After getting married, I found out a few things about myself. These are things that were already there, but didn’t really come to forefront when I was single. When I was single, I made decisions without consulting anyone. I did not have to compromise or make sacrifices with another adult (when it came to my personal matters.)

But being married, there’s this whole other person to consider. And if you are operating as a team, then you need to collaborate on most things, you need to consider your spouse’s feelings, you need to consider how your moods, your attitudes, and actions will impact him/her. Yes, my marriage put me to the test and forced me to deal with aspects of my personality and character that I probably hadn’t dealt with since living with my siblings.

I found out that if I really wanted to make my marriage work, that I had some growing up to do. I had some junk that I had to deal with. Yes, marriage is work. But, I have to tell you that the benefits far outweigh any of these things that I choose to do for my marriage. I can honestly say that without a shadow of a doubt that I am 100% loved by Nouman. And do you know how safe and comforting that feels? Every day, I get to face life knowing that my best friend is there right by my side. So yes, I am going to do whatever it takes to protect that. Check out 5 major ways that I had to grow-up after getting married:

1. I had to learn how to say I’m sorry
This might not be a challenge for some of you. But it was very difficult for me (and I suspect that I am not alone in this.) Growing up, we did not apologize for things. We were family and we just got over things and moved on. But, I realized that this type of behavior is not acceptable in marriage. Yes, you and your spouse can move on…but you start to build resentment and destroy intimacy. When you apologize, it really forces you to own up to your mess and hopefully think about making some changes. I really have to thank Lamar for helping me grow in this area. He is always good about apologizing for things that he does/says to hurt me. And, he deserves the same respect from me too. But y’all pray for me in this area, as I am a work in progress.

2. I had to learn to ask for what I want
This one is not as simple as you think it is. Number one, you can’t expect your spouse to be a mind reader, if you want something then you have to tell him/her. Number two, this requires that you actually know what you want.

3. I had to learn that I am responsible for my own happiness

Of course, there are things that my spouse can do to make me unhappy. (Let’s just face it, I am not going to be happy if he sleeps with another woman.) But at the end of the day, I can’t make him solely responsible for my happiness. That comes from within. One of the most popular articles on our site is Marriage Was Not Designed to Make You Happy where author Denise Anderson says: “Happiness is a personal choice and is not contingent upon one’s circumstances. There are plenty of happy poor folks and miserable millionaires. If you aren’t happy before marriage, chances are you won’t be happy in it. And unfortunately, a lot of people get dejected when they enter a marriage and realize they’re not as happy as they thought they’d be. Learn to be happy independent of outside influences.” I had to learn to take responsibility for my own happiness. And that means taking the time to understand what I need, and then taking actions towards changing things (i.e – asking for what I want, catering to my needs, getting some me-time….).

4. I had to stop running my mouth
Who me? Yes, me. And this lesson has many meanings. Like, literally stop running your mouth sometimes and watch what you say to your spouse. Hitting below the belt with my words is not acceptable. But it also means that I had to learn that I could not talk about my marital problems or my spouse to just anyone. Not everyone is going to have the best interest of my marriage in mind. And, it’s not always as duplicitous as that….sometimes people just don’t know how to have healthy relationships. And while I know they love me, I probably should not be seeking counsel from them. However, I still need an outlet…so I have picked my confidants very carefully.

5. Better me = Better Marriage
You might not be able to relate to any of the areas that I have been working on. You might be saying, geez she has issues…poor Lamar. But I am quite sure that if you look deep down, you will have your own set of issues…your own junk to deal with. And I’ve found that regardless of what Lamar does, that when I focus on me, then I reap the benefits and so does my marriage.

Written by Ronnie Tyler