Young and Hitched: What Is Marriage?| Guest Post
Hello friends! This is a guest post by Sean from Authentically Average. As with all guest posts, they're here to share some a new perspective, hot tip, or something different that you wouldn't get if you were just reading my voice all the time. All views expressed here are theirs and may differ from what you are normally used to from me. Please be kind and open - there is always something for us to learn when we step outside our normals. - Until next time, Soph!
Hey there, readers. My name is Sean, and I run the Authentically Average blog. If this is the first time we’ve met, welcome! If you enjoy this post, I hope to win you over as a regular reader. A huge, huge thank you to Sophie for inviting me to write my first guest post! This week's brand-new post focuses on one of my favorite topics: marriage. My wife and I were married in May of last year and just celebrated our first anniversary, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned so far with you all! Let’s start with a simple one.
Marriage is awesome and beautiful.
Seriously, think for a second about what marriage means. There’s someone so unbelievably important to you that you want to spend your entire life with them. That’s kind of nuts, isn’t it? I feel like so many people are wired to be “free spirits”, and you’re foregoing that sense of “freedom” because you see the possibility of what you can build with a partner. It has certainly been true in my relationship – I swore up and down that I wouldn’t seriously consider settling down until after finishing my PhD, and then maybe I’ll figure it out. NOPE. Alli came speeding into my life like a bullet train, and we’ve been able to accomplish so many things as a team beyond what we might have done on our own.
Marriage is also a challenge.
It’s never easy to combine your life with someone else’s. I tend to find that ease in a relationship typically comes with a lack of depth in the relationship, and if you’re looking for a simple, always breezy home life, maybe find a decent roommate rather than a spouse. Alli and I have a wonderful marriage, and I fall more in love with her every day. Notice that that doesn’t say we never disagree or fight, always see 100% eye-to-eye on everything, and are exactly the same person. We do sometimes fight, don’t always agree, and are good complements but FAR from the same person, and THAT IS OKAY AND HOW IT SHOULD BE. Which brings us to…
Marriage requires practice and (the right amount of) attention.
Alli and I are happy parents of a growing succulent garden, and I think there’s a great analogy here. Succulents, like a healthy relationship, seem like they should be incredibly hard to kill, but nevertheless, you can kill your plants both overwatering and by underwatering them. Likewise, you can do real damage to any relationship, but particularly marriage, by oversaturating it or by being distant. A couple in a healthy marriage also has healthy relationships with friends outside of the marriage. Too often it seems like our friends “disappear” after they get married, but it’s quite important to maintain the thriving (appropriate) friendships you had before you got married, or you may find yourselves getting sick of each other. Likewise, you should naturally spend some less time with friends after getting married, because you have a lifelong relationship to care for now.
Marriage needs to be grounded in something…
and I don’t feel right talking about my marriage without talking about our faith. Alli and I are both Catholic, and that was actually a huge factor in our preparation for marriage that I’ll write about in a future post (stay tuned!) I think it’s critically important for a marriage to be grounded in some way. Alli and I go to Mass together every Sunday, she got me involved in youth ministry after she’d had a great experience, and we read our Bible together every morning before work. That’s not a “look how awesome we are” sentence. Rather, we find that the further we grow and develop in our faith, the closer we feel to each other. We didn’t start to read our Bible together until Lent of this year, and in that short time I feel miles closer to her than before.
Marriage is something that needs to be open.
Again, this is a life partner, not a roommate or a moderately close friend. Secrets tend to kill relationships in a number of ways. In my extensive experience (sarcasm, having been married for a very quick year), you have to be transparent with your spouse. Trust your partner to love you through whatever you’re not telling them. It’s hard to have difficult conversations. It’s also worth it for the continued growth of your relationship.* Transparency is key to a successful relationship. Over on my own blog, I dive deeper into transparency in marriage, particularly in relation to money - head on over to read more!
Lastly, marriage needs to be prepared for.
I’ll discuss our own marriage prep in more detail at a later date, but in general, marriage isn’t to be taken lightly. You wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) run a marathon or fly a plane without practice and training. That’s a great way to crash and burn. Similarly, a great way to make your marriage crash and burn is to rush into it. Trust the process. Learn about each other. Figure out not only if you’re ready to marry your future spouse, but more broadly if you’re ready for marriage at all. If not, how/when could you get there? Admitting you aren’t ready for marriage sucks. What’s worse is waiting until being married to decide that.
I hope these thoughts were halfway helpful! I love talking about marriage and have even written a deep dive post into marriage and money over on my own blog Authentically Average! I’m sure some of my friends are sick of it by now, but I can’t help it. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that marriage is the real deal and is to be taken seriously.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Sean, and I’m the creator of the Authentically Average blog. I write about my experiences as a husband, PhD student, cook, travel buddy, Catholic, and all-around average human being. If you’re loving this post or are intrigued by my writing and want to read more, follow along with my adventures here! If you’re feeling extra loving and generous, please support me on Ko-Fi, to keep my blog running. Happy reading!