Listen, those of us who are married, know that marriage is work and hard work at that!
The reason I decided to discuss surviving your marriage is due to my spouse and I personal walk in our marriage. Now what I discuss here isn't a manual on making your marriage work, however, it's to let you and others know, marriage is work boo, so don't give up!!!
Mark and I have been married going on five years this upcoming August. That number to some may seem like "not long", and to most "wow, you survived the first year, keep going". To keep it 100, Marriage in our day and age is a joke. Being a millennial, we're quick to give up, we like the flashy weddings, the cool ways to ask individuals to be a part of our big day, but yet, we don't have the patience nor endurance to get through the hard times with one another. One of those endurances will be the first year of marriage. Queen, it's harddddd, trust me when I say this, it's super hard.
During my first year of marriage, I didn't have anyone my age that I was really close to that was married. So I didn't THINK I had the resources and tried to do it all on my own. While ignoring the wisdom from God-fearing woman and ignoring God's voice, I tried it Jessika's way and yeah, that didn't work.
That's another thing about our generation, there are not enough individuals who are married in their late 20's, early 30's to look up to.
So instead, we have role models on Instagram and other social media platforms. We want our marriage to look like theirs and we think to ourselves, "why can't we just be happy like them?" When in reality, they're having the same marital issues we have.
Speaking of marital issues. Listen, every marriage has its own flaws and issues! No marriage is perfect and no other person is better than your spouse. So don't think you can go to someone else and it'll be all better, or "you'll have the marriage you dreamed about". Tuh, that's a lie. The grass is not greener on the other side. Your marriage is going to be tested, and you must stand with one another no matter how tough it'll get. Now I don't condone nor accept physical or verbal abuse. You should seek help and guidance for the verbal and physical abuse for sure. Some forms of marital issues are Financial, Intimacy, Communication, and Trust. Mark and I have experienced some of these in our marriage and I can give input on how to overcome these and grow strong with one another.
First, Mark and I are saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. With that being said we're strong followers of Christ and we declare Matthew 19:6 over our marriage.
"So there are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one seperate". (NIV)
There are days we get on each other nerves, but no matter what, we still love one other and know that God put us together on purpose. We also remember we have children who are watching us too! Once we declared the scripture and came in agreeance with it, we started to put in the work.
The first thing we decided to do was seek counsel. We had to be careful about where and who we sought counsel from. We learned the hard way of putting our business on Facebook and talking to those who were not equipped to handle our issues. We then attended a couple of marriage therapy sessions. Those sessions helped us focus on our own issues and how we can discuss them with each other and/or how it's affecting our marriage. As I tell other married couples now, going to therapy is great and it's something I suggest. Do not become discouraged if your spouse does not agree with you going to therapy. I would say just book the appointment and ask them to trust you, or ask them to go with you for the first appointment and if the appointment is a success, book future sessions. (If you're in the MKE/Racine Area, I can suggest a therapist, reach out to me if you're interested).
Communicate: I can not say this enough, our marriage was a hot mess in the first three years. We didn't verbally communicate with one another as we should. We texted one another all the time, but we did not talk enough. I use to think my husband knew how I felt, but he didn't. I still have to remind myself, 'Jess, did you tell your husband how you feel? Jess, did you listen to what Mark said?' Communication is KEY for real.
Overcommunicate, ALL the time. Being married you are two different individuals coming together. You had two different lives before you met, so YOU are used to your ways, but your spouse is not. This was hard for me. Perfect example: My best friend and sister live out of state. Whenever one of them comes into town (which is typically never planned lol), I will make plans. Not thinking about what plans my husband may have, I'll just go. Then when I tell my husband, oh XYZ, he's clueless. He doesn't understand why I didn't mention it earlier, which could lead to attitudes. To avoid the attitudes or him not knowing crucial information about anything, I OVER communicate. This is something I learned during therapy!
Have a budget for your family. When you decide to put your finances together, I suggest you create your spreadsheet and start a budget and savings account for your family. Yes, this is part of surviving a marriage. Finances can break your marriage for real. This goes back to two individual lives coming together when they were so used to their own thing. Mark and I started saving money and it feels so good to know we have a savings account together just in case times got hard. This avoids arguments and the 'what if's' in your marriage. Be honest with one another about your money as well. Tell each other about ALL the bills you have up front, this will help with all monies being accounted for.
Make your spouse your best friend. This took a while for me! I was used to my girlfriends and sisters, but having my hubby as my best friend is wonderful. He does not replace my girlfriends and my best friend, instead, he's my best friend that I confide in with work, home issues, etc. My husband is my first choice for vacations (we vacation a lot together), my listening ear, he calms me down, I can talk to him about anything, I don't have secrets--He knows my secrets, etc. Make your spouse your best friend, knowing them well enough to do just those things (calming them down when they're mad, know when their upset, trusting them with your secrets).
Pray. I pray for my husband at least 4 times out of the week. I pray for our marriage the same amount of times as well. As a Christian, I had to learn only God can change your spouse. So pray for those things you want to see changed. Allow God to do it! Be ready to sit back and watch it all work out. Now, it may not happen overnight, but remember what you prayed about and when it happens, you'll be so satisfied and thanking God like crazy.
Patience. Take it one day at a time sis. Breathe and tackle your marriage one day at a time. Try not to go to bed worrying, that won't help at all. Pray about it and wake up with a new mind. Marriage is patience for real. I think about my grandparents being married for 66 years (still kicking at it) and I ask them how they do it, they say by God and being patient. Now if being married for 66 years isn't a good sign of patience, I don't know what is.
Have fun and Go on Dates. This is so needed!! Especially for us who are married with children lol. We will already dedicate our time to making sure our spouse is pleased, but adding kids to that mix will only make it worse. Take time out of your day to make sure you and your spouse are making one another smile/ happy. Take time out of your day or night and catch a movie or go for a quick bite to eat. Dating in your marriage is so essential!
Just like that, those are some ways to survive at least the first five years of marriage. I can only speak about my experience and the things we overcame. I do pray for marriages and this generation as I hope to see more young people married and sticking with it. If you're married, share some ways you survived/surviving your marriage in the comments.