Marriage Mantras: On Selfishness

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Although we share all kinds of details about our day to day lives, from what we’re planning for dinner to holiday snaps, Gareth and I make a conscious effort to keep the really personal stuff offline. At a glance, it can seem as though our whole lives are documented for all to see, but it’s really only the trivial stuff that gets put out there. A few pictures of our cats walking on their leads doesn’t actually reveal a great deal about us as a couple. The real story is in the detail like how we agreed, together, to get two maine coons, for example.

I feel somewhat exposed doing this but I’m diving right in to a ten part series covering some of the most important love lessons Gareth and I have learnt since becoming husband and wife. We’ll be sharing some of the mistakes we made as well as some of the break-through moments that we’ve had. But most importantly I really want to give you the opportunity to think about these things and hopefully discuss them with your partner afterwards.

I know that if I was where you are right now this is the kind of content I would have really loved to see from a wedding blogger. After all, your wedding is just one day, it’s all the days after you say “I do” which really matter.

1. On Selfishness

As human beings we are intrinsically selfish. We naturally think about ourselves first but when you’re married you need to consider the other person’s feelings just as much as, if not more than, your own. It’s no longer about looking out for number one or having your own goals and life path, it’s about the two of you thinking and acting as a team.

Although in many ways Gareth and I are really similar – our outlook on life and our plans for the future – in others our tastes couldn’t be more different. I love sushi and Thai food, he prefers burgers and chips. I like nothing better than sitting down to a True Blood or 24 marathon, he detests any kind of American drama. My idea of a perfect Saturday is raiding the aisles of Topshop and H&M, he hasn’t bought himself any new clothes in years… You get the picture.

It might sound obvious but when you promise yourselves to each other for life you need to consider the other person’s feelings in everything you do, much more so than you would have while dating. Let’s be honest, you’re going to be with this person forever – you need to make sure you’re both happy!

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Considering how your actions affect your partner is imperative to a healthy relationship. And it’s not just about knowing how they feel or making sure you do nice things for them, it’s about realising that your every action has an impact on their happiness.

The way Gareth and I work around our differences is to have time apart to do the things we both individually enjoy, but when deciding on doing something together we often choose to be systematic (i.e. boring!) and simply take turns getting our way. For example, if I tried to be super-generous every time we went out for dinner and let Gareth choose his favourite restaurant, even though the decision was mine, I’d soon start to resent the fact that he always got his way and he would naturally take it for granted too. Obviously, the same would be true if the roles were reversed. If the last time we went out for dinner I chose the restaurant then we both know that the next time we go out Gareth gets to choose. On the surface, it probably sounds like the least romantic approach dinner imaginable but it works brilliantly for us.

In a marriage it’s all about give and take. If you disagree on things, taking turns as to who gets ‘their way’ is a great way to ensure one partner never feels hard done by.

The most important thing is not to take your husband or wife (and how they feel) for granted. You have to work on your marriage and be aware that you have to keep the love alive. It won’t just tick over on it’s own.

Supporting Cast

23 comments

  1. Spot on Kat! Anything fantastic in life requires a lot of work… And marriage is certainly at the top of that list. I love my hus, but there are days when it’s really difficult… Kinda like anything good in life…

    PS- love the pics in this post!

    XO,
    BB

  2. Great post Kat. I’m completely with you, me & Chris could not be more different. Total chalk & cheese.. but it works. Sometimes we have to work that extra bit harder but its worth it. Thats love right? xxx

  3. Wow, I’m so excited to read this series Kat. One of my all time favourite RnRB posts was Gareth talking about how he supports you in the business. I think a lot of us spend so much time working towards a wedding as if that’s the goal once you’re in a relationship- but it’s only the beginning. It’s really brave of you to put the personal stuff out there, but I’m sure it’s going to be some of your best content yet! Looking forward to some healthy debate in the comments too!
    Lately I’ve been a bit guilty of putting myself first, when you run your own business it’s easy to think- ‘but I’m more tired’, ‘I’m more busy’ ‘I’m too busy to do my share of the housework etc’, thanks for the perspective.

