I can’t believe that it’s been five years already. It still seems like only yesterday. Maybe the renewal last year helped with that. Publicly recommitting definitely ups the ante. Maybe it’s that every year keeps getting better. Still, possibly due to the whirlwind nature of our early story, I can’t quite fathom that we’ve been a married unit for five years. In the spirit of sharing, here are five truths I’ve come to realize over the last five years.
one Buy your own damn flowers.
I tried so hard to make B into the kind of guy who would buy me flowers. I joked to him that flowers were like blow jobs long before there was a some e-card about it. I would remind him regularly that bringing home flowers to me would be amazing. He did twice, both times after fights, so the sweet sentiment was slightly soured by the mood around them.
The real sentiment here, is that your spouse can’t be your everything. B cannot fulfill every need that I have. Nor can I for him. We would kill ourselves and ruin everything by trying. Instead, we’re learning to embrace where we can’t meet the other’s needs and to allow room to fill them in a healthy manner. The pressure is gone. I have flowers and B isn’t being crushed by the weight of unmet expectations.
Relationships have such a funny give and take. There are countless articles out there about splitting things evenly – be it bills, paying for dates, or chores. But, that just isn’t reality. At least not as we know it. Things are never even. They’re never fair. And that’s okay.
For us, what has worked, is both of us giving everything we can at any time. It means me doing his laundry, polishing his boots, and taking care of the dog ninety percent of the time while he’s in the academy for his current job. Because he is going through hell to get a good job that will take care of us both for a long time. It is him greeting me at the door with a drink and a kiss and dinner ready to go after a long afternoon of teaching on my part. It is us both working together through the hard parts, even when it would be easier to gloss over or give up. It never totals up to 100 percent, it’s never fifty-fifty. But, it always balances because we don’t keep score.
Chores are endless and you have to help each other out with them. But, more than that, you have to do the work in life. Be it doing the never ending laundry and dishes, taking the dog for a walk twice a day, or nurturing your marriage – there is always work to be done.
Marriage isn’t easy. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard work, but life is hard work so that fits. If you don’t do the work, then just like the laundry piles up and the dishes grow mold, your marriage will suffer.
It takes the un-fun check ups of talking about things that upset you both. It takes really listening to your partner when they tell you why they’re not happy. It takes the fun doses of dates, kisses, and reconnecting too – but sometimes even those will feel like chores. Put in the work, because that’s where love flourishes.
four It’s us against the world.
Be a team. In everything you do, be on the same team as your spouse. Even when you’re so mad at them that you could scream with primal rage, remember that you’re on the same team. Remind yourself daily that they never mean for their actions to hurt you – give them the courtesy of taking their actions in good faith.
That isn’t always easy for me. I tend toward the martyr complex and it is hard sometimes when B forgets something I’ve asked him to do, to remind myself that he isn’t doing it to hurt me. Because, it’s us versus the world, versus statistics, versus everything. I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side on this crazy journey.
Even more, remember that it is your marriage against the world when it comes to jobs, friends, and even family. There will be things in this life that will try to tear you apart. It is rarely as obvious as a Jezebel in sheep’s clothing. It’s as simple as not venting about your spouse to others, always having their back in their job decisions, sharing everything. Because of course, that isn’t simple at all.
It seems like a cliche. Most of this post honestly has. Yet, so much of it I didn’t understand five years ago. I am excited to see how much more I learn in five more years, ten, twenty, hopefully fifty. Because, what I have learned is that it keeps getting better.
The first year was hard. The circumstances were hard. Learning to love down to the very essence of my being was hard. But each year has taken my breath away. Each year has shown me a new depth to this love. Each year has brought about changes, hardships, laughter, tears, and love. Always love.
My heart is open, my eyes are clear, and my soul is intertwined with my beloved. The best awaits us and I am so grateful to walk toward it with this man of mine.