In the summer of 2017, I made one of my boldest decisions yet. I committed myself in holy matrimony to the most beautiful woman I have ever known.
My heart was happier than ever before. I couldn’t have been more sure. And yet, the Millennial inside of me was wondering what on earth I was doing.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned six months into marriage as a Millennial. I think they’ll be helpful for others going into marriage as well.
1. I am a 24 year-old guy.
This is just a fact. Marriage hasn’t teleported me to a distant world where I am a wise old sage. And thank God it hasn’t! It’s been only a year since I graduated college. I have no business acting like I know everything now just because I’m married.
But I have learned so much already. I do feel myself maturing. Remembering my age has served both as a way to show myself grace and a reminder of my need to keep learning.
2. Getting married early is not normal for Millennials
It’s been fascinating to look at what other people my age are doing and feel how “against-the-grain” being married has been as a millennial. However, I’d say that I fit the Millennial stereotype pretty closely.
I work at a tech start-up in Boulder, CO. I love traveling, music, social media, and all that other “hipster” stuff. In fact, what I find to be different about being married is not what I’m into, but that I always have my wife to do it with.
Many millennials suffer from the pressure to portray the “best” of their lives on social media. And why? For others to see. I almost feel as if there is this awful mentality that “if you don’t show yourself looking good doing it, it didn’t happen.”
Not every Millennial fits this stereotype. But being married has freed me from this pressure. Everything I do is shared with my wife. There’s no need to prove anything to anyone. If I have the memories of living large with my wife, that’s good enough for me.
3. Marriage doesn’t solve all of your problems.
Don’t look at marriage as a solution to your problems, but as an opportunity to serve and love, despite your problems. I tried my best to refrain from thinking of marriage as a solution, but I still found myself thinking of it that way.
The truth is, I don’t have less problems since being married. I just have different problems. The reality is that I am responsible for the person I bring to my marriage. I cannot expect my wife to be responsible for fixing my flaws.
If you go into marriage thinking it will solve your mistakes, habits and addictions, you are setting your spouse up to be nothing more than a tool for your own, selfish ambitions. The first step for me was to realize what my problems were, and take ownership for them.
Marriage is not the solution to these problems. But it is helpful to have a companion to help reflect what’s hard for me to see in myself and support me in growing in those challenges. It was hard at first to get used to working out my problems in the presence of my wife. But I’ve realized that it helps to have honesty and trust with her in the process.
A helpful perspective we’ve had in our marriage is this—expect the other to bring their junk to the table. Desire always for them to grow from it and be willing to serve and love them despite all of it.
4. I’m selfish in ways I never recognized.
Selfishness is almost always at the root of an argument. The hardest, but most honest question I still trying to ask myself during fights is, “how am I being selfish in this?” Why can’t being humble be as easy as being stubborn?
It’s rare that I find myself not being selfish in some way. And if I’m not, the next question is, “how can I be more patient?” Or “how can I forgive and forget better?” I never knew I was so selfish about little things like home decor, food storage and grocery shopping. Thankfully, we are always learning how to argue more efficiently and with less unnecessary low-blows.
Fun fact I’ve learned: Being the one who gets out more words in an argument doesn’t make you more right.
5. I am 100% free to be myself.
Since getting married, I still go to the skatepark. I still dream big. I still rock climb after work. I still make it to social events and enjoy late-night live concerts. Marriage hasn’t put a pressure on me to change who I naturally am.
The best part is that I have a wife that loves doing most of these things with me. The key is we were honest to each other before we got married. We fell in love with our real selves because we chose to be our real selves.
Marriage has prompted me to constantly better myself—as a husband, listener, encourager, and a provider. That’s nothing different from what I’ve already felt through dating. Neither of us expect to be married and never see any change in the other.
6. Friends are important.
When we got married, we found it was tricky balancing married life with friend time. We try to be as intentional as possible about pursuing time with our mutual friends. It comes down to being OK with not having certain evenings together.
I’ve learned to prioritize my time with my wife first. Then intentionally establish time with my friends. It’s easier to become isolated from people, so having a conversation to set expectations and boundaries around time with friends was really helpful.
7. Work as a team with your finances.
As newlyweds, my wife brought good budgeting and saving skills to the table. I brought survival tactics, which were not very helpful. We came from two very different financial lifestyles. It was rough getting our strategy figured out at first.
Thankfully, we have figured out some ways to be a team. Talking with others we trust and those with experience about handling finances has been super helpful. I recommend starting a budget first and then creating a plan to pay off any debt you may have.
8. Plan your meals.
This one should have been more obvious to me. But after both being single for the last six years, we are both painfully disappointed with how quickly food disappears.
We are still learning our way around meal planning and grocery shopping. Nailing down a meal strategy will help us have more food, consistently and at less expense.
Cook together as much as possible! It’s healthier and good for building patience with each other. Also, the outcomes are usually delicious.
9. Comparison kills.
Comparison is a thief. It robs you of joy while you waste time wishing you had something else. Marriage is a dangerous area to allow comparison.
When it comes to comparison, we’ve had to draw a line in the sand. We are just as capable of comparing ourselves to others as we have ever been. And we are aware of the danger in that.
One night, we talked through some of the areas we felt like we were struggling with comparison. We made mutual decisions on where the two of us stood. We agreed to be content and confident in our personal decisions and have felt much better ever since.
I recommend being intentional about voicing any comparisons you feel so you can battle it out and remove it together. Feeling confident about your decisions as a couple is the best. Be sure these conversations don’t get overlooked early on.
10. Save water, shower together.
Pretty simple. Shower together. It’s fun and saves water.
Reposted with permission. Read the original article here.
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