So, I’ve had this idea for a while but when I started bettering the drafts I had written a while ago, Ingrid and I had been married 372 days. Hence I’ve decided to call the series “372 Days in Marriage“. I thought to share some of our experiences so far from my perspective. I hope to help those that are considering getting married, give insight from our experiences and challenge the married.
We may not be married as long as some of the people we’ve encountered but I’m sure this may help someone and, as I’ve discovered, help me process some of the lessons I’ve learned. (One of the ways I process things is by writing). I also hope to start and have conversations that will enrich others and our marriage. Let’s dive into the first post of the series!
A lot of things shape our perceptions. People can engage in lengthy and somewhat gruesome arguments on what something may be really like but nothing beats experience. Then again, people may experience the same thing differently. I should state that I’ve found it rather strange, perhaps funny in a sad way, that some of the “marriage experts” I’ve encountered since Ingrid and I got married, have never been married!
If you have never been married I challenge you to slow down on making judgment or drawing conclusion on what marriage is and is not. Instead choose to be a student of marriage. Ask those that are married. Spend time with them with a desire to simply learn, without looking for evidence to validate your perceptions. (This principle applies to not just marriage but life in general).
Put aside what you think you know about marriage and just be a student. Share your perceptions and allow some of the married people to challenge some of your perceptions without you defending them. You limit your learning when your primary premise is to simply defend what you want or think to be true. If you have never been married and hope to be someday I encourage you to learn and allow your learning to change your perceptions.
Going into marriage with unchallenged ideas about what it is and is not can cripple your start and experience in marriage in general. One of the greatest enemies of young or new marriages is perceptions about marriages that each individual in the marriage enters the marriage with!
Another thing I would highly recommend is closely examining the source of our perceptions on marriage. Our first perceptions on a lot of things, including marriage primarily emanate from our family environment as we grow up. I need to be careful how I say this but you can never conclude what marriage in general is based on simply experiencing your parents’.
I recently read a Facebook status from one of my friends, Lauren, and she said people want to have love or relationships like in the movies, but those relationships only last for about an hour and half to two! Don’t be naive to fall for everything that the culture says about marriage. Some of the celebrities you look up to fail in marriage because they assumed marriage would be like how it was in some of the movies they have starred in.
If you have never been married, stop being a “smart Alec” and get yourself some education from the married. One of the things Ingrid and I did before getting married was speak to married people, spend time with them. (I some cases I made conscious efforts to simply “observe them”). Read as many books on marriage as possible. Subscribe to blogs and read them! Arrogance is one of the worst enemies of learning; when you think you know it all you’re probably arrogant in that regard!
Let me close part one of the series for the never married… Marriage is contextual. There are many pictures of marriage you can get depending on where you look. The reasons for the diverse pictures will also be grossly varied. The point: you should not only be looking around at those that are married on what marriage is like. Instead, look at them and see what marriage can be.
This is probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice you will ever get about marriage. Whatever picture you see is one that can be true of marriage. In your observation of married couples and reading books, magazines and blogs realize the possibility. Let what you see help you formulate your expectations and perceptions. The bottom line: people in the marriage are the ones that decide, consciously or otherwise what their marriage will look like!
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