It was 17 years ago…

It was a bright, beautiful fall day. The air was crisp, I couldn’t have asked for better weather on a day full of beginnings.  That was Oct. 13, 1991 when my husband and I got married.  Of course, there were some other more humorous moments throughout the day, some of which were recorded on video.  But life was different then, the question is how different?

So, with 17 years of reflection, here’s what I know now about marriage and relationships that I didn’t know then.

1. I didn’t know jack shit on my wedding day.  Everything I thought I knew was an ideal or a false belief.

2.  Relationships are the equivalent of getting a PhD in life, it’s a never ending process of learning.

3.  Falling in love and being in love are two different things.  The falling part is the roller coaster ride, the being in love piece is more like a bicycle ride.  It’s a bit slower, and there are some harder hills, and sometimes partners are helping each other push up the bigger hills, sometimes you need to walk it, and then you can coast down the other sides together.

4.  Being a good parent does not mean you are being a good spouse.  Kids will add love and joy to a home and expand our hearts, but they can complicate things too and do not always complete a marriage or a relationship.  When I met my husband, he had two little girls ages 2 and 3.  They were adorable, and all we wanted for those girls was to provide a stable, loving home to grow roots. What I didn’t realize is that becoming a parent is a journey too, and not a really great one to thrust upon a new relationship that is still forming its own roots.  Be gentle with yourself and partner, and take the time to nourish each other before bringing others into the equation.  Because parenting will suck your energy away from each other, and even though it feels like you are working at your “relationship” you are really just developing your parenting skills.  It takes time, patience, and honest reflection.  Nourish youselves first, then you’ll have more to offer the kids.

5.  It’s all small stuff 99.5% time.  I do mean this whole-heartedly.  It IS all small stuff.  Just be careful because small stuff will add up to big stuff when ignored long enough.  This is where the breakdowns happen, feelings are ignored, voices not heard or understood, missing small opportunities that creates disappointment, small resentments that build, and so on.  So pay attention to the small stuff only so you can acknowledge it and let it go.  Holding on is where the trouble all starts, because when it becomes big enough, it can break a relationship. Which leads me to my next insight…

6.  It’s not important to be right.  Enough said.  It’s just not. Period.  If it is, then you will likely be imposing your thoughts and will on your partner, and they may or may not hear you.   Some days you may need to fall on your sword, just do it.  Be humbled, say you are sorry, don’t carry on because of the one point you still need to make.  Being right usually means you’ve stopped listening to the other person which becomes a catalyst for many other unbalanced things including seeking the opinions of others outside the relationship just to be validated, which breathes more life into bad energy, and so on.  Stop the spiral.  Mea culpa.

7.  A marriage is a story of 2 journeys, not one.  I say this because I fell into the Cinderalla story of “happily ever after” and believed that a marriage forms one journey of two souls.  What I’ve since realized is that it always has been a sharing of 2 journeys, not one.  Each of us has a personal reason of being who we are, and doing what we do, and being married does not mean that you change your entire journey to match your partners.  It is and will always be 2 journeys that open up the doors of acceptance, love, admiration, honesty between each other.  Loving each other, accepting each other, and being present for things that we each must experience so we can learn from our journeys and share the insights.  Yes, our 2-journey paths converge, which is good, but it’s the process of how we rediscover our paths back to each other that allows a stronger, richer love to grow.

Well, I think that’s what I’ve got for now.  I may come up with a couple more later, and likely less serious in nature as I reflect on the funny side of being married 17 years.  Such as:

– No household project is never really ever finished
– Socks seem to defect from our household in record numbers
– “What’s for dinner” can sometimes be a grenede launcher into a hand-to-hand battle
– Snoring can result in murderous thoughts
– And any sentence starting with “You Should” needs to be stricken from the vocabulary

Thanks for reading! Make sure to laugh out loud today!  I know I am…. 17 years and “they” thought we’d never make it….

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Juliann, happy anniversary! What a fantastic post, thanks for honestly sharing your insights and lessons learned. My husband and I just celebrated our 1st anniversary Sept. 26 (we’ve been together 8 years total) and I can completely see that what you’ve shared is true. We don’t have children and I really appreciate your candor re: how kids have impacted you and your relationship. Witnessing how kids have changed the relationships of family and friends has taught us to cherish the time we have just the two of us and to not make kids such a huge focus that we forget to nourish each other and still do the little things for each other that make us feel appreciated and cared for. I purposely wrote our wedding ceremony to reflect the fact that although we’re a couple, we are individuals first and it takes 2 strong individuals to make a strong marriage, that’s a terrific point you made.

  2. Juliann says

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for the comment and the good wishes and congratulations to your first anniversary that just passed. It is good to get that first one under the belt. You learn so much every day for sure. I’m glad my post made sense. It hasn’t been roses every day, but there’s been enough to make it worthwhile.

    Best of luck to you both too. It sounds like you have a wonderful foundation that is built to last the years. I appreciated you sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  3. Scott Sommer says

    Juliann,

    You are spot-on with your reflection #1. And the amazing thing is that when we are that age we think we know everything!

    And all I can add to what you already have said so eloquently is, you seem to have earned that PhD in life. Reflections #3 – 7 prove that you have mastered this important life lesson: that life is a never-ending learning experience.

    May God bless you along your journey together.

    Scott

  4. Juliann says

    Hey Scott,
    Thanks for the comment and well wishes. All the best to you and your family too as we have discovered some similarities … :-)) Have fun at ISA this week!
    Juliann

  5. says

    Juliann, Mazel Tov on your anniversary. No doubt you’ll have many more wonderful years because you got the formula right.

    I’m on my second trip down the aisle. First time I was infected with what I call ‘a social virus’ I got married because that’s what you do after college, right? This time around, many years later, I’m recovered and being married means something entirely different to me.

    You’re right. I agree with just about everything you’ve said. That’s the formula for a happy, spirited, loving marriage: patience and perspective sure do work wonders.

    My mantra: Would I like to be right or loved? Sure, I can be both (and frequently am) but that little phrase has kept the nagging at a minimum and loving at an all time high!

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