11 Improvements in 11 years—Marriage Doesn’t Have to Mean You Lose Your Freedom

I was married young, and instead of being happy for me, many people questioned why I would give my life to such a thing at such a young age.  I was asked questions like, “Why would you want to do that?”, and “Are you sure?” As a child of divorced parents, I wasn’t sure of my role as a wife, and what the future would hold for me, but I knew that I was a person that once I decide to do something, I am in it for the long haul- totally committed, dedicated, and loyal.   I wanted to be “independent”—I would always work on my career, would NEVER be a stay at home mom, didn’t like doors opened for me, and had to be “me”.  I was in my final year of college when I got married, and let’s just say I had a lot to learn as a young wife.

I thought I was going to lose my freedom, and “lose myself” along the way.  But I found that I didn’t really know myself, until I had to share myself and my space with someone else—your fears, hopes, pet peeves, differences, etc.  are merged (yes, just like on the freeway).  This is a tough task, and if there is no commitment to grow, compromise, and learn with the person you are with, it becomes a very bumpy ride. If you are always in your own world trying to “know yourself” you miss out on the lessons you learn from others.

After being married eleven years, I can say that marriage has been challenging at times, but there has been way more rewards.  Here are 11 improvements that have occurred during the duration of our marriage:

1)      Communication– We now discuss small issues that bother us (try to do so when we are not angry), so they do not become larger issues.

2)      Home Ownership– We purchased a home by the time we were 25–this might not have happened if we were on our own.

3)      Education- We finished our educational goals that we set before we ever thought of getting married. We encouraged each other along the way, and made sacrifices to ensure the other could be as successful as possible.

4)      Travel–We have traveled places we might not have traveled to alone (Hawaii, Spain, small (unfamiliar) towns, plantations—the list continues to grow). The bond we have strengthens with each new place we travel to. We learn more about each other’s preferences, and have to rely on each other in strange and new places.

5)      Roles as a Husband and a Wife– We now have a greater understanding of this.  I will admit, I had very little understanding of this when I got married.

6)      A softened heart– Hubby was fine in this area, as he was already very compassionate, and aware of how he responds to others.  But through patience prayer, and modeling of behavior, I definitely don’t have the fight in me that I used to bring to anyone who dared to get in my way.

7)      We have learned to have fun, and be SPONTANEOUS.  Surprisingly, this went away when we first got married, but we slowly worked it back into our lives.

8)      Respect–Our level of respect has grown even stronger. We let the world know of our commitment to our spouse, and command more respect for each other and our household. We do this by including each other in our work/career endeavors, and showing value and appreciation to one another.

9)      Shoulder to Lean on– We have learned how to lean on each other better than when we were first married. When one is weak, we are better able to sense that the other needs help, and when to “back off.”

10)   Be an Example– We have improved in the area of being an example for each other.  Rather than nag or bug the other person about something we need changed in our relationship, we have learned to show care or tend to the needs of each other better.  We have also improved on being more transparent, so that we can be an example for other couples.

11)   Thus says the Lord–   We have taken Christ’s examples, and applied it to our marriage, and our lives. We have grown in our walk with the Lord, and our faith has increased through many tests, and triumphs. This is THE MOST important improvement.

I watched a video of our wedding the other day. It was a simple wedding (due to lack of income and resources), and we didn’t have a lot of fuss. As I looked at us as a couple, I saw physical changes, but I am thankful for the spiritual and emotional changes I never knew would come.  If marriage meant me giving up my freedom, I can honestly say I would have been “freely lost”.

Thank you Lord, for the blessing of this union!  We are so grateful for eleven years, and look forward to continuing to improve each day we have left on this Earth.

By Mrs. Whys

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