They say to write about what you know. I know my husband. I know my kids and I know how to cook. I know the basics of training a dog and I know how to treat a bee sting.
Are you inspired yet?
I’m 35. In just about two weeks I will have been married 15 years. More than half of that blissfully and before that? Determinedly and hopefully if not all that enjoyably. Bitterness sucks, you know?
So what makes our marriage work? We talk a lot. I flirt with him shamelessly and often pinch him. He loves the first part and I don’t think he minds the second. I don’t compare him to other men. He is who he is and I am blessed beyond comprehension that this separate sentient being has CHOSEN to spend every day, for the last 15 years, working to insure I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear and Diet Pepsi. I strive to remember this on the days when his very presence and every word grates on my nerves and I want to give him a reverse mohawk cut simply for breathing the same air as me.
I tell him I love him several times a day and, often even more importantly? I tell him I like him. We are commanded to love. Like is an impulse, a compulsion. And it’s powerful. Try it out sometime on someone. Like implies you enjoy being around them. Even when you have to. Especially when you don’t.
I realize I’m not always right and often warn him when I am feeling edgy and a bit out of sorts. When the house is beyond messy, I will turn into a shrew. This is not his fault and something I strive to control in my own reaction. When I fail, and I do often, I apologize. Without excuses or turning it into his fault. You know what I’m talking about.
I know the difference between a suggestion and a command. I expect him to make his own decisions and am thankful he likes to seek my counsel and ask my advice or opinion. Yet, I still expect him to have the final say and do what is right according to his own conscience regardless of my input. Even if it turns out badly. That’s an issue between himself and G-d. Like he’s the only one in the house who ever does something stupid. I don’t make ultimatums. He’s an intelligent adult. He gets cause and effect.
And some how we both deal.
We sometimes let the boys see us disagree, that’s just life. However, we ALWAYS make sure they see us reconcile and make up. That’s important.
We hold hands. In public. In the car. I prefer him to the company of my girlfriends and the outside distractions. He knows it.
I don’t talk badly about him to anyone. If I mention a situation he may be struggling with I will counter it with a triumph or success he has achieved. I don’t mock him in public or belittle his efforts.
I try to serve him first. Even when there is company.
And he’s my biggest fan. The “you can do it” behind whatever it is I’m trying to do. He’s the one who sneaks me away for coffee dates in the middle of the afternoon and brings me home art glass baubles and gorgeous tulips. He’s the one who tells me “no” when he knows I can’t say it for myself. He even listens to poetry and attempts to enjoy it. That’s how much he loves me. I know I can trust him to not share too much or reveal my weaknesses to anyone. Even as a prayer request.
We pray together. He reads me the news and the Word.
And we talk. A lot.
We’ve been married almost 15 years and for 14 of those years we’ve worked together as self-employed persons. We share the house, the responsibilities, the frustrations and the struggles. We rarely spend any time apart. Not because we have to but truly because we want to.
I’m the first call he makes when he has good news. Or bad. He’s the first call I make… For almost anything.
My younger son asked me a question the other day, “If Daddy is #2 on speed-dial who is #1? God?”
Apparently I had my priorities in order that day!
Are we perfect? No! We argue like crazy people on bad days. I even, gasp, go to bed angry sometimes and DON’T reconcile in the morning. Sometimes we bring up old nastiness in arguments and say mean stuff. Sometimes I say “I told you so!” and snark at him…
But we always make it right. And as time goes by we make up quicker and argue less.
So that’s what I know about marriage. Love takes time. People get so impatient and think they can grow a sequoia in tumbleweed time. Compared to this love? I married a stranger I barely liked.
If you are struggling but committed? Take the time. Make the effort. Don’t underestimate the value of this person who voluntarily shares every intimate detail of your life. Humble yourself. None of us are the prize of the week all the time.
And remember what it is to be loved.
Then give it.