What were the main challenges you experienced in your first year living together?
2nd gen couple Blessed for 6 years
Wife: In our first year of living together, small things would cause a lot of frustration. I would get irritated at something silly, like the way he brushes his teeth. But the main frustration stemmed more from knowing that it was petty and silly of me. This would get in the way of our relationship, without him knowing what it is that was bothering me. I learned to be more honest and real in communicating these kinds of things, but also to own up to them. After all, it was still my problem that I get annoyed at it! I took a lot of his patience to sort out my own feelings.
Another challenge was that I would expect him to already know what I need or want, without actually communicating this to him! Although it sounds so obvious, often these (unmet) expectations would lead to disappointment and conflict. It was also frustrating for my husband, because he was really doing his best for me, but was left in the dark as to how he could make me happy. I learned to be real with my expectations and to adjust my unrealistic expectations (picked up somewhere from romantic movies for example).
Husband: A major challenge for me was that we started off with different feelings and expectations for another. The love or affection for another didn’t match that of the other from the start and consequently each other’s expectations were not quite met, resulting in the need of communicating those and learning about how to address them.
When we moved in together, each other’s individual habits become exposed to another and sometimes caused conflict and hurt feelings. In order to deal with these situations it has been important to mature to a state of self-reflection and accept to change. The right way of communicating. I had to learn that addressing things too direct could harm each other’s feelings and that I need to choose my words more carefully.
What were the key decisions and efforts you made to overcome these challenges?
2nd gen couple Blessed for 6 years
Wife: We decided to make sure not to let any negative feelings or resentment linger. We did this by resolving any conflict or hurt feelings before going to sleep. This meant that sometimes we stayed up really late, to first calm down and then talk about it. It became more important to me to be understood and to understand him rather than who was wrong or right. We also made sure we spent enough time together regularly by having a weekly date night for example. Personally, I decided to also dedicate enough time to my own spiritual growth and maturity as well, taking time in nature to pray and helping out at uplifting events.
Husband: We had a few rules that helped us to not get into greater conflict. One, to not let an argument stay unresolved. If we had a conflict we would try to solve it before going to sleep, so that it would be resolved within the same day. Second, to communicate well, my wife was especially good about this. Often in relationships there are more things that are expected by the woman that a man is not aware of. She would tell me here and there how she was feeling and what she was expecting in that moment for me to do, rather than her get worked up and I remain clueless about what happened. Another, less defined rule but what we do, is to share and listen to each other about our days, either over dinner or when going to sleep. Our biological clock is not in sync, but we make effort to go to sleep at the same time and share a bit more before we fall asleep.