June 27, 2017 By Jerry Mulenburg

What Marriage Teaches You

Most of what I really needed to know about life happened after I got married: how to act, what to do, and how to live. This kind of wisdom doesn’t get handed down from family or from the Internet but happens right there, next to someone you love and with whom you want to live. What I learned was that you can want anything but you can only have some things, and you learn how to choose what’s needed, what’s most important, and what you can afford. You learn to be fair about your needs and wants and theirs, and when to give up some of yours for peace of mind.

You now share the same space but not always exactly equally. Faults and values may be quite different from what you thought. You need to be useful and not a burden. You can’t do just what you want but have to be considerate and accommodating of another’s wants and needs. You work together on things you both want to accomplish, but you each save some personal time and space for yourself. You’re not stingy with yourself but are frugal with your resources so there’s always enough, and sometimes even a little extra. Despite being poor at the beginning with mismatched furniture, dishes, and silverware, you take care to make your earnings last.

You learn to share not just things, but your time and energy. If you want to use something that’s not yours, you ask first. If you offend, you apologize and try not to do that again. You watch your hygiene if you expect others to do so. You need to make sure the TP roll is the right way, put the lid down and dry off the counter if you spill. If you use something, you have to put it away when finished. If you make a mess, it’s yours to clean. If you see a need, it’s yours to fill. Animals may sometimes be part of a family, but they need care and attention. Don’t overdo it.

You applaud each other’s accomplishments, celebrate each other’s successes, and comfort each other when there are failures and in bad times. As you grow older, no matter how life changes, you double your efforts to be kind and generous with each other. You stick together because you are no longer two separates, but a larger one. You take care of each other better than you would just yourself.

And this is an important one. Don’t forget to hold hands no matter how long you’ve been together!


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