Truth time: I write about marriage a lot, and yet I still feel like I have barely begun to scratch the surface on sharing what it’s really like. I have always been open and honest about the fact that Nathan and I do have struggles, we do fight, and life is not perfect. I am also the first to say that we are meant to be together and that no issue has been too big to bring to God and work out together.
Every relationship looks so different from the other, but there are common themes that arise in any marriage struggles - communication, finances, children, job issues, and the mundane stress that accompanies living with someone else who is just as imperfect as you are. Instead of writing about the struggles today as I normally do, I want to share the biggest positive lesson on staying happily married that I have learned - from my own husband.
Nathan and I often joke that we are the epitome of the phrase 'opposites attract.' We do have much in common, but we are completely different people. I am outgoing and he is shy. I majored in International Studies while he slogged through engineering (and did well, of course). He is slow, steady, and grounded, while I ping from one place and idea to another, a little afraid of commitment in a lot of ways.
This has been a wonderful thing, as we learn how to compromise, and has, of course, created disagreements as well. I want to rent a house (or loft!) forever, and he wants to buy. I would love life in a big city, and he prefers the suburbs. Growing up as an only child versus my big family of six, we have different views on money and roles and children.
So what does all this mean? The Honest Truth is that we are two incredibly different people, bound together by marriage and the grace of God. Nathan has handled this with grace in far more circumstances than I have. He has never tried to change me or make me someone who I am not. This is the key to so much of the joy in our marriage. Nathan gives me freedom in the person that I am and the things that I do - and always jokes his only condition is that I come home to him at the end of the day ;)
This is why I have been able to travel as much as I do. This is why I have my own small business while he works a steady day job, even when things weren't so steady and regular in photography. This is why he goes on dates to explore Ghent with me when he would just be happy getting sushi 10 minutes from our house and calling it a night.
It's nearly impossible to not have a desire for your spouse to change, but another Honest Truth is that we often confuse this with a desire for him or her to be more like us. We are different, and God made us that way. I am learning every day to celebrate the differences, embrace compromise, and live out our marriage as two unique and very imperfect people.
If you want to know a little bit more, or if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, I am always here. Please send me an email and I would love to talk with you about any and everything – no judgment attached :)