What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Marriage

Y’all, Sunday was a special day. It marked the sixth anniversary of the day I said “I do!” to my husband (and he said it back). We had a “unique” start to our marriage. We both came into the marriage with a failed one under our belts, little 3-year-old Bella along for the ride, and I was pregnant with the unsuspecting man-sized baby Roman. The odds haven’t always been in our favor and there have been moments for both of us when we questioned what we’re doing. We don’t always get along. There are some fundamental differences we will always have. But I know I have a loyal partner and devoted dad. He is my best friend and my greatest supporter. Hopefully he feels the same way about me. I’ve learned a lot along the way. Most of the things I’ve learned would have made my marriage easier had I learned them sooner. So, if you’re contemplating marriage, even if you’ve done it before, read these lessons as a heads-up for what might be coming your way. For those veterans out there, let me know what I’ve missed.

Here are the four biggest things I’ve learned throughout my six years of marriage:

  1. Marriage is work. And one person can’t do it all. It takes both people fully committed to the marriage at all times. Even when you’re mad or sad or deflated or exhausted or sleeping or trying to sleep but you can’t cuz “someone” snores like a garbage disposal swallowing a metal spoon so you’re mad, sad, frustrated, and exhausted all at once and you start replaying that episode of Snapped where the woman got away with it, unless you fully expect to tell your kids “I left because I couldn’t take the snoring”, you still have to be committed… all the way to the sleep apnea doctor. I don’t think I really understood this and accepted it until well into our marriage. I was quick to say, “I think you should go.” Unfortunately I didn’t complete that sentence with “to the shooting range” or “buy yourself a TV”. He would have appreciated that more.  Know your boundaries and communicate them. Part of being committed 100% is communication. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You don’t have to say it mean but sometimes that helps 😉 Knowing your boundaries allows you to know when to give in and when to dig in your spiked stiletto heels.
  2. Marriage with babies is exhausting. Know this going in. Now, there’s no way for you to fully comprehend the level of exhaustion that you’ll experience until you are already in it. But know that it’s exhaustion like you can’t fathom. And in that state of exhaustion you have to take care of a little human being who doesn’t give a shat how exhausted you are. Or how sick you are. Or how busy you are. Or what your deadlines are for work. So now we have exhaustion, a demanding little person who can’t communicated in any other way than with super-sonic boom cries at 2:00 am, 2:15 am, 3 am, 3:12 am, 3:30 am, 3:31 am, 3:33 am, 4 am, 5 am… ALARM CLOCK!!! Time to get ready for work! Are you ready? Who’s ready? Oh, and after you work a full day, pick your baby up from daycare, feed the baby, bathe the baby, feed the baby again, put the baby to bed for the 1 hour you’ll get before the next crying sesh, you need to make purposeful time to spend with your partner. Um… what? All I want to do is watch reality TV to make me feel better about myself, drink a glass of wine, and kill some dark chocolate before I fall asleep on the couch in the middle of chewing my food. The trick is to keep it fun. Find a show to binge watch together and have a standing date on the couch. And let him be your face’s pillow when you pass out.
  3. Marriage with toddlers is war. Every minute is a battle. If you aren’t fighting your little person with newly found independence, you’re probably fighting with your spouse over something to do with parenting. Or something to do with how your routine has unexpectedly changed. “Why has the same load of laundry been drying for 3 days?” Well, maybe it’s because I keep forgetting the clothes are there and I have to wash them over again. Six times. Believe me, it’s not optimal for either of us. Know that it’s ok to fight. It’s healthy. And (this one was very important for me to learn) every fight doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. In fact, it can mean the strength of your relationship increases.
  4. Marriage with kids is a rollercoaster. Your kids are finally old enough to communicate when they’re sick, sad, hungry, thirsty, heartbroken, mad at you.  But when your kids crawl into your lap without warning and hug you and tell you how much they love you or when you take them somewhere fun and you hear them say, “THIS IS THE BEST. DAY. EVER!!!!” that’s your reward for passing stages one and two, grabbing the flagpole at the VERY TOP and saving the princess twice without losing any lives. This is the stage when you are probably more aligned strategically with your spouse. It’s probably more often a “parents vs. kids” situation where kids frequently say, “you’re mean! No one here even likes me!” If you hear this at least once a day, you’re probably doing this parenting thing perfectly and should consider writing a book. Also, date nights for us have happened more frequently at this stage than before because 1) it’s much easier to leave them when they’re yelling at you because you said ‘no’ to 3 brownies and 2) they’re vocal enough that you can trust them to tell you anything you may need to know, i.e. a bad babysitter. Marriage, parenting, life can all be scary. And that’s ok.

So I still don’t have it all figured out. Life is uncharted waters. But it’s nice to know I have a sailing partner. Hopefully we’ll still be just as committed to each other and our marriage in 50 years as we are right now. That’s right, I have him til he’s 91. What’s your best marriage advice?

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5 Things I’ve Learned from My Marriage

My husband holds a special record in my life. Our relationship is officially the longest relationship I have ever been in. In the 8 years we’ve known each other, I’ve learned some things. Below is a list of 5 things I’ve learned so far:

  1. I have to compromise. I have to compromise. I have to compromise.
  2. People who snore go to sleep faster than I can find my favorite wine in Costco. And I know exactly where it is. And I get that before I get anything else. So it doesn’t take me long, that’s my point.
  3. His hugs make me feel safer than I’ve ever felt in my life.
  4. Watching him comfort our children makes my heart cry happy tears.
  5. The hard days feel like I’m fighting for the heavyweight championship but the other 99% of the days are wonderful and make it all worth it.

