I’ve been married for 10 years. For people my age that’s a long time. 10 years is a milestone. That’s a decade. That’s 10 continual years of being legally, emotionally and mentally committed to the same person. Has it been hard?
You were expecting me to say ‘Yes’, weren’t you?
But honestly, it hasn’t. Moving. Across country. Twice. Was hard. Being broke was hard. Having babies was hard. Raising those babies was hard. Still is. But the marriage? Not one bit. The state of our marriage has never been compromised through everything hard we’ve been through all these years. The marriage itself is what kept us sane through all of that hardship. If it wasn’t, then those hard things would have broken us and then the marriage would have been considered hard.
Why? Why hasn’t it been hard?
Because I knew him inside and out, through and through before we got married. So he never surprised me with some new, dumb thing about himself. I already knew all his dumb things. And we took our time. We didn’t rush into anything. Why rush? Why speed up the ‘growing old together’? You have the rest of your life to be together…that’s literally why you’re getting married. So why rush into the ‘getting married’? That has never made sense to me. Neither has the ‘not living together first’ part. Now, I know I will get a lot of negative feedback for this, and this is merely my (strong) opinion, but if you are vowing to spend your entire life with someone and commit to living with them for the rest of your life, then why ON EARTH would you not test that out first?!?! We test-drive a car before we buy it. We try on clothes before we buy and wear them out. There are make-up counters dedicated to the testing out of perfumes and lipsticks before we commit to the purchase. We taste our food before we serve it…
And that’s just what we drive, wear, and eat.
My husband and I were practically married before we officially were. We lived together, I saw him and he saw me first thing every morning, middle of the night, falling asleep, no make-up (that’s just me there), angry, happy, sad, sick, all of it. We literally saw each other through sickness and health before it was something we had to say. We got a kitten, a puppy, plants, apartments, we made large life decisions together, as a team, before we got married. We knew every – thing about each other before we were married.
If you don’t, then you shouldn’t get married. You should wait. If you don’t, then it’s more about the fun of the wedding and the excitement of meeting someone new and the dream of it all, the fairytale you have in your head than it is about each other. (Or the excitement to finally be able to live together…?) But marriage is real. Marriage is serious. Marriage is forever.
It’s meant to be forever.
My parents just celebrated their 35 year wedding anniversary. They’re incredible, those two. Why are they still together? It’s my (strong) opinion that they’re still together for the same reasons why my husband and I are still together.
4) Time apart.
You have to TRUST your spouse. Unconditionally trust them. This is your life partner. This is your teammate for the rest of your life. You should be able to trust them with everything that is yours
…and everything that is not.
You have to ACCEPT them for who they are. And who they are NOT. We cannot change someone fundamentally. We cannot fix everything. If you can’t live with something about the other person, if it’s such a deal-breaker that they do/don’t do or say/don’t say or feel/don’t feel a certain way about something, then DO NOT MAKE THAT DEAL. Accept them for who they are. And who they are NOT.
You have to be friends with your spouse. At the root of every successful relationship lies friendship. You have to generally enjoy the other’s company, in all scenarios and scenes. You have to have things in common. Which leads me to the fourth item…
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE EVERYTHING IN COMMON. Spend some time apart!! You should have different interests that you can safely enjoy with other friends who share that common interest, and then come home to the person who you share EVERYTHING ELSE with. And TRUST them all the while. You also need to have other friends outside of the marriage. This is so very important. You cannot rely on your spouse to provide you with every source of happiness at every hour of the day. You cannot rely on them to fill your every need and enjoy your every joy. You cannot simply wait for them to come home from work everyday in order to make your day complete. This, my friends, will drive you AND YOUR SPOUSE insane. And not in the good way. Find your own happiness in friends that make you feel good about yourself and then you will appreciate what you have with your spouse so much more.
And another extremely important part of a successful marriage is being able to call the other out on their bullsh*t. If your spouse is doing or saying something you know isn’t right, you need to have the freedom to tell them they are wrong. I know whenever I’ve had my dark moments of acting a certain way that wasn’t true to my real self, my husband has SHUT IT DOWN. He’s snapped it right out of me. It hurts sometimes to hear it.
The truth can hurt, but the more it hurts, the more you know how off track you are.
And in the end, he’s always right. I TRUST him enough to know that he knows me the best and I TRUST the fact that he is a wonderful soul and would never steer me wrong.
My parents have shown me the greatest example of a successful marriage – my whole life I watched how you’re supposed to be married. I’ve had many years of learning from them. They giggle, they joke, they poke, they fight, they take care of each other. Do they like everything about one another?
No. That would be preposterous.
Your spouse should NEVER be set upon a pedestal.
But they ACCEPT everything about one another, they love each other in spite of the things they don’t like, because there are so many wonderful things they DO like that they fell in love with so many years ago. They know who they are and who they are married to and they are COMFORTABLE. And happy. And they still have fun after all these years. They still laugh after 35 years. They still cuddle after 35 years.
They are still friends after 35 years.
I know now, on this day, settled into my 10th year of marriage, that my husband and I will continue down this same path that leads us to 35, 45, 55, 65 years of marriage. And I know that until then I will be able to sit back and marvel at the couple that helped me understand what a marriage is supposed to be like. My marriage yodas.
These two lovebirds right here deserve a round of applause. Because they’re winning in the game of marriage.
My parents, ladies and gentlemen.
Here’s to 35 years, you two! Cheers to that.