4. History repeats itself.
A client of mine had her family torn apart by her father‘s infidelity. As she grew up and went through therapy, she realized what a profound effect the infidelity had on her emotional health and she promised herself she would never do that in her marriage.
After 10 years of marriage, she was feeling alone, ignored, and not prioritized in her marriage. Along came a man who made her feel alive and heard. And what did she do? She had an affair.
The affair almost killed her. She felt so happy in the moments she was with him but felt so guilty afterward. She worried that what she was doing would destroy her family – and her affair partner’s family. She felt like she had let herself down by doing the one thing that she swore she would never do.
Why does history repeat itself? Because when we are children, our parents are our life. Whether we want to or not, we watch them and absorb their behaviors, good and bad, and strive to emulate them. We don’t have the cognitive awareness to know any better. By the time we are grownups, those traits have been well established and hard to let go of.
I really wish that one of the things that my mom had told me about marriage was that history does repeat itself. She experienced the same problems her parents did and if she had recognized that and shared it with me, I might have been able to do things differently.
5. Marriage is complicated.
I know we all want a fairy tale – that we will live happily ever after with our spouse, in our perfect house with our perfect family. All of our dreams will come true.
Unfortunately, that is just a fairy tale. Marriage is long and hard and very complicated.
What are some of the things that make a marriage complicated?
- Extended family
- Goals for the future
- Communication skills
- Emotional Health
- People changing
I would encourage you to take a look at your marriage and see how healthy you are in those certain areas. I know that in my marriage, my husband’s extended family caused a big rift between my ex and me and that our communication skills around it were non-existent.
I always prioritized the kids, he prioritized work and our sex life was dead. I struggled with depression and he didn’t have the tools to help me.
The lesson here is that marriage is not all about being soulmates and living happily ever after. Marriage is about two people who are joined together for the rest of their lives, in the messy world of babies, extended family, financial considerations, etc.
It is essential for people who are getting married to go in with their eyes wide open, recognizing that marriage is going to be a lot of work and probably not the stuff that we see on TV and in movies.
In retrospect, the things that I wish my mother had told me about marriage were things that she wasn’t even aware that she needed to tell me.
Back in the day, we just didn’t talk about these things. Therapy was pretty much non-existent and couples really struggled with the words to face these realities.
To be fair, my mother probably had NO IDEA that she needed to tell me these things or that she had even experienced them herself.
It’s a different world now. I always tell my kids that they will learn by the example that I have set, and the things that we have talked about, and that their marriages will succeed where mine didn’t.
It can be the same for you. Even if your mother didn’t have the skills to tell you what you needed to hear before your marriage, you know them now and you can implement them and change family patterns and get your fairy tale ending!
You can do this!
Written By: Mitzi Bockmann
Originally Appeared On: Let Your Dreams Begin