Blog by Reggie Madison, Relationship Educator
For many, the first week on the job is full of uncertainties, adjustments and even mistakes. Joining a new sports team or a band is certain to start off with some failed expectations, missed notes and assignments, too. I’ve worked at companies where the first week was awful, but my time there ended up being fulfilling, successful and beneficial for everyone involved. The first week of anything new can be hard!
When a couple gets married, each person has their own history, experiences, traditions and culture PLUS their own way of thinking, relating and communicating. So, why in the world would anyone be surprised that the first week of marriage (usually during the honeymoon) doesn’t go as planned? I’ve heard some horrific honeymoon stories from numerous couples I’ve worked with over the years. From big arguments and no sex to major disagreements and running out of money (and beyond), these couples’ biggest fear is that their horrible honeymoon is a sign that their marriage is doomed from the beginning.
Let’s understand why that’s not the case. For many, regardless of whether we lived together, lived nearby or hundreds of miles apart, wedding day is a game changer. The day we commit to do all that we can to make our marriage work is the day life changes. Often, because of expectations. Sometimes our support circle doesn’t help because because we’re in our “honeymoon phase” and they feel they should respect our privacy. Media doesn’t help because it paints an unrealistic picture that all honeymoons are perfect. Ironically, couples don’t help each other because we think we know all there is to know about being married - even though we’ve been doing it for a grand whopping total of 2 days.
Marriage is a journey, and the ceremony is just the beginning. Two people truly functioning in step with one another takes years to get really good at it. Our habits, beliefs and ideas were perfect in our minds until our spouse told us differently, and of course we didn’t agree. But, before getting scared about the years of learning how to “click,” we need to know that there’s a lot of joy in the journey.
The journey is a process where hopefully each spouse is learning to be considerate, generous and loving toward the other. This process is often preceded by the realization that we may be a little more selfish, inconsiderate and stingy than we realized. When we drop the expectations that both parties in a marriage already know how to do this well and embrace the journey, then we can find joy in learning to do this thing called marriage together. Be encouraged: A disastrous honeymoon can be seen not as a sign that we weren’t meant to be together, but as just the first step toward learning how to do marriage well.