Maybe because my big 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up or all my single 20-something cousins are constantly being bombarded with questions of marriage, or most of my clients have been talking about their own marriages, but one thing is clear, Marriage is the topic of the week.
Most people are expressing the opinion, people get married too young. I can’t help but ask, “is it that they are too young, or that they don’t really know who they are?”
I know people who are 23, completely self-aware and know their boundaries and I know people who are 40 and still discovering themselves. The point is not of age, but on self-knowledge. If I don’t know what I will and won’t stand for, my own likes and dislikes, how can I possibly expect to understand someone else’s?
Better yet, if I am not acknowledging my own needs, wants, goals, dreams, can another person really be the key to my happiness, and thanks to Jerry Maguire, expected to “complete me”?
My story started out as a confident, independent, bubbly 23 year old, who knew one thing for sure, I did not want to get married and I did not want to have children.
Well the universe had different plans in store and sent Rik, into my life. It felt like, instant humor, instant love, and instant marriage, too busy having fun to realize the depth of what it all meant.
Reality hit when we moved in together and it was truly like Venus meet Mars! I just had never experienced this much intimacy with a guy before. Every-day you will be here? I will see you, think of you, talk to you… 24 hours a day? I don’t know if I can handle that much of my own self.
Even as I signed away the rights to my middle name, (formerly my father’s first name, now to be replaced as my husband’s first name) burning tears streamed down my face. This drama was my ego’s way of trying to hold on to the little self-dignity I did have. It didn’t matter if my name were changing to Phila-Lemon Patel that day, it didn’t change the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted, who I was or what my boundaries were.
At some point in our marriage, together, we realized we were both lost kids, trying to find our place in the world. I’m grateful because it made me realize that, no, we don’t need to break up because his socks are all over the bedroom and closet floor. No the D word (divorce) doesn’t need to be addressed every time he doesn’t follow the grocery list exactly. And no, bathroom hygiene is not a cause for separation.
Although, can we just take a moment to thank the Home Building Gods for creating his and hers sinks, which I’m pretty sure extended my marriage by a few more years!
Finding that thin line between bringing up things that need to be worked on without succumbing to the D word has been the stepping stone of my marriage. That and the presence of love.
Not just the love we feel as humans for all living things, but also the kind where his words make my heart smile, his voice brings joy to my soul, and his touch still sends shivers down my spine! That feeling that no one else will possibly do.
In case you didn’t get it, let me state, my marriage is far from perfect. My husband has slept in our guest room for months, we’ve done silent treatments for days, screaming fits for hours and I’ve even had tacos thrown at me, and for a man that loves his food… that’s saying a lot! I’m grateful that through it we ended up finding our selves, finding our own boundaries, and finding out why we are still together: love, faith, communication and hard work!
1. Always Have Faith.
My husband more than me kept faith that we will always be together. Even from what seemed to be rock bottom with no light shining in, he had faith we’d climb out to the top… together.
Without faith there’s no reason to really keep going, if there’s no belief that the marriage will last than why try? I’ve learned that yes, one person can hold the faith for a relationship, maybe temporarily, but its like a flame, it will burn until it uses up the last of its fuel, then it must go out. One person holding the faith is still burning that fire.
2. He Can’t Read Minds.
When you put a guy who doesn’t volunteer information unless asked and a girl who is constantly trying to people please without being asked, there’s a whole-lot of hoping the other person will ‘just know’ what you need. True story, no one is that consistently great of a mind reader.
So we learned to actually talk! Even little things like, I am feeling tired so I may get irritable, it has nothing to do with you. Even saying come home early today, I really need a hug. If you want to pick me up some flowers on your way home, I’d be ok with that!
Where’s the spontaneity? When the communication lines are open, it opens the door for spontaneity, fun, and more love!
In the beginning of climbing out of rock bottom we had to say every thing that was on our minds with the voice of our heart. (I don’t think this stage is ever really over, it’s the definition of honest communication).
3. Its Work.
No one wants to open Pandora’s box or that messy drawer in the kitchen, because you don’t know what you’ll find. But without bringing up the suppressed feelings, the deep cuts, I couldn’t have possibly found peace or freedom in myself or in my relationship.
For without feeling sadness you cannot feel true joy, without fear there is no courage, without grief there’s not undeniable love. All of which requires your time, effort, tears, and vulnerability. Everyday you work to fight your ego and say what you feel anyway.
You do this to clean your energy, your self, your relationship and your karma. You do this to heal together. I’m lucky, its working for me, and I guess I have my ego to thank for that, because as my best friend pointed out, I stayed through the drama, the tears and the nasty spats because it was a little less than the pain I was causing myself. I’m lucky that my husband was going through the same thing. I’m lucky he wanted to heal. I’m lucky he wanted to redefine our marriage too.
My marriage will always be a work in progress, otherwise what’s the point. But one thing I know for sure, I wouldn’t be living, loving, doing, growing if it wasn’t for him and his faith in me to be able to heal together.