Be an Amateur at Marriage

Every time I think I have this marriage thing figured out, something changes and I feel like I’m back to square one. I had just figured out how to be a married couple when we had a baby. When I felt I had the family-of-three thing down, we had a second child. Just when I was comfortable in my job, we went through a job change. With each new change in marriage, I felt like an amateur.

How about you? Have you ever felt like an amateur at marriage? If so, congratulations! You’re not only in good company, you’re in a good place.

Charlie Chapin once said, “That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” 

This is not only true of life, but it’s true of marriage. Things are constantly changing in marriage. With every new age and with every new stage of marriage, there is something you’ve never faced before or something you’ve never done before.

Marriage is a constant learning curve, because there is always something to you have to figure out for the first time.

  • Your first major decisions about money.
  • Buying your first home.
  • Having your first child.
  • Your first major move.
  • Facing your first major illness or accident.
  • Your first job change or job loss.
  • The first time your child goes to school.
  • Your first teenager.
  • The first time you become empty-nesters.
  • The first time one of your children gets married
  • Your first grandchild.
  • Your first major health decline.
  • Your first days of retirement.

You could probably add to the list. For these reasons, you’re always going to be an amateur at marriage, and that’s not a bad thing! Despite the awkwardness, being an amateur comes with some great benefits.

  • Amateurs dont get complacent and think they know everything. The longer you’re married, the easier it is to shift into autopilot and quit trying. You feel like a “professional” and start taking your spouse for granted. Amateurs don’t take anything for granted…especially in marriage.
  • Amateurs are open to learning, because their survival depends on it. Every time I’ve started a new job there were things I didn’t know. Though I was never expected to know everything in the beginning of a new job, I was expected to be open to learning the things I didn’t know. Whether I kept the job or not depended on my being open to learning what I didn’t know. Amateurs are open to learning new things.
  • Amateurs experience the joy of learning something new. Watch the face of a child who learns to read or ride a bike. It’s pure joy. As we get older, we tend to lose the joy of learning something new. An amateur at marriage recaptures the joy of learning something new about their spouse or trying something new with their spouse.
  • Amateurs have greater opportunity to improve. Experts know everything so they have nowhere left to go. But amateurs have much to learn, so it’s all up from there.  This means that amateurs have more opportunities than experts…even in marriage.

So if there are all these benefits to being an amateur, how can you become a better amateur when it comes to marriage? Try starting with the following:

  • Don’t feel like you have to know everything. Instead, ask more questions.
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Instead, learn from your mistakes.
  • Don’t avoid new situations. Instead, see new situations as opportunities to learn.

Your marriage will never be perfect and you will never be an expert at marriage. There will always be some sort of learning curve. Rather than being discouraged by this, grab the opportunity to go out there and be an amateur at marriage. Being an amateur at marriage will help to ease the pressure and increase the fun.

Can you think of some other ways to be a better amateur at marriage? If so, leave them in a comment. I love learning how other people have learned to do marriage.

Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg