Some Reflections on 14 Years of Marriage

  1. β€’
    Today is my 14 year wedding anniversary!
  2. β€’
    We celebrated with my husband texting me from a plane and me attending a required school meeting 🍾🍾🍾
  3. β€’
  4. β€’
    But seriously, this is totally marriage
  5. β€’
    And when I looked through my photo album today, I had to laugh
  6. β€’
    Because we really had no idea what we were getting into
  7. β€’
    Even when you think you do, you kinda don't
  8. β€’
    So here are some true thoughts
    Though every marriage is different and YMMV (of course)
  9. β€’
    The first few years of my marriage were the hardest. That's okay.
    Everyone kept talking about the honeymoon period, and here we were, arguing and screwing up and adjusting to the permanence. I looked around at times and wondered what the hell I'd done.
  10. β€’
    I put my head down and said: wake up each day and stay married.
    Being in a marriage is a choice, after all. You have to choose to stay in and do the work, get through the muck. (I hope this doesn't sound like I pass judgment on divorce. I really, really don't. In fact, I think you have to be married to have a clear understanding of how easy it is TO divorce. So no judgments.)
  11. β€’
    We got steadier and as we got steadier, we felt more assured in taking chances with non-marital things.
    I took the leap and turned to writing full-time; he quit a job that he hated. We adopted a puppy, even though my husband was really bad with change. We had enough of a foundation to endure these bumps.
  12. β€’
    Then we had kids!
  13. β€’
  14. β€’
    Kids are awesome.
  15. β€’
    And you love them more than you thought imaginable.
  16. β€’
    But they add a whole new dynamic to the marriage, and usually, when the kiddos are little, it's one that isn't always positive.
    I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had with girlfriends who feel burdened with their share of the load and who feel resentful for what they do and their husbands don't do.
  17. β€’
    We took this trip to California when they were little that we now affectionately (but accurately) refer to as "the trip that brought us to the brink of divorce"
  18. β€’
    So I learned to speak up.
    Sitting and stewing over something that my husband had or hadn't done (brushed their teeth, changed a diaper, fed them something decent) was just so futile. And unhealthy. Do I wish that his brain worked like mine and thought ahead to all the possibilities? Well, sure. But it doesn't. That sure as hell wasn't going to change, so I had to change how I dealt with it.
  19. β€’
    But the single biggest thing I did to ensure a happy marriage - 14 years later and a few rocky ones in between - was let go.
  20. β€’
    I had to let go of the notion that I was always right.
  21. β€’
    I had to let go of the notion that I could always do something better than him.
  22. β€’
    I had to let go of the notion that even if I WAS right and he couldn't see that, that for most things, it didn't matter.
  23. β€’
    I had to let go of my frustration that he doesn't see the disgusting food particles in the sink I hate that he insisted on. Or that he is incapable of loading the dishwasher correctly.
  24. β€’
    I used to take these sorts of things as personal affronts.
  25. β€’
    They aren't. They weren't. They're just...him.
  26. β€’
    And when I let go, we stopped bickering as much and we started enjoying each other like we had before we became so familiar to each other.
    Now we mostly fight in the car because he always insists he knows a better route and that I'm not driving correctly, which is, like, 😑😑😑😑.
  27. β€’
    Because, seriously, who wants to argue over stupid shit? What's the point? You're still gonna wake up married, and you may as well try to wake up happily married.
  28. β€’
    I swear, it took me about eight years to realize this: just let stuff go.
  29. β€’
    Try it. It changes everything.
  30. β€’
    This doesn't mean your are sacrificing your integrity or, like are being weak and taken advantage of
  31. β€’
    It just means that you are kinder, more forgiving, less likely to take the bait and have it spiral into something it doesn't need to be
  32. β€’
    Also, all those things that annoy you about your partner, well, that's simply who they are. Fundamentally, deep down, they aren't changing all that much.
  33. β€’
    And you married them for that, so get used to it or don't.
  34. β€’
    Here is what I know 14 years later:
  35. β€’
    Marriage is very hard. But it's also very easy, at least once you figure some stuff out.
  36. β€’
    This doesn't mean that your life or your years are easy. It simply means that you love this person, not in the way that you did when you first met and couldn't stop humping, but in a deep, profound way that is maybe even better.
  37. β€’
    Listen, I still want to kill him at least twice a week.
    But he's been working from home recently, so that's understandable.
  38. β€’
    Also, he makes me laugh so hard, mostly because he's kinda a lovable idiot (he's actually a genius but you know what I mean) that I tolerate his presence while I'm trying to work.
  39. β€’
    And last year when I broke my leg and had awful surgery and a difficult recovery and was immobile for three months, he held us all up.
  40. β€’
    And seeing that and knowing that made these 14 years seem easy, even when they weren't.
    Even with all the f-ing nasty food particles that are stuck to our stupid sink that I hate and blame him for.
  41. β€’
    But that's marriage. At least so far. We haven't gotten to the kids' teenage years.