I've learned a lot about marriage in the past couple of years. And not surprisingly I've learned the most from living in my marriage each day. This may seem obvious, but sometimes with all the relationship advice and opinions out there one would think that marriage is only possible through extensive research.
Here's the thing, marriage is super personal. Obvious right? But so often we talk about marriage in broad, overall type words, and it just doesn't work that way. Are there elements that are common to the vast majority of married relationships? Yes. But as far as advising someone else in their marriage, well, now that is a tall order. As far as I can see, most marriage manuals don't have anything revolutionary to offer. I'm sure particular ones help particular relationships more than others, but there is just no way a book can cover so many combinations of personalities that happen in marriage There are some basic principles that simply make for good relationships--honesty, dedication, tenderness, faith, and lots and lots of communication, but everything else seems to be personal preference and just a matter of learning how to mesh two people together peacefully.
I'm not saying reading about marriage isn't helpful, it can be very helpful in pinpointing problems and problem solving. It has just been on my mind how no one can really know the deep intricacies present in my marriage. Honestly, I would go with talking to a good friend over reading a book about marriage any day. With a close friend I have the advantage of that knowledge of personality and uniqueness that books just can't do. For instance, if I talk to January about some issue A and I are having she already knows the basic details of our lives, and knows our personalities, histories, and many of our struggles too.
But even then, only A and I truly know the depth and complexities of our own relationship (and we often discover things, hurts or joys, that we didn't even know existed!). It is only by bumbling along together each and everyday that we oh so slowly learn how to love each other better. The last few months have been a time of intense growth and closeness for us, and it has been incredibly difficult and joyful at the same time. Then at the beginning of this week we got into a horrible and hurtful fight. It was confusing because we have been doing all this growing, and both of us were worrying that we were losing that with this fight (I realize I am not being very forthcoming here, but the fight is just not something I'm willing to share with the internet :) ). And I realized post-fight that there was no way I would be able to really convey to someone else why this fight was such a rough thing. It was due to our histories, both together and apart, and it showcased each of our greatest weaknesses. And it was humbling to know that after all this time we could still be such crappy people together. We've worked so hard to become good people together and it's tough to see that that can just fall away in an instant.
We have had some very good conversations since the fight, and have realized that falling does not negate the growth of the past several months, but is more of a reminder that we are still just weak people who fail sometimes. Nothing in a marriage manuel prepares you for things like that. You just have to figure it out with the other person. And talk and talk and talk until you at least kind of understand each other.