Eugene Jordan shares the life lessons and insights he’s learnt during his first seven years of marriage.
As my wife and I hit the seven-year marker in our marriage I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share seven things that I have learnt about marriage over the past seven years of our journey.
1. My mother can no longer be my No 1 woman
The reality is this: some of the choices my wife and I make are not always going to be in line with my mother’s wishes. I learnt this pretty early on. Picture this: it’s our wedding rehearsal, and we’re in church being told what to expect from our ceremony, when the minister asked me, “Who’ll be taking pictures with us whilst signing the register?” I requested it would just be my best man and the chief bridesmaid. My mother, however, had other ideas. My wife and I had already planned this day, so it was my duty to stick by that, no matter who decided to contend it. This caused a public debate with the woman who birthed me, as I made a stand for what my wife and I had planned. Was I handed a very public backhander for it? Yeah sure, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for standing by your woman!
2. Marriage – More than just a couple of love birds
Bill Withers wrote a song called ‘Just The Two Of Us’, but I’ve found marriage to be anything but that. My wife and I spend a lot of time speaking with each other’s families and, over the years, it’s highlighted the benefits of building our own personal bonds with each other’s family members. Developing our own personal connections has been crucial to the development and building of the family support network that we now have.
3. Everything’s said in love
‘It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.’ Ever heard this saying before? I’ve learnt that wives will not always say the stuff you want to hear. Sometimes the things you may need to hear are already being said; however, you’re unable to digest the advice because of how the message was packaged.
It’s important to look beyond how things are said, start paying attention to the content that’s being communicated, and know that it’s all said in love.
4. Nipping it in the bud with other women
One night, when I was young and lacked real life experience, my wife and I were at a bar in London, listening to a poet do his thing. The poet finished and, whilst everyone was clicking their fingers, I started to feel this hand rubbing against mine as it rested on the back of an empty chair. This lady must have been in her 30s and I had just left my teens. I didn’t quite know what to do, so I froze like a deer in headlights. My then girlfriend simply observed to see what my response would be. Safe to say, not responding at all was NOT the best response. A decade on, I’m still reminded of this story! So, to avoid making any more dumb mistakes like this again, I simply nip it in the bud as soon as I get the slightest inappropriate approach.
5. Telling the truth is not the same as being honest
Whilst I’ve always been truthful, I haven’t always been honest. Here’s the difference: ‘Telling the truth’ requires being asked a series of questions and simply answering truthfully. ‘Being honest’ displays the use of free will to openly tell the truth without being probed. I used to think my wife was crazy when she would say, ‘Why can’t you just be honest?’ I’d always answer truthfully if asked, however, as a man, it can be difficult to be ‘open and honest’. I now understand that being forthcoming with information means a lot fewer questions and can turn the ‘Spanish inquisition’ into an honest, pleasant conversation.
6. Kids change everything
I’m thankful for the family I have, and there’s almost nothing in this world that I’d trade them for. However, I’ve come to learn that planning is key if I want any quality time with the Mrs or by myself. Pre-parenthood, it was just the two of us; we could do whatever we wanted, whenever and wherever we wanted. (Wink, wink.)
We didn’t have to plan a thing. Spending time with the Mrs will not always ‘just’ happen when you have kids, so planning how and when to make time for each other is vital.
7. Keep falling in love
As the years have gone by, our likes, dislikes and characters have evolved. We’re no longer the pubescent teenagers we were when we met. What this fundamentally means is that we need to keep an eye on who we’re becoming as we evolve as individuals and as a couple. So it’s crucial to keep falling in love with who your spouse is in the present. Touch base with each other, by talking about things other than work and kids. By continuously rediscovering more about who your partner is in the present, you’ll help towards building a better understanding of how to best serve her needs, keep things fresh, and keep that flame burning.
Eugene Jordan is the founder of the ‘Men and Marriage‘ blog. For more information, visit www.menandmarriage.com, like on Facebook @MenandMarriage, or follow on Twitter @Eu_GeneTweets.