I don’t let my daughter watch Disney Princess Fairytales. It’s not because I’m a feminist (which I am) or because I think she shouldn’t be watching TV (which I do) but because I don’t want her to grow up with a skewed belief that love is “happily ever after.” Most of us, if not all, know that love, like most things in life, is a work in progress. I don’t think Disney Princess Fairytales help young girls to develop healthy ideas about love and marriage. And young girls grow into big girls who are waiting for a man apparently created in heaven to match her needs perfectly and swoop her away into bliss.
The first couple of years of my marriage were rough. Since then, I’ve witnessed other newlyweds go through similar challenges and difficulties and seeing them suffer, though heart wrenching, has taught me a lot about myself, marriage, and how to survive the first couple of years.
When my daughter gets married, these are the things I will say to her to help her survive the beginning of marriage:
- Don’t expect another human being to bend and twist to fit your idea of a perfect partner. Yes, you have needs but so does he. Marriage is about both of you being happy, not just one person.
- Love can be expressed and experienced differently by different people. Just because you value quality time does not mean your partner values this. It is both of your responsibilities to understand how the other experiences feeling loved. You must then express love to that person in the way they experience it, and not the way you think you should express it. He should do the same. Give my daughter a copy of “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
- Is something bothering you? Just tell him! It’s usually easier than you think to sit down and discuss your concerns or fears if you don’t let it fester. Address it immediately and calmly. Other people’s responses to your message are usually more influenced by the delivery than by the subject itself.
- Angry at your husband? Talk to him! Don’t tell all your friends and your entire family what a jerk he is because they will forever hold it against him and it’s not doing anything to help resolve the issues. Make Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” your anthem for these times.
- If you have hostile in-laws, let it go through one ear and out of the other. Smile and be still. Then continue as normal. If it gets too much to handle, create distance.
- Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy each other and life. Have independent interests and friends, but also shared ones.
What kind of advice would you give your daughter or son? Share your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org