11 Lessons I Learned in My 11 Year Marriage
The year of Steel (anniversary wise).
My partner and I have been married for 11 years. We were married at Home Affairs, in a less than elegant setting, early on a summer's morning. We were young. We were in love. We were ready to face the world together.
After 11 years, I would say "I do" all over again. And in those 11 years, I have learned a few lessons.
1. You can go to bed angry.
There is an old saying along the lines of "never go to bed angry" or some bullshit about working through an argument before you go to bed. This is utter and complete nonsense.
No one, in my opinion, should be fighting or arguing or having lengthy discussions when they are tired and cranky. Staying up to work it out may only make things worse.
Many times we have gone to bed angry with each other, lying on the furthest sides of the Queen bed, and have woken up with a fresh perspective of whatever it was we were arguing about. And then we could sort it out like well-rested, calm adults. Honestly, many times, the only reason we were fighting was because we were tired.
2. You will argue about money.
At some point in your relationship, money, where to spend, where to save, and where to invest will come up, and you and your partner may have different ideas of what is best.
My partner and I have been fairly financially stable throughout the majority of our relationship, but have still had arguments and disagreements about money. Some were silly, some were more serious, and we got through all these arguments.
Our biggest life-saver was our joint budget that we manage on a shared Google Sheet.
3. You will be annoyed and you will be annoying. It's okay.
Your partner will annoy you and irritate you. You will annoy and irritate your partner. These feelings are perfectly okay. We are only humans after all.
The major difference between my partner and me when it comes to being annoyed is that I will speak up and say I'm annoyed and need to be left alone to let the annoyance leave me. And this annoys the crap out of him.
I can tell when he is annoyed because he becomes withdrawn, a bit dark and broody. This is also his go-to behavior if he just needs space. But I know, when I see this, it's my sign to silently slink away and let him deal with whatever he needs to deal with.
4. Your partner will do the laundry differently from you, it's not wrong…it's just different.
Unless they toss your jeans into the dryer at the hottest setting, then it's wrong. And this needs to be rectified ASAP because you only have so many jeans and you can't be wearing a pair that is now two sizes smaller and about 5 inches shorter than it should be.
5. Your partner is not telepathic, and neither are you. You both need to speak up.
This was something I swore I would never bring into my marriage. My mother loves "giving hints" instead of speaking up and saying what it is she wants you to do. And would then become angry and withdrawn when nobody got the hint. I would say it's probably taken my sister, father and I about 30 years to figure out when she is hinting at something.
Hints don't work. Speak up. Encourage your partner to speak up. You can't wait for 30 years until you or your partner have figured out when the hinting is occurring.
Similarly, your partner doesn't know if you are angry, upset, sad, wish they didn't throw your jeans into the dryer at the hottest setting unless you speak up and say something about it. Encourage your partner to speak up as well. Open communication is the key to a healthy relationship.
6. Nagging helps no-one.
That's all I need to say here. Nagging helps no-one.
7. Saying "I need attention" is a great way to get attention.
My partner is not very physically affectionate. It's just not in his nature. And to be honest, I'm not the most physically affectionate person either. But sometimes, I need to be affectionate and I need to cuddle or I need to hold hands. I find the best way to get this type of attention is to tell him straight up that I need attention.
If he has spent the entire day playing a PC game and has retreated into the world he lives in and I need some adult human attention, a chat, or whatever, I tell him.
8. You won't always find each other sexy. And sometimes you will be attracted to other people. It's perfectly fine.
Especially if you have been in a long-term relationship. Sometimes you or your partner may even have a crush on someone else. And that's okay too. It will pass and you might even be embarrassed that you had a crush on that person.
But if you are in a monogamous relationship, acting on these feelings is what isn't okay.
9. Your partner may decide that your expensive hair conditioner is just the thing he needs to keep his beard soft, luscious and healthy.
You've noticed your conditioner, which you pay a pretty penny for, seems to be decreasing at a slightly faster rate than usual. Your shampoo-conditioner ratio is out of whack. Then one evening you see it, your partner is squeezing a decent-sized glob of your conditioner, and rubbing it into the beard he has been nursing for weeks. But you don't mind, it makes it soft and cuddly.
10. Just because your partner isn't in "the mood" does not mean they don't love you anymore.
The body and the brain are a complicated thing. And if your partner isn't in "the mood" it doesn't mean they don't find you sexy, or that they don't love you. They may just be going through something. More often than not, they are stressed out or sleep-deprived. Ask them what is going on, let them speak, let them know you are worried.