I must admit that I used to want everyone to be just like me. I even went so far as to think, “if they want to be happy, they will do as I do!” I had it all figured out! Until…I got married. Yep, marriage became a real eye-opener! I was 23 and took on two kids that were not biologically mine and it’s safe to say I had to reevaluate my way of thinking.
“If you expect everyone to be like you in life, you will be continually disappointed.” – My Dad
My husband (Erik) and I are very different from one another, to say the least. And we experienced distress in the most common of marital challenges: how we spent money, communication, sudden financial changes, and infertility.
Your mistakes add strength to your soul.
In my childhood, I never had much money. So, when I grew up, I celebrated, spent, and enjoyed. Carpe Diem! Erik on the other hand, is a saver who wants to protect our future (and rightfully so). I would come home beaming about my latest tulle skirt purchase (I even wrote a blog about it), oblivious to the fact that Erik might be frustrated as to my spending habits. When he expressed concern, I was quick to label him as a “controller” or worse “my father.”
Needless to say, I was growing bitter. I felt like my voice was not being heard and my opinions on our finances were not respected. I reached a low level of self-esteem and a deep-seeded insecurity causing me to question whether this marriage could work. (Ahhh…they do say “money is the root of all evil.”)
The times where we experienced the most marital distress occurred when we were in our own heads and not communicating effectively. Erik likes to process and thinks before he speaks. I of course, want to think and speak at the same time. You can imagine how our first arguments may have sounded!
Never stop being the person your partner fell in love with.
At one point, Erik lost his job, we almost lost our home, and our bickering reached an unusual proportion. The stress of our financial situation caused me to nag to such a degree that was strangely reminiscent of my mother. As Erik’s behavior began to change, thoughts such as these became overbearing for me:
“Is this what marriage supposed to be?”
“Why is he like this?” “I didn’t sign up for this!”
I soon discovered I wasn’t sensitive to his feelings. His behavior was not reflective of who he truly was. It was a shell of him in a depressed state due to the financial stress he was experiencing. (Perhaps not the best time to beam about my tulle skirt purchase?)
Never accept “it is what it is.”
Know that you can always do better
Through all of this distress and marital dissatisfaction, I realized I was not in touch or connected with my true sense of self. I became propelled to research, read books, take assessments, and tap further into my spirituality. This became a vital turning point for me!
I had to let go of the philosophies that were ingrained in me and define my own principles by answering “what do I believe?” and “who am I really?”
I became a Certified Relationship Coach for individuals, couples, and teens to help them to find their own connection to self and answer these important questions.