Monday, 1 July 2013

Early Marriage Blues

Ashley and John got married about a year ago. At first, things went on well. They made long term plans like any other couple. But lately Ashley thinks John has changed. He doesn't spend as much time with her as he used to, his temper is so short and they seem to argue over everything, he leaves his clothes all over the place and when she complains he flays up and tells her she is nagging him. She feels he has changed so much, he is not the wonderful, loving and understanding man she married. She doesn't want to say she regrets getting into the marriage but that is how she feels. She wants to keep loving him but she is beginning to hate him and is wondering what she got herself into. Divorce? No, she doesn't want that, even though it creeps into her mind once in a while. She is so depressed and unhappy and wants to fix this but how can she when her attempts always turn into another senseless argument. This is so difficult.

"He has changed" or "She has changed". These words are so common in the early years of marriage. It makes you wonder if there is any couple that did not mutter these words in their early years of marriage. 
The first few years of marriage can be difficult because you are still learning a lot about living together as a married couple. You are gone past the butterfly feelings of dating and courtship, the excitement of the wedding and the fantasy of the honeymoon, next stop, reality and it just hits you without any warning, if you are unprepared it may hit so hard that you may not be able to handle it and down goes your marital bliss. 
A lot of couples experience what Ashley is experiencing in the first few years of their marriage because most times couples don't get enough information, preparations and direction before going into a marriage. They often go in thinking the fantasy of the honeymoon will continue. They have to be told about the realities of marriage. There will be misunderstandings, how do you handle them when they occur? Both of you were raised in different homes, picked up different habits while growing up, had different friends, react differently to situations. Considering all these factors and the fact that you have to live with each other and see each other everyday, you see it requires more work than you thought, right? But there is a way out, communication....

The Beauty of Communication

The usefulness of this tool in marriage cannot be over emphasised. Learn to communicate your feelings properly and you'll find that the misunderstandings and arguments will be considerably reduced. While communicating your feelings, do not confuse them with your thoughts or judgement. Always say what you feel, how a certain thing makes you feel and not what you think or try to accuse or judge  him/her. Express how you feel in the most loving way you can and don't aim to win. You are not at war.
After you have spoken, give him/her a chance to speak and while they speak, listen attentively to what they have to say, do not interrupt and do not ask unnecessary questions. Be quick to apologise when you are wrong and even quicker to accept an apology and forgive.

I suggest that Ashley tries to have a conversation with john tell on a day he is in a good mood, maybe on a weekend, when both of them are likely not stressed from work. She should tell him how she feels and try to not judge him as he may be going through the same changes that she is going through and would not know unless he opens up to her. Trying to communicate with him the right way will surely get him to open up and hopefully it will be a step in the right direction. Both should be honest with each other and actively work towards maintaining a healthy marital relationship.

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