We got married on June 24 of this year in the most perfect Charleston wedding anyone could have asked for. It was big and elaborate and beautiful, but also hectic, just like any wedding.
On Christmas Eve we celebrated (or actually forgot about, but it was that day) our six month anniversary. At this point, we have known each other and have been dating just over two years, and in these past two years we have both grown as individuals and as a couple in ways neither of us could have imagined.
I in particular had never dated seriously (or truly much at all) until I met David. I had also never had a roommate successfully, and so I have learned an exceptional amount about compromise, combining needs and desires, and especially about my emotions. These have been some of the hard lessons that can only be learned through experience, but by reading advice (such as I’m sharing here) I was able to know I wasn’t alone along the way.
I have learned how to express my emotions. I used to be the type of person who would keep my emotions bottled up, and then lash out over the simplest thing. Most importantly, I have learned how to show my emotions (I can cry in front of him now), but also share my frustrations when appropriate. For example, there are nights when I am still upset with him over something silly, that I know is silly. The next day we will talk about it, no matter how silly. I apologize for the silliness and how I know it’s a selfish frustration, but it’s better to get it out and have a laugh over it than to keep it bottled up.
I have learned how to pick my battles. I never dated much before David, but in the beginning of our relationship I would get upset whenever he did anything I didn’t like. He is a clean freak and I am a bit of a slob. When he would go on a cleaning frenzy and put my things in the wrong place, I would get upset with him. But instead I have learned that him putting a book on the wrong shelf isn’t a big deal. He wants to learn, but he also wants to put things up. Instead, I show him where it goes, and keep my fingers crossed he remembers.
I learned how to relinquish control. I am a very independent person. I didn’t have a roommate more often than not in college, I had two roommates right after college but neither of those ended well, and for nearly 10 years I have lived alone. I did the laundry my way, I loaded the dishwasher my way, and I cleaned when I wanted. David does all of this differently and I have learned, over time, to let him do things his way. Some things I do myself, but as far as his chores, I let him do them his way, and what’s important is that they get done after all.
I learned how to breath before I speak. I am hyper critical of myself, and when I get anxious, I become so of others as well. Instead of immediately jumping down David’s back over anything I don’t like or anything he does his way, I breath, ask myself why he did it differently, and then speak, or don’t speak if I realize his way is different and not wrong.
Obviously marriage has been a major growing experience, and all growing experiences are difficult. But overall, David has made a significant improvement in my life. Beyond being able to pick my battles and express myself, I have also become more responsible. David is dependent on me just as I am on him. I am doing a better job of taking care of myself so that I can take care of him. I am eating healthier, exercising more, and trying to keep a clean house. I am more patient and kind with him and with those around me.
But the most important improvement is that I am happier. While single, I had become almost emotionless. I had my routine, but didn’t let anyone in. David has gotten me start laughing and be silly. He is pushing me to be more social and develop friendships. He has given me a new purpose in life. For the first time in a long time, I have a desire to live, not for work and acclaim, but for myself.