Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Advice for Staying Happily Married

Next month Jarod and I will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary and though I humbly know I have nowhere near the wisdom and knowledge a couple that has spent 57 years together, I think I know a thing or two on marriage. If I were to die tomorrow, these are the words I hope reach my children when they find that special person:

To my children,

First and foremost, don’t try to find a soul mate. Find yourself. Don’t rely on someone else to make you happy because that’s just a losing game; instead, seek someone to share your life with. No one can make you happy. You must learn to make your own happy ever after.

The reason “happily ever afters" start at the end of the movie is because no one wants to see that Prince Charming likes to watch TV with a beer in his hand and a remote in the other or the gorgeous and ridiculously-skinny woman he “saved” is about 50 pounds overweight from her colicky first-born son who won’t stop crying for the life of him. Life. Is. Nothing like the movies; it’s better.

Marry someone that reminds you of every love song ever written, someone you love so deeply it aches. Make positively sure it’s nothing less than this kind of love . . . because there will be times, regardless of how special and how different you think you two are, when it will become a chore to recall those exhilarating feelings of romance.

After a few days of dating (yes, I said days), your dad and I told each other we wanted to spend forever with one another. Although, we had no idea what that meant quite yet, that exaggeration of romance and love very early in our relationship is sometimes what I think got us through everything. We knew we had something so rare and special that we never wanted to lose it.

Marriage will absolutely be the one the hardest things you ever do but it is also one of the most rewarding blessings bestowed upon us and with that said: FIGHT LIKE HELL to stay married. Do whatever it takes to make things work. One of my favorite bits of advice I’ve heard about staying married is that sometimes staying married simply means: just staying. There will always be difficult moments in your life but committing to stay together when everything is falling apart makes the rainbow at the end of the rain so much more beautiful and magical.

There have been moments when I have without a doubt hated your father and have seriously considered leaving but I’m so thankful I never did. As I write this I have tears in my eyes and cringe at my inability to better explain in words how much I love your dad, our past and where we are today. I feel nothing but an overwhelming sense of gratitude that this is my life but none of it would have been mine if I walked out the doors when things got tough.

Also, take every single bit of advice about marriage and relationships and throw it all out the window (excluding mine, of course :) Every person is different so why wouldn't every marriage be??

Even though you probably think your dad and I are the funniest, most amazing, damn closest thing to perfect as possible, the truth is we’re not :) I know you’re shocked right now; it’s understandable :) My point is that neither one of us are perfect but together we work perfectly (after a few good years, of course). The advice to never go to bed mad never worked for us. When I get really, really upset it takes me about 6.75 hours to be able to let go and finally come to a point where I’m willing to reconcile. Your dad knows this . . . now. We used to “try to work it out” before we went to bed but it almost always ended up with each of us saying things we didn’t mean and the argument becoming worse than it began with.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bit ridiculous how long it takes me to let things go but it’s who I am. I’m a bit over-the-top, passionate and emotional/ sentimental; these are things you will hate and love about me as your father does but I hope you’ll find more of it to love than hate (just like your father).

Your dad finally came to understand and respect this aspect about me; although, it still annoys the hell out of him just as much as it annoys me that when a million things are going on at once (i.e. all three of you babies crying, something burning on the stove, someone knocking on the door, etc.) your dad completely stresses out to the point that I’d rather lock him in a closet and deal with everything myself then receive his “help.” We annoy each other but there’s so much more good than bad.

Respect your marriage and each other as individuals. Compromise as much as humanly possible but learn to appreciate your individualities and what makes the other person them.

In addition, to throwing out all the advice also throw out your expectations. Granted, keep all the obvious ones like being abused, infidelity, etc. Play this song often:

. . . and remember what love really means.

Nothing is ever perfect. I hope there are many moments in your life where you feel like it is but remember the only thing constant is change. Love is never perfect; it is what it is: disastrous, messy and beautiful.

Be kind. You won’t always be able to speak or act in kindness but try. Try really hard and don’t fight dirty. Another great advice about marriage that I really like is from Kevin Bacon, who has been married for over 20 years to Kyra Sedgwick, is to “keep the fights clean . . ."

Lastly, I hope each one of you finds a love that builds you up, forces you to grow, a love that remains in the face of adversity, a love that will wipe away your tears and pain and hold your hand throughout all that life has to offer. I hope so much for you each one of you but mostly, I hope you realize that this is the only kind of love worth living for and the only kind you deserve. I love you each with all of my heart.



P.s. Here are a few of my absolutely favorite things about being married to your father:

You . . .
<3 baby aiden <3
you . . .
<3 baby tristen <3
 . . . and you.
<3 baby aaliyanna <3