I was perusing my friends page and came upon an entry in one of my other wedding communities. The OP asked if she were alone in her nervousness about being married. Of course she is not alone, and several people responded to her telling her of their fears as well. But it got me thinking about marriage in general.
I have been married once before, which lasted 5 years. And from that marriage I learned a lot about myself and about my expectations in future relationships. I learned that honest, open communication with my partner is very important to me. I learned that when someone asks for space it should be given freely and not begrudgingly. And I learned that "us" time is just as important as "me" time.
But most importantly I learned that change is inevitable. The person we are marrying will not be the same exact person in 50, 10, or even 5 years. As we all grow, we change. We become more the person we are meant to be. As a partner we need to expect, accept, and encourage these changes in our spouses. But we also change as a couple. The things that are fun for us now may not be so as we age. Children may put a damper on our night lives. We may decide that it's more fun to stay at home with a DVD than to go to a crowded theater. Or we may decide that being outdoors is more important to us than being sedentary.
Also, we will forge new frindships, lose touch with old friends, and strengthen some friendships already in place. All of this is a naturally occuring part of maturing, both as individuals and as a couple.
I think that many couples, brides in particular, get caught up in the thrill of the wedding and neglect certain aspects of preparing for the marriage. Blame this if you will on the ever growing wedding industry, on the divorce rate, or on society in general, but I feel that it boils down to a lack of communication.
When we communicate well as partners we are able to discuss things that might be bothersome to us. But often we, as individuals, don't want to "rock the boat" by bringing to the surface anything that could be percieved as a problem. We don't want to be viewed as being petty or nit-picky, so we remain silent. I feel that if we, both as individuals and as couples, are to continue to thrive then any issues we have must be addressed in a timely manner. That is not to say though a confrontational manner, which is often how we as humans choose to communicate. A simple "I" statement ("When this happens I feel...") can go a long way toward putting our partners at ease in our discussions.
In closing, I would like to say that I feel that marriage, as any relationship, takes a lot of caring and understanding to make it work. Each party must be willing and free to challenge the other. And each must recognize and encourage to flourish the other's uniqueness. All of this must be done with the understanding that they are two lives intertwined into one beautiful entity.
Thank you for reading this.