  4. Sam

    this is awesome 🙂 I got married in June this year and adore your down to earth and honest posts, it can be a little depressing seeing all the wonderful weddings you are posting knowing I no longer have to plan or look forward to my own,although a girl can look and dream about it! but posts like this are inspiring and so true being married is like a funky little club for two people and I have noticed that myself and Mr Sam seem to ask more about how the other feels if I do this or that with the girls/boys. I kind of like it to be honest, there is a wonderful give and take and the trust that comes with it is really something to do with that little club for two!

    xx

  5. Awesome article Kat I spent 6 hours at the cricket a few weeks ago Mr H spent last Saturday rummaging through local vintage shops with me.Compromise and being totally honest with each other is definitley key!! xx

  6. I watch True Blood on my laptop with headphones in… and C watches something else on his. Between episodes we make each other bagels and fetch drinks. Life is good.

  7. My wife and I have been together for 17 years, 12 married. All of the advice you gave above is golden and most of it has held true for us as well.

    She is my glue to keep me together, and I am hers. I know it sounds cheesy but we do complete each other. With that said, we definitely need time apart occasionally. This is why she goes to the gym and plays roller derby, while I shoot a lot of photography and work on lots of projects with our daughters.

    All the time we have been together and the tough paths we have had to traverse, nothing has been more important than honesty. Being honest with each other builds the strongest base so when something does go wrong the entire house of cards doesn’t tumble down.

    Keep rocking!

    Justin

  8. Love this article Kat..wise words! We see so many young couples get married, and the world doesn’t really prepare them for what kind of compromise will have to happen in marriage. Yay for compromise!

  9. I loved reading this article, Kat! It’s all so true and I can relate to it even as an un-married girl (but I have been with my beau for 12 years). The part about being a team really resonates with me the most I think.
    Looking forward to reading each of your mantras! xx

  10. Hi Kat, My hubby and I have been together for 9 years and married for 7. I guess you could say I was a late bloomer in terms of finally meeting my hubby at age 35 and marrying him at 37.

    The best thing that I love about being married to him is that my hubby has softened me and I feel like a better person. I have learnt through our marriage that compromise isn’t a dirty word but a crucial tool to our marriage.

    I love that we have similar interests and yet each have our own style/interests. Music is one of them, he’s my metal head and I am his pop chick. This is just one area in which we have varied ideas.

    I do agree, about working at the marriage. We spend time together and time apart to do our own thing. Looking forward to reading more.

  11. Though I’m not currently in a relationship, this is information that will be very helpful when I am. Thanks for posting this!

  12. so very true! people sometimes expect relationships just to “happen” ..when in reality the most successful relationships takes hard work, sacrifices and compromise. People tend to give up so easy these days when the going gets tough…which in reality should be the time they fight a little harder to make it work, be a little less stubborn and a little more forgiving!

  13. Great post! We’ve decided not to get married, but there are still things here that we can work on and I really like the idea of taking it in turns to do the things that the other likes systematically to keep it fair and equal!

    I have been making an effort recently to play on the PS3 with Joe at least once a week and I’ve ended up really enjoying it – fighting off zombie cowboys is a fantastic stress reliever!

  14. Barbara

    Loved this. We’re having a Catholic wedding, and had to attend the wedding preparation course which at first sounded daunting but was, in fact, lovely and moving, covering a lot of what you’ve written about. I’ve got a few weeks til our wedding day and was scouting out some last minute advice, and paused to read this article, as you are (very kindly!) wearing some boots I designed (so thank you for that!)

  15. Love this. As a newly-wed I realise I have a hell of a lot to learn about how we’re going to work on our relationship over the coming years but this one has to be one of my top priorities. Five years ago we almost split up because we’d got to the point of taking each other for granted so I hope this is something we’ve already learned and will take on into our marriage.

    Great advice Kat and looking forward to reading more in this series x

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