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My Struggle Going From Single to Married
by Toni-Ann Craft
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May 27, 2019

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My Struggle Going From Single to Married

There is an idea that marriage is a “happily ever after,” but BlackLove.com contributor Toni-Ann Craft has learned even happily ever after has its issues.

Credit: @elizabethaustinphoto2

I love being married, and I appreciate the stability of coming home to someone everyday that has willingly made a decision to do life with me no matter what.

At times, it’s mind-blowing and surreal when I think that just a few years ago we were both complete strangers. Yet, here we are today, married and forever etched together into a family tree that will live on for eternity. It’s a beautiful thing, but I’d be lying if I said that the transition from being single to married has been an easy one.

Prior to meeting my husband, I was doing pretty well by societal standards — a decent job, Master’s degree from a prestigious university, luxury vehicle, downtown apartment, your girl was good — lonely at times, but be it known, I was good! (Alexa, play Webbie ft. Lil’ Boosie “Independent”)

Nevertheless, marriage has brought forth several challenges that have stretched me outside of my comfort zone.

Thus far, the most challenging part of my transition from single to married life has been learning to relinquish the independence that I once prided myself on.

 

Thus far, the most challenging part of my transition from single to married life has been learning to relinquish the independence that I once prided myself on.

In my singleness, I was a no-nonsense girl who valued her time and personal happiness over all else. If I felt uncomfortable or unhappy about a situation and didn’t feel like being around, I’d simply jump in my car, retreat to my apartment, and respond to phone calls only when I felt up to it.

Credit: 123rf.com

I remember approximately two months into marriage, my husband and I had our first official argument. I was upset and wanted to make a point out of it. Like second nature, as I’ve done so many times in the past, I stormed out, got in my car, and immediately realized that I had no place to go — this was home now. Yet, I drove around the block a couple of times and then sat with my car running in the driveway hoping that my husband wouldn’t notice that I was still parked there. Suddenly, my phone buzzed as a new text message came in, “I see you outside just sitting there. I know you’re upset. Come inside and stop wasting gas.” It was at this moment that I realized my previous way of retreating as a means to get away from uncomfortable situations was no longer a viable option. I can laugh about this in retrospect, but at that moment, I felt overwhelmed and trapped.

I now see that, in its essence, marriage forces two self-sufficient people with diverse life experiences to think, live, and grow together — unselfishly. It is by far one of the most humbling and challenging things that I’ve ever experienced.

I now see that, in its essence, marriage forces two self-sufficient people with diverse life experiences to think, live, and grow together — unselfishly.

There were things that I didn’t have, that are essential for success, and traits that I possessed (like fleeing when I was uncomfortable) that stood in the way.

Through this transition, I’ve learned the importance of having like-minded married friends. However, this has proven to be very challenging for me since the majority of my girlfriends are unmarried. So, though I have great friends, I could no longer seek relationship advice from my friends regarding my marriage.

I believe in protecting the sacredness of my marriage, and simply put, there are several things in marriage that only another married couple would be able to understand and speak to. My parents, grandparents, and older married couples have ingrained this concept in me for as long as I can remember.

Once I got married my priorities had to shift, and things that were once acceptable, like late nights out, random sleepovers, or even getting dressed together at my place, were no longer an option.

In this new space, I lost friendships with people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t honor these changes.

In this new space, I lost friendships with people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t honor these changes.

Initially, I tried to salvage certain friendships by explaining why things had to be different. But over time, I chose to get rid of relationships with individuals who refused to respect the new shift in my life. It bothered me, at first, when I was told that I was changing. But it was true, I was changing, and after getting married, if your lifestyle doesn’t change in some way then I think it’s safe to say that you’re not doing something right!

Credit: @anjola_o/@twmwa.love

Furthermore, as with many newly married couples, finances have played a major part in our transition from single to married life. My husband and I are still trying to find a way to manage our finances as a team, which has been particularly challenging since we both have completely different spending habits. I am reminded to consult my spouse before making large purchases. This has been difficult for me because sometimes it leaves me feeling guilty about getting things that I want and worked hard to receive. We’re still a work in progress in this area, but I’m hoping that we are soon able to find a healthy middle ground where our finances are concerned.

The development from being an individual to becoming one with my spouse has its ups and downs. Some things have been a smoother transition than others, but we’re actively working together and communicating through our challenges.

On our wedding day, our Pastor gave us advice that we try our best to implement when we experience the growing pains of becoming one, “The key to marriage,” he declared, “is understanding that you both can’t act a fool at the same time. One person has to remember to take the higher road.” This has proven so true for us, and we try our best to put it into play whenever necessary.

“The key to marriage,” our pastor declared, “is understanding that you both can’t act a fool at the same time.”

Without a doubt, change is uncomfortable, but I remind myself daily that great things don’t come from comfort zones.

I love my husband with all of my being, and I’m fond of knowing that through these periods of growth, we’re both forever committed to one another. We are individually and collectively still works in progress, but we’re finding new ways to give each other space when it’s needed, forgiveness when we mess up, and patience when dealing with shortcomings.

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