What is the most challenging part of being married?
Marriage is a tremendous change, and so many things can be challenging for a young wife about this transition, both in the practical realm (homemaking) and in the spiritual. I personally believe that the most challenging part is leaving "me" behind and embracing "us". Adjusting to the needs of another person and accepting a husband's leadership.
So much is now said about the crucial need to preserve one's individuality in marriage, to go on practicing your hobbies, seeing your friends, attaining your goals. Nothing is wrong with having friends or hobbies of course, but for a marriage to work the focus must shift entirely from "me" to "us". It may take a while and it may be difficult. Right now when I talk to my single friends I see an enormous difference in perspective. They don't understand why I must always consider the needs of my husband while making plans, while I don't understand how I could do otherwise.
How do you keep the communication line open in your marriage since most men do not like to talk?
Now, I'll make a confession. My husband and I don't fit the generalization of a silent husband and a chatty wife. My husband is very communicative, in fact more than me. It doesn't matter, however - in almost every couple there's someone less and someone more communicative, be it the husband or wife. I think it's highly important that both spouses accept communication is essential if you want to live together without tearing out your hair by fistfuls every day. If you are the one communicatively challenged, do make an effort to let your thoughts and feelings be known - at least about the important things (and even trivial little things can be important in marriage!).
If you are the more communicative side, do try to be forgiving of the other side's shortcomings in this area. It's wonderful to encourage the other side to express their feelings, but if it comes to pestering it might become extremely off-putting. Important conversations should be held one on one, in a pleasant atmosphere and when there's a leisure of time to talk, for example over a relaxed late dinner, or before your bedtime when the children are asleep - not when your husband is late for work, or when one or both of you are stressed out or extremely tired. Tiny little things can be easily blown out of proportions when you're bleary eyed with tiredness at
2 A.M. and talk them over and over, but if you just let go until morning you might see they were not that important after all.
I believe the reason it is said most men "don't like to talk" is that men focus on the big picture, while women deal more with details - as a generalization. Even though my husband is a great talker, when he wants to he can have a very summarized, short conversation that covers all the basics in one minute - the typical, efficient manly communication. Many men believe you should only talk about what's truly important, instead of going chatty or delving into the secret depths of feelings. Personally I don't believe we must talk about everything. It's possible to just let go and forget about some things and it's alright.
How do you handle conflict in a marriage?
Talk, and talk some more. When you are in conflict you must communicate openly and honestly, so that each one of you can express his or her views. Obviously it depends on the scale of the conflict, but if it's something you feel you can't just gloss over, then don't, or it will continue to eat at your heart and will come back to haunt you. Talk and reach compromise, and honor your husband's leadership. This can be challenging, it is challenging for me as much as it is for anyone else but it's a part of marriage - and life.