With a recent family wedding under my belt, several friends’ recent engagements and my own wedding anniversary on Monday — I’ve got love on the brain.
When I went on my first date with my now husband, Nathaniel, I wasn’t thinking about marriage. In fact, I wasn’t even initially sure it was a date. To say the least, things went so well that Friday night that we were out again the next night. A kiss followed on Sunday and by Monday, we were talking about marriage.
As insane as I found it myself, a few months later we were engaged. Everyone that knew us personally was supportive and even thrilled. From strangers we heard almost constant “You’re so young!” or of course, the strained, forced “congratulations.”
We were warned almost constantly about how difficult the first year of marriage was. But for us, marriage was easier than being engaged.
We often joke that if our first year was the worst year, we’re set for life. Of course, when we share that with others they tell us it’s because “we’re in the honeymoon stage.”
Now after two years, if I’m talking positively about my marriage — mind you, my marriage is not perfect — it’s not unusual for someone to tell me to “just wait.” As in, when you’ve been married for x-amount of years, or when you’re in x-situation with your spouse, you’ll see how much you don’t get along.
Obviously, these conversations are the exception and not the rule.
But every time these exchanges happen, I wonder why someone would give a discouraging comment about a marital relationship. Is it because they honestly believe all relationships are the same? Is it because they’re really trying to give helpful advice? Are they frustrated with their own relationship?
I’m not saying my marriage is a fairytale or exceptionally romantic — or anything like that. We’re best friends, though. Which means sometimes we get along perfectly and other times we drive each other crazy. And of course, our relationship does take effort, work and compromise.
But it’s wonderful and beautiful and endlessly fulfilling. And it’s not an accident. It’s not because we’ve only been married two years or because we’ve never been in the right situation that foreshadows a doomed relationship.
So in the future, I’ll vow to always encourage others’ healthy relationships — no husband-bashing, no comparing relationship horror stories. Because what does that do except focus on the bad in relationships? And when having a healthy, successful marriage takes so much work — every relationship needs all the support it can get.
What do you think? Is a healthy marriage the result of consequence or effort? What will you do to focus on the good in your own relationship? What will you do to help others focus on the good in their relationships?