When I first got married someone gave me some advice. Each person has ‘unwritten rules’ they come into a relationship with, especially a marriage and especially if you have never lived together. These unwritten rules are ingrained in you from your upbringing and experiences, and can be detrimental to a relationship if you don’t communicate them to your spouse. It may seem silly to ask your spouse ‘where do you put the milk in the fridge’ but for some personality types or if you have lived doing it ‘you’re way’ for a long time, it can really affect you or them.
I remember when my husband and I first lived together it drove him insane where I left my boots when I walked into the front door. To me, this was a non-issue, I came home and took my shoes off and went upstairs… whats the problem? But to him, it bothered him for some reason who knows why, it doesn’t really matter because that’s not the point. The point is we all have these ‘little’ things that can turn into big thing the longer they are left. Once he communicated to me that where I left my shoes bothered him and we found a negotiated place that was better to leave them, it wasn’t an issue anymore. BUT had we not communicated this, every time I did this it would build up inside him and finally he would have exploded and I would have sat there perplexed because I never knew it was an issue. This is just one example and yes it is a silly one but seriously, when you live with another person who has their own way of doing things, these little things can cause arguments that are really unnecessary to have…. yet we all continuously have them!
Below are some helpful tips on how to get started:
The biggest way to avoid these, prevent these, change things if your already in too deep with them is to communicate. I remember literally writing each of ours down and putting them on our fridge. Communication is the key to a lot of success in marriage, its number one in this list for a reason.
Once you have communicated these things to each other, its important to respect them. Yes I may have thought the shoe issue was silly or not that important, but if it was important to him I needed to respect that. Especially after we communicated about it, now it wasn’t okay to just be ignorant about it.
Come up with Solutions Together
It doesn’t have to be a major ordeal if they are minor things like my shoe example. It was a quick 5 minute conversation where we negotiated a better place for the shoe’s to go out-of-the-way where it bothered him. Was it going to kill me to put the shoes on the right side of the stairs? No so why not relieve some stress if it bothered him that much. The point is that we had this discussion together so both parties felt involved. Had he ‘told’ me where to put the shoes, I may not have responded in the same way I did when I was involved in the solution.
Some may be small and some will be bigger, learning to live with someone else is really hard. You are both coming into it with years of ways you have found to do things, ways you like and you feel are right. Now you have to find a way to mesh these 2 ways in order to make things flow. It’s not as easy as it sounds. For me I know that once I realized this whole ‘unwritten rules’ concept, it made it easier to understand it and work with us with the tools above. I urge you to sit down and write down your own ‘Unwritten Rules’ and if you can, get your spouse too as well. Make some coffee and cookies and sit down and read them to each other, sometimes you will be surprised by what you learn…you may never know some things you have been doing have been stressing your spouse out! It’s much better do this in a calm environment then allowing it to build up and then explode into a very unnecessary argument that ends up hurting one or both of you.
Living with someone is hard and fighting the urge to think your way is the right way all the time is hard….but you can find a way to make it all work if you communicate and respect each other! and always remember #thestruggleisreal