I often come across couples these days who struggle after getting married. This even includes couples who have been dating for years.Trust issues, insecurity, want of more attention from your spouse, difference of interests, encroachment of personal space, inability to frankly communicate with each other ,difficulty in expressing emotions into words,decline in romance or spontaneity, etc are few of the reasons why many couples end up becoming loggerheads post marriage.
These problems are common while dating too but they get prominent after marriage as you are living with each other 24 hours. That one habit that you didn’t like of your spouse will be experienced by you everyday as opposed to just 2-3 times a week. Before marriage, you take initiative to do little things for your partner because you see them less but after marriage, you can tend towards taking things for granted because you have the luxury of time.It is the battle of quality vs quantity.
So why do things change and how do we make them better?
To the contrary belief that marriage is no different from a relationship except for the legal aspect, marriage in fact is a lot more intense unless you are in a live- in because expectations and answerability increases.
Wives expect you to come home early and give them your time. They expect you to message frequently to let them know where you are and what you are doing. They don’t like it if you drink or smoke as the worry for your health increases keeping in mind you might have kids later on. Men are not used to such answerability. They have a need for personal space.
Husbands on the other hand expect their wives to be the same as they were before marriage and let them be themselves. They expect women to be less stressed out about things and trust the men that they can handle both their lives perfectly. Women by nature , however have the need to control and know everything.
Emotional maturity in a marriage is all about finding a balance between these two extreme natures and building a life together while being individually fulfilled.
We need to remember that relationships are like plants that need nurturing everyday. That is why, the most successful relationships are of those people who are aware and understand that relationships need constant effort and work towards becoming emotionally mature.
How do you know if you both are emotionally mature as a couple ? (See how many are applicable to you and what you need working on)
1. You hardly fight with your partner. Not because you don’t have problems but you rather talk it out than shout or nit pick. You focus on understanding him or her more than accusing, blaming ,repeating or stretching the issue.You know they mean it when they say sorry and you don’t hold grudges against each other.
2. You learn to let go of small little things rather than picking them and starting a fight
E.g Why did you keep the wet towel on the bed?
Instead, you should pick it up and put it at the right place and casually remind them to keep it properly the next time. Everything does not need to become a big issue. We are all human and definitely not perfect.
3. You trust your spouse more than anything and everything in the world.You are not in a need to constantly hide your phone or personal communication items from your partner or check theirs. You know deep down they will always want the best for you.You have each others back.
4. You are not scared of saying anything to your partner due to having the fear that he/she will get angry with you. At the same time you are emotionally sensitive to him/her while saying so.You don’t play games to get your point across but feel comfortable enough to tell them directly.
5. You do not air your dirty laundry in public or on social media.What happens between you both stays between you.
6. You understand when they need to be heard and require you to just support and be a listening ear and not lecture.
7. You do not constantly try to change your partner, compare or criticize them.You love them for the way they are and for the core values they hold. You can help them become a better person if they have bad habits by positive suggestion and working with them to improve it. However, trying to change their core personality means you don’t love them for who they are.
For eg. Your partner loves basket ball and you don’t.He likes to devote time to it.
Instead of cribbing about it and not letting him watch or play , you are taking away an important part of his life from him – his passion.Understand that this passion makes him.If you feel they are not giving you time because of it,talk to him and set a time together where he can enjoy the freedom of pursing his interests without you feeling ignored.Find a middle ground.
8. You don’t threaten to break up or divorce at every fight.
9. You do not criticize or demean when you are angry rather you are suggestive and supporting.You know there is no point bringing past issues to make your partner feel guilty.You focus on the present.
10. You feel free to discuss your sexual preferences and habits.You try to be playful and say or do romantic things for your partner to surprise them.You understand the importance of small things.
11. You know difficulties and differences will surely come but you also understand love is about loyalty ,dedication and commitment.You constantly work in making these values within you stronger.
12. You take a check on the habits that annoy your better half and strive to improve yourself and become a better partner even for small like, messaging more often, informing each other, being hygienic , smoking less,etc
13. You understand each others financial limitations.It is not about only one partner providing.Marriage is a partnership and a couple must be comfortable in discussing how they want their life to be in terms of money,housing,kids,leisure and aspirations..You constantly discuss your values regarding this and have a middle path which caters to both of you.
These points might sound utopian but in reality they are very practical.It is all about openly communicating.You don’t need to have all at once but you can work towards building them at a much earlier stage.If you lack in any of the above points, find out why they arise in the first place.If you understand the root cause whether it is is due to an inbuilt insecurity, bad past experiences, childhood trauma, being cheated on before or just lack of expressing, then it is easier to resolve and work on it.Often couples ignore working on these core factors .They only focus on instant gratification and enjoyment.
If you are deep into dating, then start working on these aspects of emotional strengthening before you marry or if you are already married then try building on them in your initial years to build that level of emotionally maturity required for a happy,successful and fulfilling relationship.
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