Marriage as a School
This specific blog is probably going to get me in hot water. Again. And I have to remind myself that I have to be what I am with no fear and pretentions. Just be and learn from criticism. I mean constructive criticism.
So, here it is.
One grows a lot in marriage. Through a lot of conflicts. Through resolving a lot of interpersonal stylistic issues.
One learns to be patient. Learn to wait and wait and wait for your wife to do all her make up and be ready to leave the house. Or for your husband to stop watching that football game.
One learns tolerance, and to sometimes accept what one does not like because the other person does like it.
You learn to pretend too. If you are asked by your spouse to give feedback on how she looks in her dress, you better tell her that she looks fabulous although you are not too excited with the color of the jumper she is testing.
Why pretend? Because she is not asking for your opinion, she is asking for reinforcement that she made the right decision. If you tell her what you truly think, you might get criticized that you have no taste and no idea what is right or wrong. The same applies to when he asks her what she thinks of his new car.
You learn to let your husband drive in circles refusing to listen to your instructions, although you know the direction perfectly well. Patience. Tolerance. Space.
You learn to take it when the spouse gets angry. To not react. Swallow your pride and deal with the issue when “the storm is over.”
You learn too how to deal with a grown up man who at times behaves in a childish manner; all he cares for is food, drink, sex and comfort.
One learns to deal with a hurt masculine ego, how to deal with it in a way that does not hurt the ego although it needs to get hurt.
Yes, yes, marriage is an ongoing class, and you are being tested in real time, all the time.
It is an ongoing class with stern teachers. Each one is a teacher to the other. We are students and teachers at the same time. Tough.
Some do not make it. They flunk the tests and repeat the class over and over again. I mean re-marry multiple times looking for the perfect spouse which obviously does not exist. It is tantamount to looking for a university where you learn nothing. Or they drop the class or the “marriage university” all together and get divorced. Some do not enroll in this university to start with. They never marry.
These are the people that never grow up. Never mature and never understand that life is ongoing learning, and real learning comes with the pain of solving real issues in real time with real people.
Is there a time when one graduates, and there is no more pain i.e. no more learning? I do not think so.
You can graduate from a class, i.e. you have learned your lesson on a certain topic, but school continues and along the way you get enrolled, whether you like it or not, in a new class. New conflict. New problems.
You graduate from this school when the classes are review classes: You learned whatever there was to learn, and now you just have review sessions; you have dealt with the issues before. Learned your lesson, learned what can and cannot be changed and learned to live with what cannot be changed.
But not all people suffer. There are those who enjoy the learning. The growing. They love to learn and to teach, and love to enrich each other.
When does that happen? When there is mutual trust and respect in a marriage. When that happens, disagreements and conflicts are an opportunity to learn, enrich and support each other. Spouses do not take the conflict personally. They realize here is another opportunity for me grow up and learn something new.
Without mutual trust and respect, learning is painful and feels like a punishment.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes