On Friday, June 29, my husband and I will celebrate our 10th year of marriage. When we got married on possibly the most humid day of the year in Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy in 2002, I cannot say for sure that I really knew and understood what marriage entails. Both Astor’s and my parents have been married for over 35 years, so we both have seen successful marriages work. But, when I was 25 and in love, I can now say I honestly don’t know if I really understood the enormity of it all and the sacrifices required to make a marriage work. Promising to love someone through good times and bad times, through sickness and health, etc, is very easy to regurgitate when the biggest decision you need to make is which bikini to pack in your carry-on for your honeymoon in St. Maarten.
Now from some people’s Facebook status updates, you may think that marriage is all kisses and roses. But, for me, and I am assuming a lot of other couples, marriage is hard, hard work. I am a traditional girl in a lot of respects and when we married I felt that we were two becoming one, but I can admit now that I didn’t always act that way or really understand what it meant. Marriage, for us, is similar to running a marathon. At the highest points you feel as though you are in the best shape of your life, could move mountains and conquer it all with a smile on your face. But, there are some low points where you seriously wonder what the point of it all is and wonder if you would feel better if you just quit (or at least just sat down alone with some Gatorade and a deep tissue massage).
So while I am keeping it real, here are a few things I’ve learned about being married over the last decade:
1. Never talk about his Mom. I don’t care if he is venting about how upset she has made him or if she is a certifiable cuckoo bird. Just listen with a poker face, and whatever your personal feelings may be just say them to yourself. No matter how mad he is at his Mother, he is going to be a lot madder at you for talking about her.
2. Don’t compare your relationships to anyone else’s. It is hard not to look at other people’s things and feel slight pangs of envy, and you sometimes feel that about people’s relationships. But, you never really know how someone’s relationship is until you are in it. The grass always looks greener until you have to mow it.
3. Don’t nag. My husband is physically allergic to nagging, and I used to think it was the most effective means of getting things done. I would clench an issue in my teeth like a pit bull terrier and would not let go until it was resolved. Turns out that all it did was make my husband even less inclined to do anything for me. Now I ask him to do something but usually say, “If you could do this in a couple of weeks that would be great.”
4. Know your role. Marriage is about teamwork. At times my husband is the captain, and at times I am. We each have very distinct strengths and weaknesses. I find that when I let him lead and be an all-star, it makes my life easier. That’s really how it should be. If your spouse is not a benefit to you and you are not a benefit to him (or her), it may be time to rethink the game plan.
5. Invest in a DVR. Sounds silly but TV watching can get ugly when there is a game on and Revenge. Compromising about who controls the remote is an easy way to show how flexible you are.
10 years down, and many, many, many, many more to go! Cheers to us!
Have you been married for a while? Do you have any tips to share? Please let me know.