You meet someone of the opposite sex. You like how they look, you like their personality, and you think you can get along, so you decide to get married.
What you don’t know at the time is that you are marrying more than your initial experience. You are going to get their family of origin issues. You are going to get the baggage left over from their parents’ successes and failures. Their childhood trauma will come to the surface in ways you never expected, and at times you cannot predict. The choices they made as teenagers will haunt their minds, along with the hurtful comments of their peers. There is an entire life before the age of 21 that shaped their heart and mind.
Then there is the addition of their adult issues. Their communication skills that have developed to protect themselves. How they react to pressure at work will spill over into your home. Their love languages will shape their interactions with you and their expectations from you.
The list of complications you will face could go on and on.
One reason marriage is so complex is because you are committing to spend time with a whole person. Their past life and present reality and their future dreams are all dumped in your lap as a spouse. You no longer get just the good parts that you see on dates and at special events. You get EVERYTHING.
The flip side of this issue is also true. One of the reasons marriage is hard for your spouse is because they are getting the whole you. They are trying to understand your past, help you in the present so that you can have a future together.
My simple encouragement for married couples is that every time your spouse gets under your skin, remember that you are not easy to live with either. But if you stick together, your time as husband and wife will be more than your time as a single person. Every new year your lives will be the product of your current interactions and not the distant past. You will form new patterns together, and the two will start to become one.