My husband and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary tomorrow! Though, we haven’t been married long we sure have crammed a lot into these four years. Traveled a bit, job changes, became parents, bought our first house. There have been a lot of highs and definitely plenty of lows. In fact, my highest of highs and lowest of lows have been within these four years. Needless to say, we have learned quickly that no lasting marriage is made easily. I thought I’d share four of the most significant things I’ve learned in these four intense, beautiful years.
1. It’s never fifty-fifty. It’s always more like seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. And you have to let that go and let it be and enjoy your thirty percent when you get it.
2. Try something new together—regularly. This is something my husband and I have more recently discovered. We’ve been good about scheduling date nights often, especially since Eleanor was born, but it’s still so easy to get stuck in ruts. Going out to dinner for every date night and watching way too many episodes of Breaking Bad and, more recently, True Detective. There’s nothing wrong with going out to dinner, we love trying new restaurants around our incredible food-rich city. But there is something a little more thrilling about doing something completely new together—like karaoke (Alanis Morissette and Prince. Yeah, that happened) or playing a game instead of watching a movie or show, taking a dance class together, playing pool together, taking a day trip somewhere, staying the night away, even just locally (we’ll be doing that for the first time without Eleanor to celebrate our anniversary in a couple weeks!). It’s a really amazing way to keep injecting novelty into our relationship. It keeps things from getting too stale.
3. Let there be spaces in your togetherness. This has proven to be so important for our marriage. For me, as an introvert, only child, and mom, having time alone is imperative to my sanity. It recharges me in a deep way and I come back able to be a better partner and mom. My husband, though not an extrovert, is not as introverted as I am, but still needs his space. Even if it’s just going on a hike or grabbing a beer with a buddy, going for a run, or getting a cocktail or a cup of tea alone (one of my favorite things to do). We both enjoy spending time apart and then love coming back together refreshed and excited to see one another.
4. Being in love is an awesome thing, but it is not necessarily the best thing. As I mentioned above, it didn’t take us long to learn that no lasting marriage is made easily. There have been times when I’ve been so angry, hurt, depressed, tired, burnt-out, sick of the chores and mundane, that the choice to love or not has been so present and real. It’s in those moments that I’ve seen the reality of what marriage is. It has nothing to do with the feeling of being in love—as wonderful as that is. I know this is all old news. I thought I knew all this before I got married. For me, it was easy to talk about love not really being a feeling and say I believed it and knew it in pre-marital counseling. But it wasn’t until we were both going on 3 hrs of sleep due to a fussy baby, facing financial sacrifices and stresses, dealing with a disagreement that had no compromise, and getting lost in the endless dishes and laundry, that I really knew what it meant. That I really realized I couldn’t rely on a feeling to last and I couldn’t make that feeling the basis of a whole life.
What have you all of you learned about relationships over the years? I would love to hear all your sage-wisdom! And, D, thank you for being the best companion. You’re love and support are ceaseless and I couldn’t be more grateful to do this crazy marriage thing with you. xx