Before I get to my post, let me be honest with you. When Laura gave me the opportunity to guest post for her, I was beyond excited! I am a fairly new blogger and I was so excited to not only guest post on a blog I love, but also for a fellow Nova Scotian blogger.
But, when I sat down with pen and paper, ready to get to work, nothing came to me.
My mind was a complete blank.
How hard can it be to write about marriage? After all, my husband and I had just celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary in June.
Laura had said no guidelines, just write about marriage. There were so many ways I could take this post.
I could write about our wedding, our first few years as a married couple, our life before and after marriage. I could talk about the fact that marriage isn’t always a fairy tale, that there are ups and downs, not happily-ever-afters. I could talk about how my husband and I are complete opposites, yet we still make our marriage work. I could talk about the institution of marriage and how I believe it is a life-long commitment and not something to be entered into lightly.
But then I decided that I would talk openly and honestly about my marriage, so here is my post:
My husband, Matt, and I were married in June 2005, in the same small country church that my grandparents had been married in years before. Our wedding was just under 100 guests, all close friends and family. The ceremony was relaxed, we laughed and we cried, and it was everything I had planned. With help from my family, our wedding day came together beautifully. We spent the next few days honeymooning at a local bed and breakfast before coming home to start our lives as husband and wife. I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling for days, or even weeks, after the wedding.
That sounds like a wonderful start to a romantic marriage, doesn’t it? But what I didn’t mention was that before the wedding, Matt & I had a difficult period. We had been dating for 6 years before we got married, and we had given birth to our oldest daughter, Dakota, less than a year after we started dating. Matt & I were both young and raising a baby, with little time to really form a strong relationship of just the two of us before we became parents. It was hard. We spent the first 2 years after Dakota was born not even living together, and then the next 2 years living with Matt’s parents. We finally rented a house once we had both finished community college and Dakota was 4 years old. And we began to fight. A lot.
The stress of being young parents, living with little income and planning the wedding took it’s toll on us and, just a few months before the wedding, we had a huge fight. We even talked about breaking up. But it was Christmas and we had our daughter to think about, so we decided to wait until after the holidays and see how we felt. Christmas and New Year’s came and went, we made up, and we continued planning the wedding.
As a child, I dreamed of a romantic wedding, a marriage that was perfect. I never wanted a big career, a fancy house or to travel the world. I wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted to be married for 50+ years, with children and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. I had many great role models in my life and all of my grandparents and greatgrandparents had made the 50 year milestone. My parents have been married for 30 years. To me, a family life and a happy marriage were more important than anything else. It was what I wanted most of all.
Now, 9 years later (and 15 years since we started dating!) Matt & I are still happily married. We love each other and we are both committed to our marriage. But, marriage isn’t exactly how I pictured it all of those years ago. It’s not always happy and giddy and smiling. It is real. It is good, it is bad and it can sometimes get ugly.
There are so many good aspects of marriage that I would never be able to list them all in a single post, but here are a few that come to mind.
- Commitment: Marriage is a lifelong commitment between two people. It means sharing the rest of your life with that one special person. It also means that you know, no matter what, that your partner will be with you, through good and bad.
- Closeness: I love how close two people can get. Not just intimately, although it’s nice to have someone to snuggle with every night, but also emotionally. When you have open communication and honesty in your marriage, you become not only partners, but best friends as well.
- Partnership: Marriage is like having a full time partner for everything! Maybe it’s a supportive person in a bad time, or someone to back you up when you are disciplining the kids. Maybe your partner is there to relieve some of the burdens and stresses of life, parenthood, work, or maybe they are simply there as a shoulder to cry on or an ear for listening. And you always have a date – no watching movies or eating in restaurants by yourself.
- Love: Although communication and honesty are big factors in a marriage, love is the biggest. Love helps you support, respect, forgive and understand each other. Love gives you a reason to wake up next to the same person every day for the rest of your life and be happy. Love is those little butterflies you still get in your stomach when he smiles at you in a certain way, even after all of these years.
- Happiness: Happiness, contentment, is a feeling that sometimes overwhelms you. Ok, so not every day is a bucket full of sunshine, but it’s there. It’s there when he asks how your day was, when he reaches for your hand while you are walking, or when he puts the kids to bed so you can have a break without having to be asked! Happiness can be found even on the tough days if you know where to look for it.
- Sharing: When you get married, you make a commitment to not just love one person, but to share your life with them. You share your hopes, your dreams, your concerns, your thoughts, your worries, your feelings, your children, your bed, your bathroom….
Every marriage has ups, downs and areas to work on.
- Being Too Comfortable: Sometimes, when you are with someone everyday, you begin to get too comfortable with each other. Yes, it’s great to know what the other person is thinking before they even say it, or to know little details of each other’s lives, but it can also mean that there is no surprise, no excitement.
- Falling Into a Rut: This happens when you are too comfortable with each other and follow the same routine every day. It’s important to change things up once in a while!
- Not Taking Time for Yourselves: Sometimes when you see each other everyday, you don’t feel the need to make special plans or be together outside of the home. It’s important for couples to not only make time to spend together, but also time apart to do things they enjoy on their own.
- Communication: This is a big one in every relationship. Sometimes, after years together, you may feel like you don’t have to talk to each other as much. You fall into a routine, you know each other well, you just don’t feel the need to talk beyond daily interactions. But communication is so important to a marriage. You need to talk honestly about your lives, your feelings, your concerns. Lack of communication or misunderstandings can lead to trouble in a relationship.
These are the aspects of marriage that no one wants to talk about, so I’m putting them out there.
- Dirty Laundry: I’m not just talking about the pile of laundry your husband leaves on the floor beside his bed, which, if he is anything like my husband, never makes it to the hamper. I’m talking about the secrets, the questions, the negative comments that can sometimes build up in a relationship. Talk openly with your partner, and try not to vent about your problems, or “air your dirty laundry” to others before talking it over with your spouse first.
- Lack of Intimacy: Every married couple comes upon this at some point in their marriage. Maybe it is not being as sexually active as you once were. Maybe it’s not doing the same things, or being as adventurous in the bedroom as you once were. Or maybe it’s a lack of open communication, not sharing your intimate and meaningful thoughts with each other.
- Getting it All Out: Just as important as open communication is, sometimes couples can take it a bit too far and say things that they shouldn’t, things that hurt the other person’s feelings and can’t be taken back. Sometimes knowing that you are in a relationship for better or worse can bring out the worst.
- Not Everyday is Happy: Marriage may seem like a happy ending, but it isn’t always happy. Sometimes marriage is fighting, sometimes it’s ignoring, sometimes it’s hurting each other.
- Marriage Takes Work: Marriage always seems so easy on TV or in movies. You fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. But marriage is work A LOT OF WORK! It is getting to know someone in every way, it is trying to keep the lines of communication open, even when you want to shut down, it’s fighting for your love and your partnership through tough times, it’s learning to forgive and forget. Marriage takes an incredible amount of work.
Marriage, although it does have its bad times, is one of the most wonderful relationships you can ever have with someone. It is a commitment, it’s frustrating and it’s hard, but it can also be magical and fulfilling.
PS: Did I mention that I love weddings? But that’s an entirely different post…