Our 3 Year anniversary was in July and it has left me pondering. Not only has my life completely changed, but so has my perspective. To “18 year old Kayty” the keys to a successful marriage was something I would have described as compromise, communication, and compassion. While that hasn’t changed much, the meaning behind these words have a far greater understanding and depth. I’m sure these thoughts will change again in the next three years, but I wanted to share with you my pondering on the top 3 things I’ve learned from 3 years of marriage.
1. Compromise your choices, not yourself.
Compromise for me was once something I viewed as what I do for others to resolve conflict. If you want to eat at Subway and I want to eat at Chipotle, we will eat at Subway. Now I view it as what WE do together to resolve conflict. My mom’s catchphrase “it takes two sides to a story” sure rings clear in my ears these days. It’s become almost like a motto! Maybe I should make t-shirts that say “it takes two”. But seriously, IT TAKES TWO: Two to tango, two to a relationship, two to fight, and yes even two to compromise. So if you want to eat at Subway and I want to eat at Chipotle we will probably eat at Subway one week and at Chipotle another. Compromise is for keeping peace and is never just to make someone else happy. Your personality, opinions, and values should be the one thing you never compromise. I’m grateful for a spouse that would never ask me to compromise myself for him, I’ve just needed to learn how to communicate rather than be passive. Which leads me to my next key.
2. Communication is key, but so is control of emotions.
I bet you haven’t heard that one before! 😉 Communication is the most important thing to keeping my marriage harmonious. However, we’re still learning how to successfully communicate. What I have learned is that by controlling negative emotions and learning how to communicate without them has made communication become easier. Does that make sense? What I mean is you can either act angrily and have that snowball into other emotions between the two of you, or you can feel the emotion and then communicate with your spouse when you have emotional control. That ticking time bomb gets safely fizzled out rather than exploding.
3. Compassion for the win
At the end of the day I can’t fulfill number 1 or 2 until I have compassion. Compassion is different than love. Love is an emotion for me, while compassion is an action. I have to actively search for compassion in the moments I don’t want to. That compassion has to emulate into my actions, words and be what drives every conversation.
I’ve loved these past 3 years of marriage. We’ve been so blessed. A big thanks to the man that has loved me more than I love myself sometimes, pushes me to be better, and cheers me on in all my goals. Life sure is great being on your team. I love you with all my heart!