I have been thinking a lot about marriage this past week and how much nothing can really prepare you for what YOUR marriage is going to look like. You can see examples, you can want it to be a certain way, you can prepare, read about it but how you and your significant other make life work, will not be in anybody else book. You kind of have to take what you read, or see and take the gems, make them your own.
This morning I have thrown together, a top 5 list that makes life and marriage work for Charles and I. Now here is my disclaimer, we have only been married five years, we did not date and know each other a long time before we got married. On the other hand, we met and married in a cult basically, got out together, created a whole new life in another state together with a 6 month old, and then have made it through the life changing journey of life with a brain damaged child. So although, we are not perfect and we are young, we might have picked up some things along our crazy journeyed way.
1. Communicate. As much as we hope that our “other half’s” know everything we are thinking. They don’t. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or that you don’t have some kind of amazing connection. It just means that we are human and we are made to communicate…not read minds. This also includes honest. You have to be honest.
2. Don’t lose yourself to the other person. I am learning how to be me amidst being an us. It is not easy for me. I want to prefer Charles and what he thinks and what he wants. He isn’t me though, so the parts of me that he loves, that are needed to round out this beautiful us, get lost because I don’t bring them to the table. Charles doesn’t love me because I like only what he likes and does what he does. He loves me because I am me, and I like the things I like. It makes us better people to do things with others that are outside of our normals or what we like. I think for women this is especially hard when children come because we naturally prefer them. We intuitively put our needs last, its like a hormone released when we get pregnant. I mentally try to make myself aware of what am I bringing to the table. Am I clearly communicating what I need and how do we make both our needs work. Both of our wants work. It’s really beautiful, when it isn’t scary and hard.
3. Have a common ground. Charles and I have this common ground. It’s like this sacred place where our hearts meet. I like to think of it as a agreement place. We just get each other here. We understand the place the other person is coming from. In the rough patches of marriage, when storms have come, it is nice to have this place of refuge. The place where you go, yeah this is why we got married. This is our common ground.
4.Don’t punch bruises. Honest moment, we are the worst at this. We easily in an heated argument, get our feelings hurt and we know each others softest, most tenderest places. We are very aware of the deepest of our hurts. And when our deepest of hurts gets touched, naturally I think we want to hit back (just think back to being 2..its natural). Charles and I call it punching bruises. We rage against it the best we can, and maybe one day we will master it but 5 years in, we still find ourselves punching bruises some days.
5. Be present. This one, I just learned, this week. To be honest I have been told it, I have read it, and still just this week…it hit home. Dates are fantastic but if you are not present emotionally, if you have not saved any part of you for your date, it isn’t a date. It is just two people sharing space together. I have to save some of me for him. And visa versa for him. This past week, we snuck out on a Tuesday and all we did was run errands but he was goofy the whole time. I don’t always get that part of him. He goes to work and he spends that part of him there. He is talking to people all day and negotiating relationships. I do the same. Two kids, a nurse full time in my home, work, some days he comes home and I am all done, and I play a game or a go for a run. I leave him to manage the kids and life and I just try to breathe. It doesn’t leave a lot for the us. You have to make the time for that. The time for you to see the common ground, the time to bring who you are to the marriage, the time to see the person not for the day to day life but for who they are.
There they are, this rookies top 5. I am sure more will be added and I know that as I wrote them, I have read them and talked them out with other people. These are not new things, they are the same gems but colored my way. Made to work for my marriage. A marriage that has seen a lot in a short period. A marriage I am really grateful to be in with a man I am really grateful to be married to.
P.S Charles David I really did know the question I was asking 13 years ago when you told me the answer was yes.