5 of the Greatest Life Lessons I’ve Learned Since I’ve Been Married

BY: - 16 May '17 | Marriage

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During my commute last week, I heard a song by Fantasia for the first time called When I Met You. One of the lines in the song really caused me to reflect on my marriage and who I’ve become since I got married almost 20 years ago.

The line was “When I met you, I met me too.” It made me think about the growth that happens in a relationship and how much self-discovery actually occurs in a marriage.

Some of the greatest life lessons I’ve learned have happened since I’ve been married. My marriage has changed me, for the better. I’m sure it has likely done the same for lots of other couples.

My marriage has changed me, for the better.

Relationships, even the ones that don’t always work out, show us something about ourselves. Every experience we have can shape the person we continue to become.

Here are some individual strengths we typically learn and develop in marriage.

1. I learned to have compassion. You really don’t know how much compassion you have until you begin to feel it for your spouse. I remember looking at my husband years ago and deciding I never want to be responsible for hurting him in any way. If there was ever a way I could alleviate his pain, I would do it in a heartbeat. Compassion was something that truly developed in me within my marriage and as I became a mom.

2. I learned to have patience. The  merging of two lives is no easy task. It requires a great deal of patience as couples begin to learn and accommodate each other’s ways and manage anger. Sometimes you really don’t know how much patience will be required in your marriage. But when your buttons are pushed or your spouse disappoints you, you’ll need patience to bite your tongue and not react the way your flesh is wanting to react. This is a strength that marriage is sure to help an individual develop.

3. I learned to be thoughtful. Marriage will definitely teach you how to think of your partner more often. From checking-in to making small and large sacrifices along the way, your relationship will cause you to be aware of your partner’s needs and make them the primary thought in your mind. Because I didn’t know how to be married in the beginning, my marriage struggled. Thoughtfulness was one of the greatest lessons I learned in my early marriage and I am so grateful that I did.

4. I learned acceptance. Personality, flaws, and bad habits not only require the patience I mentioned above, it also requires acceptance. For the most part, we won’t be able to change our spouse. They kind of come “as is” so those behaviors we see in the beginning we either need to learn how to live with them or keep it moving, before we decide to get married. Marriage taught me that my husband and I have to accept one another, the good parts and the not so fun. Those quirks are what make us, us. I am grateful that I learned this one early on.

5. I learned to forgive. One of the greatest lessons a couple can learn in marriage is forgiveness. Mistakes will be made, but holding on to them not only hurts your relationship, it hurts you too. Unforgiveness can have this powerful grip on an individual that will negatively impact everything else and cause more unhappiness than folks sometimes realize. Forgiveness is freeing and allows you to move forward. Learning it within your marriage will prepare you for practicing it in other parts of your life as well.

I am so grateful for the strengths I’ve developed and the lessons I’ve learned in my marriage. Each have helped me to become a better woman and a happy wife.

BMWK, What has marriage taught you about yourself?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 630 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.

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3 Marriage Hacks That Will Instantly Improve Your Relationship

BY: - 19 May '17 | Marriage

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I’ve been married for almost 9 years to a man I’ve been friends with for over 20 years. What we have isn’t perfect but it works. It’s perfect for us.

We’ve faced ups and downs, but we have always done our best to maintain a healthy, happy marriage. We figure if we consistently take small steps to make this thing work, we can avoid the need to take major steps one day.

Now, I wish I had some magic pill to give you that could make your marriage stand the test of time, but I don’t. I don’t think happy a marriage comes easily. But I also don’t think they are as hard to come by as people make it seem. Even when your marriage is in a funky rut, there are simple steps you can take to improve things.

And listen, your marriage doesn’t have to be in serious trouble for you to want to improve things. Sometimes you may just feel like you are in a rut. Maybe you feel like the romance is fading. Maybe you are both exhausted and find that connecting with one another is a struggle. Or maybe you just need to spice things up after years of being together.

So how can you improve your marriage while keeping things simple? Here are three marriage hacks that can help.

Put Your Devices Away

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. It’s amazing and it has helped me stay connected to friends and family while also helping me grow my business. But technology definitely has a dark side. If you don’t mange it well it takes up way too much of your time and it can interfere with the parts of your life that matter to you most. If you want to improve your marriage, pick daily moments when you both choose to disconnect.

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Put your devices away, talk to each other, kiss each other, and just take a moment to remember why you married each other. Having a device in your hand (or within your reach) 24 hours a day is really not the healthiest thing for your lifestyle, and in the long run, it will hurt your marriage. This small decision can improve your relationship more than you realize.

Talk to Your Spouse Daily

Life is busy. I get it. You have kids and careers and family drama and it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get things done. This is life for so many of us.

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That’s why, unless you make a conscious decision to talk to your spouse daily, your entire day can go by without one meaningful conversation taking place between the two of you. In an effort to stay connected and keep each other in the loop about things that matter, set aside a time to chat daily. If mornings work, have coffee together and enjoy some quiet time catching up before the kids wake up. If lunchtime is better, try to schedule a phone conversation (or an actually lunch date) during lunch. If you are evening people, sit down and catch up over a glass of wine after the kids are tucked in. It doesn’t really matter when you do it; what matters is whether or not you do it at all.

Express Appreciation Daily

One of the biggest complaints most people have about their spouses is feeling under-appreciated. It makes perfect sense. No one wants to feel like they constantly give without any recognition for it.

READ: 3 Simple Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Spouse

Sure, you may not need a huge fuss every time you do something simple, but it’s still really nice to know that the people you love see you and acknowledge what you do.

Make it your business to say or do something daily as an act of appreciation for your spouse and what he or she does. Let her know that you see her. Tell her that you are grateful for everything she does. Show him that his thoughtfulness makes a difference in your life.

When you take the time to show appreciation, I promise you will see instant improvement in how you communicate with each other, how connected you feel, and how much you want to express your love for one another.

BMWK family, what are some things you do to instantly improve your marriage?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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