I met the love of my life when I was 18 years old at Penn State University. We were freshmen and completely smitten with each other. In fact, I knew I wanted to marry Kahlil after 6 weeks of knowing him. I blurted out that I loved him while on campus, and we proceeded to date and live with each other for nine years before we got married in 2013. Our six-year marriage anniversary is approaching, and made me reflect on the key compromises newlyweds should make in their marriage. Let's discuss my top six.
1. Who ends the conversation.
Growing up, we all have wants and desires that we pursue, abandon, or even forget about. When you get into a relationship, you must begin to balance your needs, wants, and desires with your partner’s (otherwise, why are you in a relationship?). This is easier said than done. What if you and your partner want completely different things? Who makes the final decision? If you didn’t set out the rules of who gets final say before you got married, then you will want to define your process as newlyweds so it is clear when you are dealing with decisions.
2. Who does the chores.
I grew up in a household where both of my parents washed dishes and cleaned the house. Kahlil grew up with a single mom who taught him how to cook and clean at a very young age. In fact, I usually tell people, he is a better wife than I am because he cooks and cleans much better than I ever could. When it comes to dividing household chores, it is important not to use traditional antiquated rules that dictate what a woman or a man should do. Household chores need to be divided in a way where both parties are involved. You are both living in your home, it only makes sense that you both contribute to cleaning it up.
3. How much you dominate the conversation.
I love to talk. I can talk for hours on end. Kahlil can be quite a talker when he wants, but could never outtalk me. Even though I love to share how my day went, including the ups and downs of the day, it is important that I ask him how his day went. And I must actively listen to what he says. If you don’t listen to your partner, you will not hear them when they are expressing how happy or unhappy they are in their life, career or the marriage itself. Listening to each other is how you can tackle issues head on.
4. How you want to design your life together.
Most people don’t marry someone that agrees with their ideas and beliefs 100% of the time. Kahlil and I are very different people with very different belief systems. This is a good thing, because it breeds amazing and elaborate conversations about philosophy, religion, politics, lifestyle matters and everything else we discuss (thus, the creation of our podcast). No matter how different you are to each other, it is important to be on the same page in your marriage. Otherwise, it could feel like you are at war with your partner. Do you want children? Do you want to rent or own? Do you want to live in the city or the suburbs? These are some of the questions that you need to address with each other. Newlyweds who invest time in their marriage to ask these types of questions and work through the answers are more likely to enjoy and appreciate the marriage they are building.
5. What activities you do together.
I tell everyone that Kahlil is my best friend. Am I exaggerating? Nope. Kahlil is my one and only best friend. Do I believe everyone should marry their best friend? Not necessarily. However, you should be married to someone that you like and have a good friendship with (otherwise, why are you married to the person?). Do you have to like all of the same activities and hobbies as your partner? Absolutely not. But like any other friendship, you would find activities that you could do together and enjoy. For us, we are all about watching scary movies and television shows, talking and debating, hanging out with our animals, developing content and working on projects together. At the end of the day, if you are friends with your partner, you are more likely to be more considerate and caring towards your partner.
6. Telling white lies.
Honesty is a funny concept when it comes to marriage. Does everyone believe in telling their partner the 100% truth? Probably not. Does it help to be honest in your marriage? Absolutely. How can you make decisions if you are not sharing how you really feel? Without honesty in a relationship it is easy to develop animosity, anger, resentment, and hurt feelings towards your partner. There is a solution, but it isn’t an easy one. Tell the truth. Don’t mask or disguise it. Simply, tell the truth to your partner. We have a 100 percent truth policy in our marriage, because we grew up frustrated with the constant lies and deceptions we dealt with in our families and wanted something better for ourselves. Personally, I find the truth to offer incredible freedom and peace of mind. Why lie and compartmentalize your life? Like they say, honesty is the best policy.
Natasha Nurse started Dressing Room 8 to provide a web-based resource where women can gain personal and professional empowerment through her fashion and lifestyle focused blog. Dressing Room 8 helps women learn how to think with clarity, dress with confidence, and live with purpose. She is the Lifestyle Editor for Plus Model Magazine, Program Coordinator for Long Island Girl Talk, Host of Our Voices on 90.3 WHPC, and she co-hosts a podcast with her husband called WokeNFree. Follow Natasha on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus.