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?