August 11, 2007
I don't believe in luck, but I count my blessings that I met my husband. Truth be told the idea of marriage still scares me to this very day and I have difficulty grasping the concept. But, being married to my husband - well that just makes perfect sense.
Marriage, like any other relationship, is constant work. There are easy months and then there are really hard moments that make you question everything in the world all the way to your core. The key is finding balance between the two extremes, unless of course you can find a drama-free life and if that is the case please share your secrets.
Over the past 7 years of marriage the hubs and I have come up with a few observations of our own:
Keep the fights clean. My husband doesn't swear and yet even when I've done my absolute worst he hasn't said anything to me that can't be repeated in a Disney cartoon. That level of decency provides a safety net during disagreements where we can actually discuss our differences without descending in pure madness. Oh trust me, I'm a ginger with a German temper to boot and I can fly off the handle like a psycho, but our fights are clean.
Support each other, don't suffocate each other. For the love of all things please have a few separate hobbies. Do your own thing and enjoy some time apart from each other. Take a few vacations here and there with friends and without your partner. My husband hates running, yet he will show up at a few of my races and be supportive. And I might think his video games are stupid, but I buy him Madden and MLB The Show every time a new version comes out (hey, at least I get brownie points for buying the games!). It's really nice asking each other "how was your day?" and getting to share stories. That doesn't happen if you spend every second together.
Go to bed angry. Dumbest advice ever is to never go to bed angry. I don't know about you, but I make really bad decisions when I'm angry + tired. This goes back to tip number 1, but sometimes the very best thing is a few hours of sleep (I won't say a decent night of sleep because let's be honest that's not happening if you're ticked off).
Compromise better. We try not to compromise in the traditional sense - instead we rotate who gets to pick what. If we're splitting a dinner and a movie one of us gets to pick dinner and the other the movie. I picked the granite and stove in our kitchen and he got the backsplash, dishwasher, and microwave. We rotate whose day or month it is based on each other priorities. That way we don't have to settle for some lukewarm, middle ground and instead each of us gets what we really wanted. Again, we struggle with time to time with finding the balance, but overall this works exceptionally well for us.
No one is perfect. I repeat that to myself every time I get angry or upset with my husband. Sometimes I remember the last thing I did that frustrated him just to remind myself that I'm no peach 100% of the time.
Don't compare your behind the scenes with anyone else's filtered life. In today's social media world it's really easy to get caught up in the hoopla of "why doesn't my life look like that?" Everyone's got problems. I repeat, everyone has problems. Think of it this way, that perfect couple you know posts one or two snippets from their life once a day. The rest of the time you have no idea what is going on behind the curtain. That gorgeous flower arrangement, "just because" might look great on Instagram, but you don't see the dirty dishes piled up, the mail collecting, the dried up tissues, and the laundry that still hasn't been put away because it's been concisely cropped out of the frame.
Challenge Each Other. The greatest moments are life are not when you settle for anything. Rather, they are when you challenge each other's every fiber and find your own way. Take advice from others and make it your own. Realize that no other couple has your unique path in life. There is no "one fits all" pill for life's happiness. You've got to fight for happiness all on your own. You might not win the battle each and every day, but think long-term.
I remember vividly when my husband and I were taking pre-marital classes. We were forming our vows and the traditional Catholic vows contain the phrase, "I will obey you." I told my soon-to-be husband I refused to say those words on our wedding day. Even after our deacon joked, "the word obey comes from Latin meaning of 'I listen.'" I told my betrothed I would listen to him, but I would not obey him. I would hear his perspective and I would respect it, but I would not follow it blindly. And that man, who knew my soul said, "we will not follow each other. we will race each other."
That is the path we take in life, never leading, but always sharing. That is why he is my mate in every sense of the word.
Any other tips out there? Please feel free to share them below.