The TRUTH about marriage:
You know the magazines you got as a kid and you would have to spot the differences between two pictures? Let’s take you back a little bit…What differences do you see between the picture on the left and the picture on the right below?
The majority of people would obviously see that the hair is not exactly the same, the colors are different, they look like they would be carded in the left picture and maybe not so much in the right. There may be some grey in the guy’s hair, and the picture on the right is obviously better;) lol jk but the real differences are not what you can see but what is on the inside of this couples’ relationship. I look at these pictures side by side, and on the left I see two young kids, naive enough to think that marriage is about being happy all the time and sunshine and rainbows. That the breakfast in bed and flowers every day will continue during the whole marriage. The things that happen while dating, and even engaged will eventually fade and be replaced with fighting and compromising. If you can learn how to get through the trials then those things will be replaced with that look he gives you when you do something silly or the times he actually puts his clothes in the hamper (this is a rarity ladies) but these small things down the road are still the same love, just in a different form. (The picture above on the left is from the day we got married and the one on the right is from today…10 years later.)
Caleb and I have been married for 10 years today and our relationship now is a thousand times different than it was July 26, 2008. We were both 22 and both thought we knew what we were getting into. We were getting married because we thought we couldn’t live without each other but in fact that is not the case. I’m not saying that I wish I would have married someone else, it’s actually the complete opposite. I don’t think anyone would have put up with the crap I tried to pull the first few years of our marriage and visa versa. We both had insecurities, and instead of seeking help from each other, we would go to our friends or family for advice. It wasn’t until I realized that he needed to be my person that our marriage started to thrive instead of barely survive.
Caleb IS my person, the person I want to come home and talk to about things because he is a realist but also a dreamer. He makes me a better person and I want to be that for not only myself but for him, and now our kids. Having our kids only made us closer. Our marriage has seen ups and downs and if it weren’t for both of our stubbornness and our willingness to change and grow together, we wouldn’t have lasted. I used to go straight to my girlfriends or my mom when I needed advice and even thought I valued their opinions, Caleb’s is the one that I value the most. His opinion means the most to me, HE means the most to me. I went into my marriage thinking this was true, but soon came to the realization I was still running to my mom and my friends with my problems instead of this amazing and loving husband I had vowed to share everything with.
After ten years of marriage, here are just a few things to think about as you start or continue yours.
- Always communicate and constantly ask questions. This one is a big one. They say communication is key, and this is nothing short of being correct. When Caleb and I put aside our fear and our pride and discussed what was upsetting us without letting it eat away at us could we properly fight. Now, our fights last a totally of maybe ten minutes because as soon as something creeps up that had upset me or made me think something; I confront him with it…not with accusations or passive aggressiveness but with love and compassion. If you can’t give your significant other the benefit of the doubt, it is hard for them to return that favor.
- Don’t only communicate but learn to listen. Listen and try to understand each other’s feelings. You both grew up differently and respond to things differently. You will not be an effective listener until you can predict how they are going to respond to a certain situation, given their background.
- Never stop dating each other. Ugh, we hear this all the time and it is so true. Continue to ask questions and be interested in your spouse. Do things your spouse doesn’t like to do…like sort the socks she has piled up from the last month that she continually refuses to sort 😉 lol yeah that is me! Or pick up the laundry he has laying directly by the hamper even though you know it would have only taken him a little longer to put it in there. Let the little things go and learn to live their imperfections. This is when you can truly love someone for who they are and NOT who you want them to be
- Pick your timing wisely and don’t push your significant other’s buttons on purpose. This sounds pretty easy but when a conversation becomes heated, you get defensive and upset and can let your temper take over and you say things you can’t take back. Ask yourself: Is this really the most constructive setting for my partner to hear what I need to say?
Caleb, I could not imagine my life without you and you are truly the love of my life. Our children are growing up to be compassionate, respectful, loving and hard-working because of the role model you are. I strive to be a better person because you constantly tell me how amazing I am when I am not confident enough to see it myself. You push me to be a better me and I would not be the person I am without you! I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives continuing to grow together and make the lives we only dreamed of when we were first married.
10 years after we got married at the Shove Chapel, the place that started it all!