1. Stop being bossy. I'm the oldest in our family, and my hubby is second to youngest out of 6. Bossiness was and still is one of the hardest things for me to get over. I'm used to being "in charge" and making the decisions. Letting someone be the leader of our home was not easy, but I'm getting better. If I could sit down with myself before marriage, I would tell her that you don't always have to get your way. And honestly, it feels good to let my husband take the lead on things.
2. I would stop listening to the negativity. I was pretty young when we walked down the aisle. We were engaged when I had just turned 20 and married by 21. If it's been said, I've heard it. "Are you sure? You're too young. You guys have your whole lives ahead of you! Why marriage now? Is it because of sex?? It is, isn't it! How do you expect this to work? Where are you going to live? What if you get pregnant? What if you don't get good jobs? YOU'RE JUST TOO YOUNG!" My goodness. After hearing those comments over and over, you start to believe them. You start to wonder if you are making the right decision. Marriage is a permanent decision. It's a big one. I wish that I would have had deaf ears to all that was said. I wish I would have laughed it off instead of letting it get into my head. I was ready for marriage back then, and it was the right decision for us. So, self, it's going to be okay. You're going to be happy. You're going to be alright.
3. People DO change. We've all heard it. "People don't change. Marriage is only going to amplify your problems." I can personally attest to the fact that that statement is false. My hubby has changed for the better. We both still have our quirks, and we both still have our downfalls. I think this statement is more accurately stated as "People don't change overnight." Marriage isn't going to change someone the day of the wedding. We slowly have been shaping into better spouses thanks to our faith. Prayer works, and I've seen God make changes in both of us that have improved our relationship. I'm so thankful for the changes.
4. This was one of the things that I was told that scared me the most. People insisted that marriage was going to make everything different. It was going to completely change our entire relationship and would definitely bring out every weakness you have. While marriage does show us our downfalls, it's one of the most amazing things in the world. It brought us so much closer. While things like spontaneity might have gone down, and I might not get those love notes that I adored as often as I used to, marriage has brought our relationship to a level passed what we ever had before. We have gotten to know each other. I didn't realize how much I still had to learn about him while we were dating. I am constantly learning new things about him every single day, and I've known him since I was 2 years old! I never want to stop learning.
5. Don't try to one-up each other. Oye. This is one that we struggled with (and still do sometimes!). I always want him to know how hard my day was and how much I did for the day. He would tell me about how much he had to do, and I would interrupt with another story about how tired I am and how I do "so much" work around the house/ work at the company yada yada yada. I wanted to get my point across that I was tired, and he wanted me to know how exhausted he was from dealing with his own job all day. It was like a contest of who chipped in the most. One of the most important things you can learn is that you both are contributing in your own ways and you're both part of the equation for this marriage. There doesn't have to be a 50/50 contribution to your relationship. Sometimes He is giving 80% while I'm giving 20%. Sometimes I'm giving 70% while he gives 30%. That's the way marriage works. Together you make up for what the other lacks. You're both going to have your off days. So, instead of griping about how much harder you work and how you do so much more than the other, think about all the times they have made up for where you've fallen behind. A marriage is not a competition. It's a team.
6. The good will ALWAYS outweigh the bad. No matter how hard things get, the love you have for each other will always triumph over the sucky times. You will have some times that downright stink. There will be times where you question things, but those times will never ever ever be worse than you can take. Disagreements and moodiness should not be a reason to give up on the other person. Things will always get better.
7. Learn to say yes. I love the word no. I am an over-user. He wants to work out? No way, I don't feel like it. He wants to go for a bike ride together? Um, no thanks. It's so easy to say no, but it will build your hubby up so much more if you say yes. Honestly, barring any physical condition that completely disables you from doing things he asks, it will help your marriage a ton to just go for it. Who knows? You might actually have fun! He's a good guy. And no, self, asking you to do a physical activity isn't his secret way of calling you fat.
8. You don't need to have the last word... or no word at all. I have two problems. I either have to "win" an argument by saying something that I'm sure will be a low-blow, or I do the complete opposite. I clam up. I don't speak. I completely shut down. I wish I could have told myself to stop that nonsense at the beginning of our relationship. It would have made things a lot easier back then. I have improved a lot since then, but I wish I would have been able to talk things out from the start. Talk about things, but more importantly, listen. Listen to him tell his side. More than often you will end up (even if you don't want to admit) understanding where he is coming from and maybe even agree with him. The horror! ;)
9. You probably won't care whatever it is you're griping about two months from now. Heck, I don't even remember what our disagreements were about last week! The conclusion? Stop dwelling on it. It's not the end of the world. And by golly, do NOT bring up the past. No one should have something from two years ago held against them. If it's been that long, it's most likely your problem, not theirs.
10. Younger self, remember not to sweat the small stuff, because honestly, that's what all of this silly stuff is. Small stuff. We have a bigger purpose in this life. Stop your whining and get out there and make a difference in this world. Be positive. Smile more. Don't let anything get you down. You have each other and that's ultimately what matters. And let me tell you a little secret- You're going to be so happy. You're going to be so in love. Your life is going to be something to look forward to.