Growing Pains– The experience of temporary difficulties at the beginning of a particular stage of life.
So, if you’re reading this you may say growing pains…newly wed and it sounds like a contradiction. Living in a world where marriage is seen as the ultimate goal for women in our society is normalized, romanticized and glorified. The challenges are rarely talked about, thus leading women to long for something that isn’t realistic and in turn leaving them to show up prematurely. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is beautiful! I am forever grateful beyond words that God allowed my husband and I to cross paths however, meant to be doesn’t mean the absence of challenges.
I am a year in, and marriage has been a blessing both individually and as a couple. It wasn’t the easiest though. I always say, this life isn’t for the selfish. It’s all about servitude. You have to adjust, unlearn, and learn again for the sake of your relationship working and for love. We have grown so much as one unit, however, there are some growing pains that we learned as we become one (as we are still in the meshing process). We are also learning continuously which helps us learn how to work stronger as a team and love better. That’s always the goal! As we grow and strengthen our foundation (love, communication and trust) as a newly wed, I describe this as growing pains.
From Independence to Interdependence
Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
If you watch my YouTube videos, you know I lived alone before marriage for a few years. I had my own routines and was living completely in my element. I remember not wanting to cook and how okay I was eating quinoa and kale….or chips because I was so tired y’all. Ha ha, yes girl! Whatever floated my boat at the time was it and I didn’t have to consider anyone else but me. I would talk aloud to myself in any tone, not considering word choice and it didn’t matter because it was just me. I had habits that just worked for me.
When you get married you are meshing cultures, social cues and habits that may cause friction in your relationship. We had to learn (and still are learning) that we are married to a person who was raised differently and has been living just as they are for years. The pastor that counsels us (shoutout to Pastor Tyrone) always says “You didn’t marry an iPhone. The beauty of an iPhone is customization features. In a marriage you are choosing to love the person as they are without forcing your own beliefs as to who they should be”.
The good news of our own perspective or “as we are” (what we’ve learned or formed a habit to) is that it isn’t the ultimate truth above all. We have two different perspectives because we’ve came from two different households/upbringing. Within that, I’ve learned patience and grace. Now, we have a chance to create our own family. We have a chance to adopt some things that the other person has brought into the relationship or create entirely new systems/traditions that work for us.
Withdrawals and Deposits
Recently we paid a visit to the Pastor who officiated our wedding and did counseling with before marriage. He brought up this idea of withdrawals and deposits that I believe will always stick with me. He said “C’mon guys, we have too many withdrawals and not enough deposits”. I think I might frame this statement, because it was so good.
In marriage, you can be triggered in ways because your spouse offends you or you’re waiting for them to be this “perfect person”. The way they do things may sometimes frustrate you because you have done it a different way growing up. However, offense causes withdrawals which starts with emotional withdrawals and could even lead to physical withdrawals. Deposits keep a relationship strong.
Deposits takes being intentional. Learning how someone wants to be loved, their needs and taking into consideration their love language(s). It requires scheduling and hard work if you completely cannot relate to their love language or a new habit. It takes you stepping out of what you know to make sure the person feels loved, protected and supported.
Tune Up’s are Necessary
I say this to everyone, but counseling is necessary before marriage and after marriage. I have someone to counsel me individually and thankfully a few people that counsel Jose and I as a married couple.
Please, if you are planning to get married get comfortable with going to counseling. Sometimes tune up’s are important. Tune up’s are when you can get sound counsel from someone to encourage you, challenge you and correct you. Marriage is a journey and it’s hard work. There will be times when you are in need of someone speaking life into your marriage. Counseling helped us tremendously with our perspective and to encourage us to love on each other better. It also pushed us to strengthen our relationship with God which allows us to be better for one another.
Maintaining Space for You to “Do You”
Although you are married and prioritizing your spouse is crucial, it’s also important to have space apart from your spouse. Being married is apart of my identity, but it’s not my complete identity. Finding time to hang out with friends, dabble in hobbies and “do you” is important. It recharges you and refreshes you.
I am so thankful that Jose and I give each other space and allows one another to be themselves outside of our relationship. We both are comfortable with one another going out with friends, as we both prioritize our friendships. We also have separate hobbies which we both enjoy that allow us to have “happy moments” outside of one another.
Year one was amazing, challenging and brought us even closer. It made our foundation even stronger. I hope that this encouraged you to keep your vertical relationship strong and give yourself & your spouse grace during the meshing period. It get’s better, as long as you allow it to. It will always take work and intentionality.
Until next time!