Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How To: Support Your Spouses Growth

I met my husband shortly after my 20th birthday. At a time where I was undeniably socially awkward towards the opposite sex and was trying to now navigate my way through the beginning of my twenties.

Twenty is a weird age, you've been legally an adult for 2 years now and yet you're not legal to drink alcohol. Twenty is when you are in college still deciding on your major and in limbo on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Twenty is seeing all your friends in relationships either with the same person they were dating in high school or with someone new they met in college. And then there you are, single, crying in your bedroom while reading twilight and wondering if an "Edward Cullen" really does exist. He doesn't by the way. Twenty is uncomfortable. Twenty is that Britney Spears song, you know, that one where she says "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman." - That one! 

My Husband is only one year older than me. But when we met, I felt like he had lived so much more life than I had. Let me state here that it took a solid 2 months for me to even speak in a full sentence to him. I was like that girl in those movies who would day-dream stare at their crush while unknowingly blocking his locker, and when the boy says "Excuse Me, Can you move?" the girl's reply doesn't even make sense at the moment, like "Thank You" - I was that girl. Awkward with poor communication skills. But there was my husband - friends with everyone, outgoing, talkative, confident. I was honestly confused why he kept interest in me when all I'd reply with is one or two words and never look him in the eye. But, 8 years later, here we are. Even when people said we were too different and too young. 

Over the years my darling husband has remained the same: Cool, calm, outgoing, driven and focused. He has always known who he is as a person and has never cared what people think of him. He marches to the beat of his own drum, something that I had always tempted to do but was also terrified of. I lacked confidence in every aspect of my life. I had no idea who I was. Everything that I had dreamed of seemed like some impossible far off reality. I've always held myself and my future to very high standards. And because of this, I settled. I was just a church-going, theater nerd, who would rather spend the weekend at home with her parents than going out to socialize. And when I did socialize, I just followed in the suit of the others around me. But year after year, something would change. We would make friends, lose friends, go here, go there. And by seeing all the things I didn't want to be, I began to find myself in different ways. I began to find it easier to love the things I was into even if they were different. I slowly began to come out of the shell I was hiding in and did the things I love to do even when they weren't the "norm" in my group. And the best part of these constant new discoveries of who I am - My Husband. Standing by my side, cheering me on and loving every version of myself. 

Support Each Other.
My Husband told me one of his favorite things about my ever-changing self is that it keeps him on his toes. I am not boring by any means. He will never know what he is walking into but he gladly does it because he knows it's something important to me. Just as he does for me, I get to know the things he loves; even when I had no idea that Koby Bryant and LeBron James were two different people. 

Pro Tip: Support the things your significant other is into even when you're clueless about it. 

Give Each Other Space.
Sometimes I just want to curl up and quietly read a book or slip into a Hallmark Christmas movie coma - without anyone bothering me. And sometimes my husband wants to stay late at the shop to work on his racecar or brew beer with his dad. Allow each other to have space to do the things that make them happy. Even when you're married, you are allowed to have something to yourself. 

Pro Tip: You grow better together when you allow each other to grow alone. 

Let them talk about their passions.
I am clueless about cars and yet my husband is very knowledgeable. So most of the time when he is talking about racing and all its terminology I have a blank stare on my face. But, I began asking questions about what (this) part does and why (that) part is needed. Sometimes the answer is confusing but I ask anyway because I love hearing my husband talk about things he is passionate about. 

Pro Tip: Make sure you can talk about your passions too even when it's super silly. 

Get involved. 
If your husband loves to race, like mine, jump in the truck and go to the track with him. Get Involved. If your wife likes talking about the moon and writing intentions like I do, sit down and learn about the moon with her. (My Husband is the best!) You don't have to dive deep into their passions as a whole, but get involved in some way - this is a confirmation to your spouse that they can be who they are and do what they love with your complete backing! 

Pro Tip: Your Marriage will be WAY stronger when you show interest and participate in what your spouse cares about.

Love Each Other.
At the end of the day - Love each other. Regardless of any quirks, mishaps, loud personalities, ever-changing hobbies...Love Each other. Supporting each other through personal growth is going to strengthen your marriage. It's saying "I Love You even when." It is giving your loved one the space to be themselves while also being a wife/ husband/ mom/ dad. 

We don't need to lose ourselves when we get married. I truly believe I didn't find myself until I got married. And No, not because I "found myself in a man," but because I married someone who supported my want for growth.  My Husband is my biggest supporter when it comes to me exploring and discovering who I am, my interests, the dreams. He has created a space in our marriage that is safe and welcoming. We are allowed to be just who we are with no judgment or question. We grow alone and we grow together - just as it should be. When we are able to grow alone that is when we come and grow together, stronger in the best of ways. I'm forever grateful that I get to grow beside my husband. 

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