Monday, September 18, 2006

Freedom in Your Marriage

Marriage is bittersweet. Sometimes, you feel as though you are going to implode because of too much love, sometimes you just want to explode because of anguish, guilt, annoyance, confusion … name it. There are just many things that come with marriage that make you want to pack your bags and run crying to mommy.

Many of you know that my husband and I are practically newly married. The fact that I am writing this makes it obvious that we have a lot to learn. As we enter the first years of cohabiting as a married couple, we discover a whole slew of things that we would have otherwise ignored.

I notice that I fret over small matters that merit no attention from other people. For example, I consider dinnertime as sacred, almost equal to going to church on Sunday mornings. The dinner table and the kitchen are a temple to me, and when they are violated, I hear voices in my head telling me to knock over bottles, pots and pans. My eleventh commandment is plain and simple: "Thou shall only bring food to the dinner table. No remote controls, newspapers, magazines, books or laptops."

As I quell my unrest, I realize that’s just the way it is in marriage. Trivial things become a matter of sanity and derailment. To be fair, I am sure that my husband has his own “things,” too. And I wouldn’t be surprise if I found out he also hears voices telling him to run his car over the garage. He is a good man, husband and friend.

As individuals, we are all allowed to have autonomy over things that we consider sacred. For some, it is going to church, or watching Sunday night football, or visiting the bookstore on a Saturday afternoon.
But as a “better” half of a whole, we are expected to give up a certain amount of the autonomy we knew when we were single.

So I ask you, women, this question: How much of this autonomy are you willing to give? And when you do give up something, do you always have to sell yourself short? In marriage, when is it right to be bitter over small things rather than sweet?


Julie said...

As you know, I'm not married yet, but I have been living with Mike for over a year, so I feel I can comment on this.

If the issue is minor, like keeping the table free of remote controls and clutter, I would just mention it lightly in passing that it's an annoyance, up to 3 times. If after the 3rd time he still doesn't get it, then it's time to address the topic in a calm and rational matter, expressing why it's important to you, and emphasizing what the larger issue at hand is. Because, like you said, it's not about a remote, it's about the importance of "dinnertime" that you want to establish in your home. It's important that he understands the WHY of your concern, because otherwise it sounds silly and unimportant. But it's important to you, so he should hear why.

here's how i do it said...

I'm glad you are giving me advice on this. I have not tried the solution you are recommending, but it sounds so logical and simple, so I guess it's time to give it a go.

I was never the vocal person between me and my husband, especially when it comes to small matters. That was, of course, when we were not yet living under the same roof. In the beginning, I was so adamant that he should be sensitive enough to know what gets under my skin. Eventually, I realized he's not a psychic and neither am I, and that's where communication comes in.

Thanks again.