Post-wedding bliss: the anticipation of the honeymoon, the excitement of finally living together as man and wife, the thrill of starting life together. Fast-forward several months later, all newly-weds will find themselves knee-deep in the reality of truly getting to know their other half.
I have been married for 13 years and my husband and I still catch each other off-guard with new sounds and smells (often fascinating, sometimes peculiar) that our bodies are able to produce. Add children into the mix and my husband will be the first to admit that marriage brings out the good, the bad and the ugly.
While there has never been any doubt that we are in it for the long haul, it would have been nice to have been privy to a few insights about each other before we said, “I do”.
“Marriage brings out the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Here are 3 things that 13 years of marriage have revealed to us:
1. Socks, socks everywhere!
I have learnt that no matter how accessible our laundry baskets are in the house, I will find at least one sock on the floor, sometimes right next to the laundry basket itself! I used to get upset, thinking that I was always picking up after my husband. I could feel the resentment build in me with every sock I helped to place into the basket. It was only months later that I realised he was not leaving his socks around on purpose.
If I had known that he was not even aware of what he wasn’t doing, I would have been less uptight about picking up the socks and more open to sharing my frustration with my husband. I, myself, needed to realise that even an item as small as a sock, if not dealt with, can lead to a wedge in a marriage relationship.
I always knew that my wife liked things in place but I didn’t know just how uptight she would be about mess in the house. It just never occurred to me that my socks would cause her so much frustration! All I needed was for her to be clear about her expectations and I would have been happy to comply.
If I had known earlier that we both had such different tolerance levels for mess, I would have made a greater effort to be more mindful and assure her that I am invested in working together to making our house a home.
2. Night and Day
I am someone who appreciates the importance of sleep and haven’t been too much of a night owl. Having children validated my need for sleep and with babies who were early risers, I found myself going to bed earlier and earlier each night. My husband, on the other hand, is a natural late sleeper and would struggle to wake up early in the morning to help me with the children.
Even before marriage, I have always enjoyed the quiet of the night, when all are asleep and I have time to myself. This continued after marriage where I would find myself sleeping past 1am each night. It was just something my physical body was so used to doing.
I found myself wanting us to spend time talking late at night when my wife was the most tired, while she found herself wanting to talk in the morning when I wanted to rest.
If we had known earlier that we had such vastly different sleeping habits, we would have been more intentional at making gradual adjustments to our body clocks to achieve quality time together.
Now, my husband makes it a point to start winding his day down and going to bed by midnight, while I try to stay up a little later so that we can spend some time catching up before bed.
3. Building an “us” after kids is hard work
Married life in Singapore is constantly abuzz with to-dos for work, family and in the home. The busyness of living in Singapore grew exponentially as soon as we had children. Before we had children, we used to spend hours getting to know each other and talking about our plans, our hopes, and our dreams.
After the children came along, we found ourselves so busy that neither of us realised that apart from discussing functional matters concerning the children, we had stopped talking altogether.
It felt as if our marriage relationship had taken a backseat to the rigours of maintaining a household of children. Thankfully, we had good friends who convinced us that the children would be better off if we took some time out for each other and maintained a strong connection.
If we had known that the busyness of life with kids can easily distract us from growing our relationship, we would have worked hard at making date-nights happen. We now understand that it takes two to continue growing our marriage relationship.
“The busyness of daily life can easily distract us from growing our relationship…we now understand that it takes two to continue growing our marriage relationship.”
To some, 13 years may seem like a long-enough time to know someone inside and out but we know that the beauty of making a life together is that there is always something new to discover about each other daily, peculiar smells included!
“The beauty of making a life together is that there is always something new to discover about each other daily."
© 2019 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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Sue-Ann Lee is the mother of three spirited and hilarious children who have nicknamed themselves, Rainbow Skye, Chubbs Salami and Fatt Spaghetti. Writing about her parenting experiences brings her great joy as it allows her to relive the many precious lessons learnt along the way.