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Should You Change For Your Marriage?

Posted: 01/09/2013 10:21 am

Once upon a time, I met someone.

He was very impressive, very handsome, and very grown up. He had a collection of letters after his last name that I couldn't keep up with. I immediately felt an urge to stir up his life.

I fell deeply in love, but I wasn't enough the way I was.

I couldn't bear the thought of losing him.

He's right, I thought.

I'm too childish. I should grow up.

He doesn't eat Lucky Charms. Or read comics. Or watch cartoons. Or like messes.

He doesn't cry or laugh or talk passionately about things (unless they're important adult things).

"It's time to grow up, Kat," he said. "It's time I got my head out of the clouds and became 'realistic' about life."

So, I put my comic books away. I stopped talking about music and art. I tempered my excitement about creativity. I talked instead about business strategy, logistics, and scalability issues.

I became a very impressive person.

I wore a suit to work every day.

I became an executive.

My relationship flourished.

Sometimes, though, if I listened very closely, I'd feel this terrible ache -- this unsettled stirring in my gut. It made me weep with loneliness, and yell in rage.

Click here why you sometimes need to explode after a break-up.

Whenever I'd indulge in this part of me, we'd fight. The horrible static that hung in the air for hours after would weigh on my chest. I'd feel shame.

"I'm ruining the relationship. I have to stop acting like this. I need to be more disciplined and more practical," I thought.

So, I would tighten the vice on my heart and change again.

It worked.

I was so practical that when we got married, I didn't even have the wedding I had dreamed of my whole life.

I was so disciplined that I never let him know about my faults or my past, and he never would, because I edited my life into crisp, concise anecdotes that I fed him at every turn.

I had completely changed.

And when that other, messy, unruly, passionate girl would try and get out, it was so much easier to control her now.

Because I was now his wife.

I did everything that a good wife is supposed to do.

I did everything I thought was right.

I gave up my career. I helped him with his business. I made dinner every night. I did the laundry. I stepped back, so he could step forward.

Then one day, I became a mother. I had a beautiful little girl. And the walls came tumbling down.

This little girl ignited the wonderment in my life again. Her reactions were pure and unfiltered and beautifully real. She cried. She laughed. She acted out.

She reminded me to live in the moment. To ask, "Why not?" I could feel life trickling back into my heart. I started writing again. I started seeing in colour again.

And when I did, I started seeing that things couldn't stay the same way.

For a long time, I fought my feelings. I tried to be happy with the way things were.

But that passionate, creative self I'd buried deep inside kept coming to the surface. She kept saying and doing things differently. She challenged everything. I hated her so much for ruining everything, but at the same time, I realized how much I'd missed her.

Click here how this mom let go of her divorce guilt.

I tried to fight the inevitable changes that were coming, but they had their own momentum.

The more I accepted myself and grew to love who I was as a whole, the more my relationship with my husband suffered.

And then it broke.

He was a good husband. He was happy with the way things were. He had only ever been himself.

His dreams had all come true with this person -- this person who wasn't actually me.

It wasn't his fault. It wasn't mine either.

If I could have only actually been the person I was trying so hard to be, I could have saved the marriage.

But I couldn't.

Knowing that made separating one of the hardest things I'd ever done.

Someone recently asked me if I still love him.

I care greatly for the father of my child.

I love what he represents -- the stability, the security, the balance, the logic and order to the world.

I love that he meant safety and a clearly defined future.

I love that I had a clean slate. That I could recreate myself.

I loved the way he loved me. Even if I wasn't myself.

But I love myself more.

Once upon a time, I met someone.

She is messy and wild, creative and awkward, and incredibly imperfect.

She reads comics, and has a dark side. She is impractical and loves to laugh.

She loves with all her heart.

She is finally realizing that life might just be about learning and growth.

She's happy.

And she's not changing who she is.

Written By: Kat Inokai, Yummy Mummy Club

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  • 1. Your Home

    Even if you're already shacked up, you won't live in that second-floor rental unit forever and it's important to discuss the type of home you envision sharing together in the future. Do you want to live in a condo? A house with a yard and a two-car garage? Would you consider moving to a different city? Will your husband get a "man-tuary?" How many times a month will you entertain?

  • 2. Religion

    Whether you're an interfaith couple or you share the same beliefs, you have to discuss the role of religion in your relationship. While your families may try to influence the role of religion in the lives of your children, especially, it's important "that the two of you decide how you will practice your faith and train your children" before the wedding, says Dr. Sago. Will you both take the children to church (or to synagogue or the mosque)? What will you do if your child wants to experience other faiths?

  • 3. Children

    Before you even agree to marry someone, you need to make sure that you're on the same page re: offspring. Do you both want to have children? If so, how many? If you can't have biological children, would you consider adoption or in vitro fertilization? Do you share the same discipline philosophy?

  • 4. Sex

    Being intimate is an important part of a married couple's relationship. But having sex isn't enough to guarantee marital intimacy: talking about sex is also important. "You need to feel that you can trust telling your partner your sexual needs," says Dr. Sago. Do you feel comfortable sharing your desires with your partner? How many times a week do you expect to have sex in your marriage? Are you happy with your sex life? What do you love about your sex life? What do you wish was different?

  • 5. Money

    Every couple has their own way of managing their finances. While there's no right or wrong method, Dr. Sago warns against keeping separate bank accounts, unless you also have a shared one. "It's not good to have anything but 'ours' in a marriage," he says and separate bank accounts create a sense of "mine" and "yours." Will you combine all of your finances? Put a certain percentage in a joint account and keep the rest in personal accounts? Or will you keep your finances totally separate? Do you have similar spending habits? If not, how will you deal with these differences throughout your marriage? Who will be in charge of paying the bills?

  • 6. Communication

    That's right--you gotta communicate about communication! If you have communication issues now, then it's going to be very difficult to work through bumps in the road once a mortgage and children come along. "Arguments never solve a problem," says Dr. Sago. Rather than raising your voices when you disagree on something, he recommends that you sit down across from each other and discuss your feelings regarding the issue. It's important that each spouse listens to and considers the other person's feelings, rather than focusing on who is right or wrong. What are your perpetual issues? Do you have the same approaches to communication? Are there certain communication techniques that work better for you?

 

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