possible, work it out until the very end. Give it your all. It’s not worth dissolving a marriage because you’re disappointed with how they approached a situation. Before you do anything rash, please step back and think about your reaction to the situation. Is it appropriate? Is it necessary? Is it worth the decision you’re thinking about making? Is it worth the consequence of the decision your making?  If the answers to these questions make you think twice about your decision, whether or not you change your decision, the questions did their job.

Until next time, realize no two marriages are the same. What’s good for one may destroy another. However, there is one thing that doesn’t really change: if you are going to be with each other, be there for each other too. Don’t leave the other one out to dry because they are not at your current level in their life. Instead, discuss what you can do to help them reach their potential. It will help you both grow closer to the other and will deepen the trust between you.

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