Marriage: Not a Game, Not a Hobby
In July I will have been married for 16 years, and I am not lying when I say, I cannot wait for 16 more. Please allow me to elaborate and explain. These last 16 years of marriage have not always been easy and I can honestly say that we have been thru literally everything you can go thru as a couple. Everything. But we have worked at making this successful. Marriage is not to be taken lightly, it is not something to 'half-ass'. This is a commitment, a promise, a vow. I honestly feel like too many people take it lightly, treat it casually. This isn't a game, it is not a hobby...it is a serious choice that should be treated as such.
Kevin and I both come from rough backgrounds, him more then me. I was lucky. See, I was saved. My mother remarried an amazing man who came in when I was 9 and showed me what a family could really be like. I was the oldest of 3 from my mom's first marriage, 2 adopted and 2 born from my step father and I can honestly tell you, he never treated any of us different. We were all his children as far as he was concerned. Not a day went by that I felt anything but love from him. My birth father I know loved me, but struggled to find himself, looking in the bottom of a bottle, choosing friends and the 'party' over my brothers and I, but in that situation I was also lucky, cuz this year will mark 6 years sober for him. So now I have two incredible dads, both amazing in different ways. Kevin was not so lucky, he grew up and experienced things I cannot even discuss due to the severity of them, he lost his father in 2002 to drugs and it is sad to say it was relief to him. Now, due to the fact that we both came from destructive backgrounds, when we got married, we took it seriously. We in no way wanted our children to experience the instability and abuse we did. We promised each other that this would work or we would fight until it did, and we have done just that. We have been rich, poor, happy, miserable, fought, separated, and many other things that should destroy a couple, but there has been one thing that has always brought us back together......our vows. We were serious that day. It wasn't about the dress, the cake, the gifts, the party, or the honeymoon, it was about a pact that we made to each other. We promised to love, honor, cherish, in sickness and health, richer or poorer, good times or bad...and we have, and still do.
It saddens me how many people cheapen the sanctity of marriage, how many people give up at the first sign of struggle. Don't you realize the struggle is what makes it worth it? The fight is what makes the victory so sweet? If it was easy it wouldn't be so powerful. If it was simple it wouldn't be so rewarding. I am not a marriage expert by any means, I am also not saying every couple should stay regardless, some people just shouldn't. What I am saying is try.
Since I am such a fan of lists, I have compiled a list of ways to help strengthen your marriage, to help tighten that bond and to help find your reward....
1. Acknowledge the small stuff. In 17 years I have maybe put gas in my car a handful of times. I can promise you at any given time I can check my tank and there is gas in it. It isn't even something I think about anymore, because I know I don't have to. On that note, Kevin hasn't cleaned a bathroom at home in 16 years and he wouldn't even think of changing sheets on the bed or cleaning the refrigerator if I wasn't around. When your partner does something, regardless of how small it is, notice it, say thanks....people just want affirmation that they are useful.
2. Stop, just stop for 5 seconds a day and hug. It seems so trivial, but honestly, a hug is worth a thousand bouquets of flowers. To hold someone against you for just a few seconds is free and can move mountains.
3. Be supportive. Kevin and I support each other in literally anything. He has 3 degrees, he uses none, but it was something he wanted to do, and it made him feel important. I can also promise you that if I woke up tomorrow and decided I wanted to be a clown, Kevin would help me find schools. It isn't about what they want to do, it's about them feeling accomplished. Be supportive, regardless of what it is. Just because it doesn't interest you, doesn't deem it unimportant.
4. Shut up. Just be quiet. Listen. Let the other person speak, even if you don't agree. Why are we as humans so frigging interested in hearing ourselves talk? Honestly, half the time the person doesn't care if you agree or not, they just want to be heard. I know you are all laughing right now and wondering if it is possible for me to shut up, but it is. (when I am sleeping) Trust me, this has been one of my biggest downfalls, mainly because I am always right *snort* and because what I have to say is so damn important...(no really it is), but just be quiet and let the other person express themselves.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Really, just don't. If your spouse forgot to put the clothes from the washer to the dryer and now they smell like old gym socks, why is it necessary to start a 45 minute fight on how 'inconsiderate' they are? Honestly, is it that devastating that you have to wash the clothes again? It isn't.
6. Give them a free pass. Everyone has a bad day, you included. If it isn't life altering, give them a free pass. Learn to let crap go. Nobody likes a nag, don't be one.
7. Women like to feel sexy, men like to feel powerful. Honestly men, is it that hard to remember to tell your wife that she looks nice, or sexy? I can promise you that if you were to one day look at her and say; 'Wow, you really are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on'. She would be all over you in a heartbeat. And women? Let him open a jar. I could care less if you can open it yourself. Women's lib? Pfft. Men like to feel useful, strong and powerful. Men like to know that they are the protectors of their women and families. Help encourage your husbands inner caveman, it will do wonders for your sex life....trust me.
8. Stop the nit picking. So he forgot to grab milk on the way home. So what? You know what he also forgot to pick up? A hooker. You are welcome. If you aren't acknowledging the small stuff your spouse does, why the hell would they continue to do it?
9. Remember you were their husband/wife first. That's great that you have kids now, but do NOT let them consume you. I was Kevin's wife first, mother second. Remember that. You cannot run a successful family when the foundation (you and your spouse) is crumbling.
10. Laugh. A lot. Look people, this is hard. Life is hard. Bills don't get paid, dishes don't get done, laundry doesn't get folded, kids fight, dogs piss on the carpet, life happens. Laugh about it. Trust me, there are some days, the kids fight all day, I don't get shit done, there is no dinner, and Kevin and I can laugh that we are eating PB&J for dinner. Just laugh. It doesn't always have to be serious.
My marriage has struggled, there have been days I wake up, roll over and say; 'Oh, you again.' as I am sure Kevin has too. But for every one of those days, there have been 100 days I roll over and smile. He is my best friend, my rock and my favorite person to be around. It hasn't always been great and tomorrow is a new day that could be fantastic or rough, but I know I made a promise, a pact and a vow, and I intend to keep it. Marriage can be amazing, but it is a job, not a hobby and not a game...the 'Gays' aren't ruining the sanctity of marriage, laziness is. And for the record, I know more successfully married Gay couples then I do straight...but then again, Gays are more fun and too bitchy and proud to walk away...
*Sidenote* About 45 minutes ago while typing this, I noticed a questionable looking spider and before I could grab a paper towel it raced across my monitor (probably to go muster his other spider friends to plan a massive attack) I have literally spent this whole time looking for it and I am officially freaked out. Meanwhile, both my feet are asleep due to the fact that I have had them tucked under my legs for an hour. I think I may go wake Kevin up so he feels like he rescued me? No? I think he will be totally grateful! Why are you laughing?