The newlywed years are a blissful, wonderful time for your marriage. You’re on a high from getting married, honeymooning, dreaming, and building your new life together. At some point, that high will begin to dissipate as you ease into the rhythm of everyday life.
When you’re in blissful ignorance of one another’s shortcomings, you’re not wasting time on lobbing criticism at each other. Everything the other person does is beautiful, and you make it a point to show gratitude for one another for the most seemingly mundane things…that is, until the mundane takes over, and you become critical.
Tripping Over Memory Lane
After the newness of your marriage has begun to wear off, it’s easy to fall into nostalgia for your pre-married life…or to compare yourselves to others (including your family of origin–and that’s where we’re going to focus today). Throwbacks to your childhood become a problem if they generate resentment toward your spouse, because something that might’ve been important or comfortable for you before you married is no longer part of your life.
A great example (and the inspiration for our tongue-in-cheek title): Mom’s cooking. (This applies to husbands who are the primary cooks at home, as well.) Let’s say your spouse took up cooking duties in your new home, and the food he or she prepares isn’t exactly as palatable as what you grew up eating. Or maybe it’s just different, and you miss what you had.
It would be very destructive to your spouse to judge him or her with a statement like, “You’ll never cook like my mom,” “My mom’s pie was so much better than this,” or, “Dad knew his way around the kitchen…why don’t you?”
If you miss your mom’s (or dad’s) cooking so much, ask if she’ll prepare your favorite dish when you visit her. Don’t belittle your spouse in your home because he or she hasn’t yet mastered a specific delicacy from your pre-married life. And, whatever you do, don’t use that meal at your parents’ house to make a point with your spouse.
Your point will be loud and clear. But it won’t get the results you’re looking for.
Trying to recapture the past in your present life can lead to discontent and dissention. When the nostalgia of the “good old days” invades the maybe not-so-good days that come after the honeymoon period is over, spouses can quickly find themselves kicked off the pedestal they were put on…by the very person they married!
When you find yourself getting lost in your own memories and longing for echoes of the past in the life you’re building now, remember that your spouse has his or her own set of memories. Whether your spouse voices their opinion or not, they have plenty of comparisons they could choose to make, as well.
It’s normal to miss the old days, especially after you’ve made a big transition in your life. Marriage is a huge change! In all its wonder and loveliness, it still rocks both of you to your core. Give yourselves time to adjust without leaning too heavily on the past.
Blaze Happier Trails Together
When you feel uncomfortable with the way your spouse is doing or handling something–particularly if it’s something that was done much differently in your past–try to focus on the value of their efforts. Your spouse loves you, and is trying his or her very best to please you. Being critical will not produce a better effort next time; it is more likely to create a less satisfying result on the next try, if a repeat attempt is made at all.
Shift your energy toward building your new life and traditions together, in the here and now. Perhaps you can agree together on elements of your past lives that you’d like to incorporate into your shared home. Focus on what you’re creating together, not what you’ve left behind.
Don’t let the past take away from the present, or steal the joy from your early years of marriage together. Keep enjoying one another, extend the honeymoon period as long as possible, and relax…you’ve got plenty of time to figure out this cooking thing, and everything else.
And remember, there’s no shame in ordering takeout.
How did the expectations you brought into your marriage affect your early years together? Your spouse’s? How did you unite to build new traditions and a home all your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!