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….