I was recently asked for marital advice by one of my closest friends who got married about 2-3 months ago.
She and her husband both sat on the floor facing me and Yume in my living room, and her husband smiled and asked (and I’m paraphrasing much of this because my memory bank Has shrunk down to the size of a quarter, but the convo was important enough to stay in my mind...) “so, any advice you can give us?”
“Hmmm. Yes...” I said as my voice trailed off a bit, “Remember everything is temporary.”
Which took them by surprise, I think. The hearts and minds of newlyweds Is (as it should be) always focused on forever.
(Giggling) “wait...let me clarify. what I mean is, what you are feeling now will change. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to end or get worse. Your love will grow and get deeper, and sometimes it will go backwards and be less than, but will again shift and go in many, many different directions. Everything is temporary. Even so far, with all the difficult times I’ve had in parenthood, they last for a couple days, and then we’ve met a new milestone—and many times, everything is better than before.”
”ahhh, I see what you mean” a general sigh of relief in the room
I expanded some more...
”when I think of the love I had for Dean when we first met, or the love that I had for him when we first got married, im glad I’m not there anymore. Not because it wasn’t wonderful, it was—it really was. But I feel so much deeper for him now, that I don’t want to go back to those feelings anymore. Of course we argue, and now with the baby we argue about things on a differen level. Sometimes now our arguments last for days, no longer just hours...
But, nevertheless, we are somewhere much farther in our relationship, and we are arguing about topics we never tackled before. So of course it will be that way.
My friend than asked me something along the lines of , “how do manage all of the stresses of marriage and parenthood with those arguments/disagreements.”
”hmmmmm” I searched my mind “you ...always have to know you made the right decision.”
“When Dean and I disagree, it’s never about anything serious enough to end anything. I always tell him, ‘If our relationship is so weak where a personality difference is enough to even consider ending a marriage, we probably shouldn’t have been married in the first place.’ Really serious topics: abuse, drug addiction, adultry...those are things that are end-worthy. Not seeing eye-to-eye is a part of life, don’t you think? So we just have to believe that we made the right decision to get married and go as far as we have, and continue to go”
We ended the discussion there and all ate dinner together. My friends’ husband had time with Dean and they talked about whatever men talk about when advice about life is being asked...haha.
But I think if I could go back in time, I’d also like to add a couple more points of advice, if not for them, at least as a reminder for me...
-almost 90% of the time, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that determines whether or not you will argue.
-you didn’t marry yourself. So don’t be upset if you don’t always see eye to eye. you married a separate human being who was raised differently, who has a different siblings, maybe a different race, a different age, born with different issues, from a different culture, who thinks differently, who is different. The happiness that you feel when you do see eye to eye is only felt because you recognize you are different people. “Oh my god, we both like jazz! We both like art”...etc those things are only exciting because you realize someone who is not like you likes the same things as you.
so when you are upset, you also have to remember those same things, and understand that this person who you love—and who you actively choose to love for their eccentricities and differences— IS different from you. Don’t expect them to approach an issue the same way you do, and learn from their perspective as you explain yours. Horizons are meant to be wide.
As Curtis Mayfield Sings...
“love is strange,
I love you, baby...”