15 Lessons I Learned About Marriage
We fell in love and graduated from high school in 1997.
June 14th 2003 we tied the knot.
I've learned a lot along the way:
The piece of paper can make a difference-
I didn't care much about whether we were officially married or not. I just wanted commitment and a family. He wanted the paper and much to my surprise it felt amazing to sign. The wedding was crazy fun, but it also lifted a weight, I didn't know I had, to seal the deal and legally wed.
The seven year itch was a real thing-
I don't know what it is about that seven year mark, but I got wiggly. Not "leave him for another man" wiggly, but "is this what I really want for the rest of my life" wiggly. I can't say what exactly what changed past seven years, but it shifted and I never looked back.
Kids make it harder, but they also make it better-
Figuring out how to parent is hard enough, figuring out how to parent next to someone who parents differently can really shake things up. All the ICK can come flying to the surface as you navigate the uncharted territory of raising children. At the very same time there's almost NOTHING that feels as good as loving your children deeply and profoundly alongside their other parent. When we look at each other with that "our kid is amazing look" it's absolute perfection.
One person is NOT supposed to fill all the roles-
If I expect him to meet all my needs all the time: physical, emotional, spiritual.. I am setting myself up for failure. It's too much pressure for him and for me. That's why girlfriends, mentors, coaches, and community are so important for me. I'm able to have all my needs met and give back in return.
Love means meeting him where he's at-
The same way I have to meet myself where I'm at, and our children where they are at, I most definitely have to meet him where he is at. Anything else is a recipe for frustration.
Change does happen, but not overnight-
We're human and as such we're always changing. We change individually and in our relationships. The fastest way to support someone to change is to change yourself, it's almost impossible for them not to follow suit.
I have to love myself, not only to love him, but to be able to receive his love-
Self-love is so much more than number seven on this list; it's a lifetime of study, but you have to be willing to start in order to maintain a healthy marriage.
The only rules to follow in the bedroom are your own-
It can be fun to talk to girlfriends about sex, or seek out new resources for inspiration, but the only people who can define a healthy sex life are YOU and your lover.
Vacations are good for the soul-
Escaping the everyday routine in order to spend time together reminds you of all the reasons you fell in love in the first place. It can be overwhelming to plan, especially if you have a family or careers, but it's SOOOOO worth it.
Texting can open doors that otherwise may have stayed closed-
Technology has a whole host of drawbacks, but it's been a godsend for communication in my marriage. Neither one of us are quick thinkers or strong reactors, we need time to process and texting allows us to take time to think and break the ice when we've cooled. It's also a really fun way to send love notes when you feel that wave of love wash over you.
We don't have to agree-
Just because we chose to spend the rest of our lives together does not mean we have to agree on anything. In fact, different opinions make for interesting conversation and lots of growth.
It's ok to have roles, and it's also ok to break them-
Some seasons he does more grocery shopping, some seasons I do. Some weekends he does more parenting, some weekends I do. Sometimes I take out the trash, sometimes he does. Most of the time he does the dirty and hard work, and most of the time I make the parenting decisions and clean the house. We're totally ok with our roles and we're also ok breaking them.
It's ok to wish it were different and still stay-
I wish my house were different, but I also love it here. I wish my government were different, but I also love it here. I wish my hips were different, but I also love it here. Nothing is perfect, and desire for change can be eye-opening and inspiring.
When I let him love me, his love grows bigger-
Surrendering to his love is like fertilizer for our marriage. It allows us to both bloom in ways resistance would have prevented.
There's only one person responsible for my happiness-
When it comes right down to it, there is nothing he can say or do that defines how I show up in the world, so that gives me lots of room to love him with a great big open heart and little dependency. We are life partners who are each responsible for how we show up in the world. When we act on that, love flows abundantly.