Back Story: My husband and I met in May of 2009 and eloped in August of 2009. Yes, you read correctly. (LOL) We met and married inside of two months. It was wonderful. He was the best thing I never knew I needed. Ideally after getting married we would have moved in together, but we had previously made career commitments that we felt should be honored. So, for the first year of our marriage I remained in Fayetteville to teach and work on my degree while Jon lived and worked in West Palm Beach.
Shortly after our wedding (July 2010), a sorority sister called and asked me how I liked married life? She wanted to know if it was laughter all the time and crazy fun running around the house with your best friend. Well, I didn’t want to lie to her. I mean, yes I liked married life, but it definitely wasn’t laughter all the time. Far from it actually.
*** Let me pause here and clarify two important points. 1) My husband and I are both pretty honest about relationship stuff. We believe that being honest with other couples can help them to avoid, or better deal with bumps in the road. 2) Every couple has their own unique experience after marriage and living together. My goal in this blog is to share my experiences and let others know that they’re not alone in this life journey. It’s okay to admit that you struggle. It’s even better to rejoice in the success after the struggle. ***
The other day, my great college friend and I discussed how easy it can be to look at other couples who are smiling, holding hands, tearing up the dance floor at a wedding or skipping down the boardwalk at the beach, and write their love story in your imagination. You imagine they are so happy. They travel the world together and don’t argue. They compromise without complaint. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. We know these couples are not perfect because no couple is. The big WHAM however, is that we compare these imagined couples to our own relationship. So silly, but true. Thank God for honest friends who can admit to such silliness, but who can also bring you back to reality.
So I told her … we really struggled.
Each person comes into a marriage with different expectations. Even if you discuss these expectations before marriage, living them is something else. In addition to the expectations I had about my husband and his role, I struggled with expectations of myself and who I was as a wife. I had images in my head of what a wife should look like and act like. I looked at my other married friends and family, read the Bible … in my mind, I failed. For one, I don’t enjoy cooking. As a single female my favorite meals were spaghetti, Cheerios, and Ramen. Don’t get it twisted, my mother taught me how to cook. I can cook. Second, I clean, but my own way, on my own schedule, AND my own mess. Fail, fail, fail. Isn’t a good wife supposed to love cooking and cleaning her home? :-/ So because I wasn’t Sally homemaker I felt like I was failing as a wife. If that’s not enough, I struggled with changing my name. Yes. I struggled. I liked my maiden name. Now I had to change my name. Who is Jocelynn Hubbard? I had spent all my energy, until that time, developing the other Jocelynn. This wasn’t some middle school crush whose name you doodle on your notebook. It was real. I was taking a new name. Then, I moved to a new city. My husband’s city. He grew up there. His family lives there. I felt like I was drowning and I took it all out on my husband. We argued way more than we laughed. — After the music stops, the cake is gone, and the dress is packed away, the real begins. —
Four years later, Jon and I look back and chuckle. We don’t laugh quite yet. We’re not separated or headed for divorce. But in those four years have we learned to laugh more than we argue? Haha! Mostly, yes. Hey, we’ve only been in the race for four years; a major accomplishment yes, but by no means the end of the journey. Life brings new challenges – kids, moves, death, career change, accidents. With each joyful event and each sad event, we grow and learn each other in a new way. What we have learned however, is the importance of working for what we want. During the “after wedding hell” we eventually had to decide what we wanted. We decided that we wanted each other and a life together. With that decision, also came the task of getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses as a husband and a wife. We had to evaluate our expectations of each other and ourselves. We had to discover each other’s love language.
Listen, if you are newly married and are facing bumps that seem like mountains, you can
move on to greatness. I say can because it is a choice. Your choice.
Can you get out of your own head long enough to hear what your spouse is saying?
Can you acknowledge that you may need to make some changes?
You can have the marriage of your dreams, but only you have the power to make that happen. There is no script, no special lighting, no romantic music swelling in the background. You choose. You. Choose. Two things that won’t help:
- Comparing your relationship to that of other couples. You have no idea what is going on between them.
- Thinking there is someone better. Better is relative. Everyone has flaws. So, you can either work with this person’s flaws or the next person’s flaws. (Point of clarification: If you are in an emotionally, physically, or mentally abusive relationship there is someone better.)
If you have a desire to be married, I hope this wasn’t too heavy. Marriage is beautiful and I love it, but it does take work. A great marriage doesn’t just happen. Work through the bumps. Get help if you need it. Seek Godly counsel. Surround yourself with Christian couples seeking to improve their marriage for the glory of God.
When people say, “Jocelynn has the perfect life,” I cringe a little. I obviously have so much to be thankful for, but my marriage has been under trial just like many other marriages. What I thank God for, is the perfect mate for me. Jon has the patience of Job. He has learned to work through our issues with me. There were weeks in the beginning when we barely spoke to each other. (Ouch!) Thank God we worked past that. I wouldn’t trade my life or my marriage for anyone else’s. I love my husband. I love that he can deal with my little bit of crazy. J I thank God that he is seeking Christ for guidance on how to be the best husband and father.
Four years later, when I talk to that same sorority sister, I tell her that Jon and I have learned to appreciate falling in love over and over again. He is truly the best thing I never knew I needed.
Photograph by Nadean Bruehlman @ Gene Ho Photography
Neyo – Best Thing I Never Knew I Needed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA-6u52VoD8&sns=em
Whether you are single with a desire to marry, engaged, or married, try this.
1. Take down your guard for a few minutes. Be honest.
2. Grab a sheet of paper or your journal.
3. Create a chart like the one to the left.
4. Discuss these expectations. If you are single, seek Godly council from a pastor, Christian couple. If you are engaged or married, share these lists with your spouse. Having an open, honest discussion about expectations is critical to a successful, reality based relationship.
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