By Audrey Dawson
One of the things I don’t want to do is go into marriage blindly. God recently opened my eyes to a “blindspot” I had concerning marriage: the reality of adjusting to living with my future husband after marriage. You could say I had a “real deal” moment.
Today, marriage advocate and life coach, *Tangie Henry is going to shed some light on the reality of living together after marriage, blending two lives, and how she and her husband turned their house into a home. Her insight helped me and I know it will be very helpful to you.
How did you make your house a home? For example, what is it about your home that says, “This is the Henry’s home”?
Making your house a “home” is a process of a lot of “trial and error.” Oftentimes, couples enter into their marriage with pre-conceived expectations about how their household should be managed, i.e. who does the laundry or who pays the bills, etc. But the best way to have a successful “flow” in your house is to figure out what works best for your house: Not your mama and daddy’s house. For example, both my husband and I lead very busy lives so what makes our house a home is “teamwork” and “understanding.” We both try to accommodate each other so that both of our needs are met collectively and individually.
What adjustments did you have to make to blend your lives together?
We had to adjust our expectations. My husband came from a very traditional background, whereas, I did not. In the beginning of our marriages, I worked hard to fit the traditional mold, but it was very difficult for me and it made me resentful. We had to have a conversation and I had to express to him my true feelings and ask that he love me anyway. As we grew together and began to mature, we developed a groove that works for us. Communication is the key. Without it, your marriage will rot from the inside out. Real talk!
In the beginning, is there something your spouse did that got on your nerves?
Of course! That’s a given. Everybody gets on someone’s nerves at some point. LOL! If it really bothered me and I felt like I couldn’t ignore it, I would bring it up. Most times, however, it wasn’t a deal-breaker and I learned that the reason it got on my nerves was more about me than him. Once I examined myself, the less his behavior bothered me.
What things did you have to compromise on?
The biggest thing that I’ve had to compromise on is the sacrificing of my personal time. A lot of unmarried people, women in particular, think that once they’re married, they’re going to want to be up under their spouses 24-7 and the two of them will do everything together, and so on and so forth. While I think it’s important that the two of you make each other a priority and “date” each other, I think it’s equally important that you have time to cultivate separate activities so that when you do come together, it makes the union more interesting. I’m the kind of person who likes to do what I want to do when I want to do it. LOL! Needless to say that doesn’t work in life and definitely not in marriage. Being married is a continuous exercise in dying to your own selfish ways. So, I’m still learning. (smile)
*What advice would you give to a new couple getting adjusted to living together after marriage, for example, how to approach conflict resolution?
I would recommend that couples be honest about their feelings to one another, not their “Girls,” “The fellas,” or their “Mama.” However, it should be done in the spirit of love. And the other person receiving the information should not take it offensively, but try to understand their spouse’s point of view. All conflict in marriage is not bad. If done constructively, it can lead to a more fulfilled relationship. It takes a lot of work to blend your habits, lifestyle, preferences and idiosyncrasies with another person. Having honest conversations with soften the blow, so to speak.
Prior to marriage, allow the natural course of your relationship to unfold. Sometimes we get so focused on attaining the “brass ring” that we skip steps along the way. Putting time on your relationship allows you to go through seasons with the other person and see if they are really someone that you’d like to make a covenant with. I also recommend intensive pre-marital counseling from a qualified third party. Pre-marital counseling will expose areas that you may not have thought to explore. The truth of the matter is that there’s no sure-fire guarantee in any relationship, but you can position yourself so that you can achieve great success in your union.
Audrey Dawson is the owner of Chronicles of a Future Wife, a Christian-based blog that often does features spotlighting single, Christian women and weddings. She is currently taking a break from her blog and will be contributing fabulous features of beautiful engaged and married couples who are defying the odds and rebuilding our community one commitment at a time.