My husband is my best friend. And I love him with all my heart. Unless he’s snoring. Like he is now.

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Meh-widge

In just 2 days my hunky hubs and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary.  This is huge.  Each year that I realize 1) our anniversary is approaching and 2) we’re still married, I feel accomplished.  It’s comparable to the feeling I had when each of my kids turned one.

{YAY!!!  I sustained a human life for a year!!!  Only now it’s, “Yay!!!  We sustained a human marriage another year!  I still love and even LIKE my husband and he must still like me because he hasn’t served me with divorce papers or tried to poison me!!! That I know of”}

After my first marriage I swore I would NEVER get married again.  Ever.  I was better off alone, no drama, no heartbreak.  Marriage just complicates things.  The realization that marriages end sometimes even when you give it your all was too sobering for me to process.

But then, one day I was running late for work.  I stopped in for my morning Starbucks (cuz I’m never too late for that).  And there stood a handsome man in scrubs with an amazing smile and stunning blue eyes.

You know that feeling in high school when you see a hot guy who’s way cooler than you and your knees buckle?  Yeah, that happened.

I went to work that morning and told my boss about my encounter.  He wrote my cell # on a napkin and put it in my pocket.  He said, “Be late as much as you need.  But keep that napkin with you and give it to him next time.”

First off, that man was one of my favorite bosses EVER.  Secondly, I don’t think he realized “as much as you need” meant 6 months of me being late to work.  And I lost that napkin probably 2 weeks in.

Fast forward two years and we were flying to Vegas to get hitched.

{FYI, if you’re in a great mood, about to do something BIG, and are super excited, DON’T WATCH BLACK SWAN!  We learned this lesson on the flight over.  Hashtag buzz kill.}

I felt like this time I had a more realistic expectation of marriage.  And, my poor hubs… I didn’t just have “a little baggage” that I dragged into our union.  I had

self-catering-breaks.com
self-catering-breaks.com

But it’s ok.  He had a few suitcases, too.

Our marriage hasn’t always been all roses, unicorns, and rainbows.  There are moments when our marriage feels like I’m standing in the middle of a lucha libre fight.

{What tha face is about to happen?  Why are those little people dressed like koala bears walking angrily toward me?}

Sometimes it’s like a weird dream involving leprechauns and Oompa Loompas.

{Should I be scared or in awe?  I’m not sure what this is… is this a black pot full of cereal???}

The first year was a tough adjustment.  He went from bachelor to insta-family.  And I had to remember that I now had a partner.

He and I didn’t have the luxury of living in a honeymoon bubble for the first year.  (I’ve actually never had that luxury but I’ve been told that it exists.  Guess it’s kind of like aliens…or Big Foot.) It was like we fast-forwarded to year 10 and had to figure out the rest as we went along.

But then there are the moments that feel like I’m swimming in dark chocolate while covered in diamonds, receiving the most comforting angel hug while listening to Celine Dion sing the phone book.

{Kids, phone books are biiiiig books with phone numbers in them that used to be popular when I was a young whippersnapper.  Mostly it was used by me for comic relief, “Short, Peter!!!!!  AHAHAHAHA!”}

Each year we seem to gain a greater understanding of what we can do to love the other better.

Each year poses new obstacles for us to face.  It’s nice to have someone who grabs my hand and goes over it with me instead of someone who yells “sucka!”, runs away, and leaves me standing there with my thumb up my rear.

Not gonna lie, with every obstacle there is a split second where I still expect to be let down.  I kind of hold out my hand and close my eyes really tight not knowing if he will have grabbed my hand when I open my eyes.  But he always does.  And usually complains that my hands are clammy.  And those are the moments I know I’m where I should be.

We haven’t yet been married for 40 years so I’m not writing this post to grace you with my words of marital wisdom.  That would probably result in a sharp spike in divorce rates.  (Which would insinuate that I have a large cult-like blog following.)

But I can say I’ve learned some things. Marriage isn’t a fairy tale.  It’s a journey that takes 100% commitment from each partner every minute of every day.  It’s emotionally dangerous. To make it work you have to rely on another person and assume they want to be there, too.  You have to be vulnerable.  You have to let another person in on your cray-cray.  AND, you have to experience someone else’s cray-cray.

{Anything crazy can and will be used against you in a court of law.}

But when it works, when you find someone who wakes up next to you and you know with 100% certainty that today this person will be my teammate, that’s a pretty big deal.

{And then they fart.}

With each slap on the arse I’m reminded that he loves me.  And with each burned, inedible dinner I make I hope he sees I’m trying to show him how much I love him, too.

To all of my friends who are separated or divorced, don’t mistake marriage for happiness.  Experience living life for yourself and see where it goes.  Also, never say never.  You just may end up with a hottie hubs, a daughter who adores him, and a son who just wants to be called Slash.

To all of my friends who are married and glad you did it, fist bump.

And to my partner in crime, I’m glad I’m in cahoots with you.

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