At our house we celebrate Seis de Mayo. It’s our anniversary. Tomorrow marks the 10th year I’ve made Hubs the luckiest man on earth. Would it be too much to yell, “That’s right, bitches?!” Because that’s how I feel. I’d guess there are a few of our friends losing out on some $$ for betting on the odd against us.
I can sum up marriage in three (or four) words.
It is (expletive) hard.
There are so many reasons why it’s hard. For us, just to scratch the surface, we are really very different people. Sweet and spicy. Midwestern boy, southern girl. People person, person who mostly dislikes people. Yin yang. Also, we communicate totally different. We might as well be actually speaking different languages sometimes. I think we’re talking about the weather and he thinks we’re making plans for the weekend. So. Frustrating.
Instead, I’d like to focus on a few of the things I’ve learned in the last ten years that make (our) marriage a tiny bit easier. Or at least things that help me cope when it gets hard. Here goes.
LAUGH. Laugh. a. lot. Joke around. Watch funny movies. Play together. Make fun of yourself, or others (discreetly) if you have to. Find any reason to bring laughter into your life. It fills up a bank account that is withdrawn from doubly with anger. Stay in the black.
BE KIND. Why humans are the least kind to those they are closest to baffles me. But we all do it. I do, you do, and your seemingly perfect couple friends that share a Facebook account do too. Learn when to bite your tongue. Remember that your partner is there to take you in when you’re frustrated with life, not out to get you. You’re on the same team. Be a good teammate.
KEEP TALKING. Even if you speak almost different languages, keep talking. No problems are ever solved by not talking about them. Sometimes I shut down. I stop talking. For a while. Then LOTS of talking is required. We’ve stayed up WAY past my bedtime hashing things out, looking for a middle ground. There have been times I didn’t think we would find it, but we did. Just keep talking.
STOP saying that divorce is not an option. Hear me out. Actually, legally, divorce IS an option. Saying it’s not is like saying to a child who just talked back to you, “You CAN’T talk back to me!” Clearly, he CAN. (And he will most likely do it again.) Divorce is not preferred. The vast majority of us marry believing it will last forever. But ask any divorcee, none of us are above it. It does no service to think you’re safe.
THINK ABOUT THEIR DEATH. When I’m really mad at Hubs, I think about what I would say at his funeral. Sounds crazy. Peobably is, but it works. We don’t usually mention the bad stuff at our loved one’s funeral. We talk about all the things that made them a quality human. Thinking about what I’d say at Hubs’ funeral is my slightly morbid way of bringing me back to all the things I love about him. Which is a lot. He’s grounded, a hard worker, committed, hilarious, and darn cute. Even when he’s a jerk (we’re all jerks sometimes, by the way) I have a lot of good things to say about Hubs a long, long, long, long time from now when all my talking finally wears him out.
That’s it. Ten years and I won’t dare tell you to “date” your spouse forever and ever. That’s not my reality. Marriage is hard and no one is safe, but laugh, be nice, keep talking and think about all the lovely things.
Today, Hubs surprised me with flowers and a card (I almost threw away) that made me ball like a baby. Ten years and we’re finally getting somewhere with this language barrier thing.
Happy Seis de Mayo to my love!