Marriage has been an incredible experience. It’s nothing like I ever imagined, but, instead, so much more than I could have ever dreamed of. It’s one of my favorite topics to discuss here on el blog because it just fascinates me. So many of us take the plunge and experience our lives with a partner we promised to love forever. But, how does a marriage really look like on a daily basis. What I am trying to ask is:
What happens after happily ever after?
First of all, let me preface by saying I am not trying to dissect my marriage or the institution of marriage. I just enjoy discussing the beauty and challenges of making this life commitment and discussing what everyone else has experienced.
Now, lets’ get down and dirty.
Sex is not everything.
I know what you’re thinking. What? Without a sex life, how can a marriage survive? That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just divulging the fact that in a marriage you need more than a great sex life. This awesome Huff Post article talks about the illusion that sex is a panacea for all your marriage woes. So not the case! Intimacy holds so much more value in a marriage. Sex is a key component of that, but you also need to show care and affection to your partner. Marriage is not one steamy sex scene after another, but, instead, a series of moments when you feel like both of your hearts are united in love in the most mundane of daily events.
You Do Need a Break.
As much as you may adore the other person, you do sometimes get sick of the person if you are ALWAYS together doing absolutely everything. Now, this may work for some, but it certainly does not work for myself or my closest married gal friends. I know there are things Mr. ShuGar loves doing on his own, especially since he’s an introvert and a screenwriter. I confess that I love to blog and Zumba all on my own. Mr. ShuGar has his boy nights and I have my girl nights. We need this time apart to replenish our souls and indulge in our passions. If not, the relationship feels stifling and stagnant. In marriage you grow as a couple and as an individual.
Fights Can Get Personal.
This is the sort of difficult side of marriage. You promised to cherish and love your partner forever, but then life throws you into stressful situations where you both clash. It’s absolutely inevitable. It happens to the best of marriages. The thing is, since you have such a close bond, you also know how to hurt the person and go below the belt (so to speak). You know each other’s triggers all too well. It’s hard to not go there sometimes. Of course, you immediately regret doing so and, over time, these kinds of confrontations can have damaging effects on the relationship. For us, I always try to reflect on my behavior and ways to improve what I do/say during our fights. The last thing I want to do is hurt Mr. ShuGar, even though I sometimes do inadvertently. This is where our marriage therapist rocks! She calls us both out when we are being jerks.
The Boring Times are the Best of Times
Marriage is made up of mundane moments with someone you are sharing your daily life with forever. As unsexy as this sounds, I sometimes have the best conversations with Mr. ShuGar while we are washing the dishes after dinner. Or, we have fun shopping at Trader Joe’s every week! It’s exciting going through the aisles and choosing the meals you will eat together. Lately, we’ve been spending our weekends at Orchard Supply and Home Depot planning our home improvement projects! What? I never thought I would say that….ever! These what-may-seem-insignificant moments reveal your love for each other as each day passes you by. And, yes, a lot of times, I’d rather be on the couch with Mr. ShuGar than anywhere else in the whole wide world.
Happily Ever After is Hard Work.
I don’t care if you say you are in the happiest of marriages. It is still something you have to work hard at. It just doesn’t happen with two people living together over a long period of time. There needs to be nourishment and investment in the relationship in the good, the bad, and the ugly times. It’s not easy because a lot of times you want to just “be” and not work at improving the relationship. For example, as busy as my days are, I start off by showering Mr. ShuGar with hugs and kisses before he wakes up. I never leave home without doing this. Even if I am running late (which is often), I make time to show him I love him. There are other times when we have lengthy discussions about issues and it gets tiring. But, neglecting these things can result in resentment down the road, so they must be addressed. In the end , the hard work is worth it because you enjoy the closeness you develop in the process.
Ultimately, marriage teaches you about yourself and your immense ability to love another human being. It’s the greatest life lesson I’ve ever had. It’s also the greatest gift I have.
What are some truths you have found in your marriage? Or, what misconceptions did you have about marriage? What does marriage mean to you?
P.S. Stress in a Marriage
Photo credit: Ashley Rose
A Cup of ShuGar is a series exploring the sweetness of life. For more Cup of ShuGar, click here!
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