My husband and I have been married for 14 years this year and we’ve been in a committed relationship with each other for a total of 16 years. We’ve weathered a number of storms. We’ve shared some amazing high’s and some crushing lows. But somehow through it all, we’ve managed to stay together, even during the times when we didn’t exactly like each other.
After a massive barney with each other last weekend, I really spent a lot of time thinking about what I think makes our marriage successful to this point.
So without further adieu:
No Happily Ever After’s
Get that fairy tale right out of your head. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t exist and from my own experience, I’ve learned that as soon as I thought I was finally living my happily ever after, life would rip the proverbial rug out from under us. It’s usually in the midst of “in sickness & in health, for richer or for poorer” … that the the realization will dawn that there really is no such thing as happily ever after. I’d like to read the sequels to Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty & The Best & Rapunzel to see how happily ever after worked out for them. Or if they also landed up wanting to punch their prince charming in the pants from time to time.
Marriage Counseling Works
It saved us. It worked for us, it could work for you too. And ironically, marriage counseling saved my marriage at a time when I really did think I was living my happily ever after. We’d just had a child after more than 7 years of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, we were living our dream but were so disconnected, bitter, hurt and angry with each other after 7 years of struggle and heartache that I’m not sure anything, aside from counseling could have brought us back together.
And marriage counseling is hard work you guys. You have to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better. You have to be prepared to leave the counselors office and be so mad at each other you can’t be in the same room and you don’t speak to each other for days after a session.
Counseling stripped away the baggage and hurt and resentment that had built up over 7 years and gave us a clean slate to start again. But it was hard. So very very hard.
Friendship is Everything
I believe the foundation of any relationship staying in, working for and being committed to, has got to be friendship first. Passion burns bright but it can and so often does dim in time, and if you don’t have love and friendship first, you’ll have nothing worth fighting for when times get tough. And they will get tough. Because happy marriages are made up of ebbs and flows, of good times and bad times.
Fighting is Not The End Of The World
I actually think fighting is healthy. Walter and I don’t fight often but when we do, we make the most of it. It’s an opportunity to relieve frustration and of course, when you have two individuals, with different thought processes and personalities, there’s bound to be frustration from time to time. How you deal with it is what counts.
I also think that it’s important that my daughters know sometimes Mommy and Daddy get angry with each other but that they work things out, they love each other and they stay together. I don’t want to raise my girls with unrealistic expectations of what an adult relationship is. Obviously we don’t scream at each other in front of the kids but they will know when something is wrong, and if they ask, we will explain to them that Mom or Dad is angry but that it’s ok, people get angry with each other, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
Sometimes Commitment Is All That Will Keep You Going
In those moments when you’d like to bash his face in, or when you look at your partner during a trying time in your relationship and wonder what the hell you’re doing? Commitment is what keeps you going. Honoring your vows and working to find a solution, working to find your way back to each other.
What are the things you know for sure about marriage?