I am 22 years of age and happily married. I am madly in love with my best friend, my career is only just beginning to form (any support is appreciated!), and I have everything still ahead of me. Life is good!
Some of you may be thinking that your 20s are far too young to even be thinking about marriage, and I can understand why.
Today’s society is filled with news articles about increasing divorce rates and the "modern trend" to put off marriage altogether.
But I am here to say this: life is good, and married life is better.
I suppose it helps that I come from a stable background in the UK, raised by a mother and father who were very much in love. Their example has been fundamental in the kind of person I am today and the way that I have approached my relationship with my own wife.
My father taught me to respect women, taught me that they were special and should be treated so (I can’t say I remember him specifically saying this to me of course, but I noticed his behaviour). My mother was always his equal; they helped each other.
In my eyes, they were equal. Equal, but different.
I love my father, but I’m very glad that my mother stayed at home to look after me and my siblings. She provided everything I needed growing up and always made fantastic meals. Whenever she went away, we would complain because it meant my father had to cook (sorry Dad)!
My father provided a solid example of hard work, and my mother organized us and gave all the care.
But the most valuable lesson my parents taught me? To compromise.
For example, my mother and father have two different ideas on what being "on time" for a flight means. Very different ideas, in fact.
My father (and I) would happily be the last person on the plane, the airport having announced its’ final call. My mother is the exact opposite. She would happily be waiting at the airport a day early, just to make sure we made the flight!
Either of these two extremes might seem ridiculous, but I'm sure you fit somewhere in between.
The fact is, both my mother and father would make that flight. Neither of their preferences are wrong, just different ways of going about it.
The difference here, however, is my father’s way is incredibly stressful for my mother. It really stresses her out and has caused a lot of unnecessary discomfort.
So, my father decided (or remembered) before one such flight, that he would arrange to go and stay next to the airport the night before. He reasoned that it actually made little or no difference to him, but it would save my mother undue worry.
The compromise that he made was a profound lesson to me, one that I have tried to apply in my own marriage. It can be applied to pretty much anything.
We all have completely different thinking preferences and have a unique view of the world. Seek first to put yourself in another’s shoes, try to imagine how they might think or feel about a situation. Nowhere is this need more apparent, than in marriage or other relationships.
I choose to love my wife, every day. I choose to first try to picture how she will feel about something, to avoid causing unintentional hurt. I choose to compromise some of my behavior, to spare unnecessary stress or argument. I choose to communicate, so that we both know the different ways that we feel about things.
Because of this, my life is good. My marriage is good.
I’ll be forever grateful for the example that my parents have set for me. I am young and unexperienced in marriage, yes, but I feel like I’ve been given a head start and insight into how sweet such a relationship can be.
I hope there’s something in here that can motive or inspire you. Here’s to successful relationships for all!