If I could do it all over again, I'd probably wait till I was in my late 30s to get married. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my life. I have a beautiful daughter and my husband has been the best husband I could ask for from day one. It's just that I'm at an honest place in my life where I just know that I haven't been the best wife in return. So many times in relationships we spend the time pointing at the other person highlighting what they are doing wrong in the relationship, but I’ve realized that it takes real courage to look at myself in the mirror and focus on pointing out what I’m doing wrong and working on that. I was 19 when we met and 22 when we got married. I always knew I wanted a husband and didn't want to do the multiple partner/ dating life thing. I wanted to be with someone I could settle down and grow old with, travel the world, grow wealth with, have kids and the list goes on...
After saying I do, I realized a lot of what I had and wanted was because it's what the images in society told me was the right way to do things. I wanted it because my parents preached those were the proper order in which things should go. But is it?
What do you really know about yourself at 22? I remember my husband telling me we should wait and that I should take time to experience more of life. I remember giving him ultimatums to take things to the next level or leave. I used to look at him like he was crazy when he’d say I haven’t really lived yet. I would question his love for me and ask him if he simply wanted to continue to run the streets and hook up with other people. He used to always smirk in response and say I just want you to live a little so you have no regrets.
A few years into our marriage I realized exactly what he meant. When you say I do, you have responsibilities and a commitment to your partner, to the relationship. You can't run around with an independent attitude like you do when you're single. I mean you can but be prepared to have problems in your relationship. So many obstacles we faced were because I was still trying to figure myself out. Still yearning for freedom. Still trying to set my own goals and figure out who I was. I never stopped to ask what impact being together would have on the personal goals I had set and the reason I left home. Can you really devote yourself truly to someone if you don't know who and what you are? Or what you really want out of life for that matter. I've always been goal driven and had a set of goals prior to meeting him, but my goals and dreams at the time were limited to my current exposures in life and experiences.
He met me at a stage in my life where he'd lived the wild life, he'd partied, enjoyed his freedom, spent money, made mistakes, career progression and I was just starting my military career, just experiencing true freedom and making my own money for the first time. I had no one telling me No, well except the military of course...lol, but I was free and all sense of the word. No curfew, no restrictions on my sex life and no one around to report to my parents or brothers what they saw me doing. I was truly independent. I didn’t have to ask for permission or check in with anyone. It didn't dawn on me that so much of that sense of freedom went away the day I committed myself to him.
This confusion created so many obstacles for us to navigate. So many mistakes to overcome. Lucky for me he was always patient and always loved me through all the bullshit I brought along the way. We've grown through the trials and have created a life together that we can be proud of now, but I definitely had so much to learn. Lessons that I will share along the way but one of my favorites is the lesson on the true definition of leadership and independence as it relates to marriage.
I learned that independence does not equate to me doing everything alone. You can be a strong independent woman while still respecting and allowing your man to be the man. That took me so long to learn. I always felt threatened and afraid because I felt like I was giving up my power. Anyone that knows me, knows I have an A type personality and love to be in charge. My past also gave me trust issues when it came to power. But in a relationship, it's not about who's in charge at all. The best teams are those who know how to choose the best leaders. The best leaders are those who know when to follow. When we are tackling something that has to do with something he's great at he takes lead. When it's something I'm better at I take lead. This way with every challenge we know we have the best foot forward and a greater chance at success. We try our best to work as a team. He supports and encourages my strengths and I his. And even when he is in the leader position he remains open to listening to my ideas and my opinion matters to him. We push each other to fulfill our goals and personal dreams as well as goals we've created together. This makes us strong.
Marriage is hard and it takes a lot of work. There had been so many times we both questioned whether or not to fight for ours. I'm happy we've always been willing to try one more time until we got to this place. I'm looking forward to sharing many more lessons I wish had been shared with me along this journey. So stay tuned and let's talk about it.