Sunday, February 7, 2016

Marriage Is a Movement… 19 things…lessons I’ve learned over my 19 years of marriage

I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
~Rita Rudner

In exactly a week, The Hubby and I will reach 19 years of marriage. What a celebration! I can't sometimes help but to think for us 19 years=21 years for the 2 years we lived together before tying the knot. I’ve forgone the prior 4 years of dating but the 2 years we lived together do count when looking at our relation’s journey. After all, strides and setbacks don’t start when you say ‘I Do”. I've also always said that I’m an advocate of living together before getting married, because if you don’t, the things you are going to find out after the he “cantdonothingwrongyears” will make you feel like you married the devil’s brother or got tricked into a bad joke!  IJS…
I’ve also stated before (and today it still stands true) how amazed I am of how long we’ve been together and what we've accomplished… Not a day is taken for granted. I mean, it took and still takes lots of patience, sprinkled with God’s grace to deal with my husband’s habits (and peculiar behavior at times), especially since the dust of lust has settled, the honeymoon years are WAY back there in our past, and cupid has taken back his arrow to find brand new lovers.
4 years ago in one of my post I said “No one will ever hear me brag about having the perfect marriage, the perfect man or that I’m the perfect wife. You will hear me brag about the fact that I have learned, worked and grown within our relationship and we are where we are because we’ve committed to making it work. Really, I look over my shoulder and re-live our history and I’m amazed by the good, the bad, the irreplaceable, the joyous, the sad, the scary, the milestones, the accomplishments, the deceptions, the rewards, the losses and the blessings we’ve accumulated over the years.”*I've Been Wowed...

And today our relation still stands true to that statement. Our 19 year journey has been the most humbling, selfless experience and one of the greatest sources of lessons learned in my life. Irreplaceable lessons which again were/are generated from joys, pains, sacrifices, blessings and pleasures.

As I reflect on our years together and the learning experience it has been, I decided to tackle, for the 2nd time, the hard task of narrowing down and picking 19 of those lessons which sticks out the most for me

So here it goes…. (In no particular order)

1.      Brace yourself this ride is NOT for wussies and quitters… There should never be an instance or time where you are left alone to navigate through this journey. For better or worse is what you sign up for and it is what you will go through ...together! BUT remember (if/before/when you ever feel like throwing the towel) getting through the "worse" will make your "better" the sweetest victory. We say for richer and poorer, through good times and bad times but should we also say through growth and changes? And welcome the hard learned, earned lessons and the sweetest, tender, gentle moments…

2.      This may come as a shock to many but NO one is perfect… Don’t elevate your spouse to a pedestal. Although they will try to live up to it, you will be the one on the disappointing end when they fail. Be realistic with your expectations. We are just human with shortfalls, flaws and we all make mistakes. I've learned one thing which is that I am part of a common pool. I am a mortal not absolute to faults. I had to learn to swallow my pride and admit my wrongs if I expected The Hubby to do the same.

3.      Be open-minded, it’s so much more than now… Any giving day you should be ready to wake up, deal with and learn something new about your partner. You started your relationship loving all the same things (or being so smitten that you were okay pretending you loved the same things). Then it was pretty clear who was the dominant person in your relation. Going through a marriage is like starting a new job and having to “learn on the job.” You are thrown in it with a bunch of ideology but until you are in it you don’t really know what the future holds. Be open-minded, don’t get overwhelmed by the changes, tomorrow can only unveil an even more evolved couple, if you are in it to succeed. It is safe to say that we have learned so much from each other, our differences allowed us to balance, set the scales to our advantage.  “A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences” ~Dave Meurer  

4.      I will never say this enough… PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY!!! The difference between Love and War is that in Love you have to fight fair… You will disagree, you will fight, you will feel like grabbing a pot of boiling hot water and turn it upside down above their head so it could clean out all differing thoughts from their brain BUT can you imagine if you had to do that every time???... Save that energy… those socks thrown on the floor as if they are invisible are not worth your time and energy. So indeed…Pick wisely because disagreements WILL happen.” The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership.” ~Dr. Phil

5.      You alone must make you happy… If you're not happy with yourself, you'll never be happy in any situation. It starts with you and really ends there too… You really can't rely on someone else to make you happy; a wakeup call from making that mistake will be the hardest reality check of them all. Ultimately you want to find a partner that would fit into your life goals and that… THAT would be the crowning achievement in your relationship. That would be the best reward.

6.      Enjoy the moments… Responsibilities will start increasing, goals will get bigger, and stress will take over but remember how, why and where you started and how happy you were. Press “pause” and create peaceful moments, enjoy the little things that mean the most. You don’t want to achieve your goals and let go of everything that matters along the way

7.      Protect your relationship… Do whatever it takes. Make that your commitment, not just to your partner but to your relationship. No one can or should do the work for you. Privacy goes a long way: All intention and attention might be good but not needed.  Before you get to the point where you thing you need someone else to intervenes, someone like a family member, a good friend, a man of God or even a counselor make sure together you’ve done the work. There is no one other than the both of you that should know and understand the other and why you are at the place you now stand. Make your home a shelter, your solution ground, the place where all is transparent, genuine. There is no room for ego tripping in your “Storm Shelter”. Be each other number 1 cheerleader; don’t let anyone else stroke their ego more than you; validation that matters and has any substance needs to come from you!

8.      The company you keep… Don’t let negativity into your circle. While meeting new people, establishing new relation and navigating through existing ones, remember the simple goal is to find and associate yourself with people so good that friendship and family becomes a blur…

9.      Kids are a game changer in any relations… Be on a winning side! All I am saying is “don’t fall asleep on them rascals” because next thing you know they have taken over! Don’t get me wrong, I love my babies more than anything on this earth. That being said, nothing has ever been the same in our marriage after baby #1 came along. Discuss any issues that arise when they arise. Remember it’s the 2 of you on them and no other way. You're dog-tired and being pulled so many different ways, your focus starts to switch slowly but surely and all of a sudden that balance (between the attention your hubby needs and what the kids need) you promised yourself to always maintain has completely leaned over toward the kids. Having kids will put your marriage through a rollercoaster. It's the toughest but most rewarding responsibilities I've taken upon and to do it with him is definitely icing on my cake so make sure that scale always rests heavier on the winning side…Your Partner!

10.  Arguing without a point is…pointless! Learn to let go. Sometimes talking things thru is not the thing to do. Remember there is always that other solution which is “We will agree to disagree”…

11.  Make It (SEX) a Priority… I really shouldn’t have to elaborate on this because in my book SEX is the most important component in a happy relation. With that being said… J It is one of my struggles as far as maintaining it readily available for the hubby. There are so many times where it’s plainly the last thing I'd be interested in as I go back to all of the reasons why I am exhausted, busy and a list of excuses we come up with... but connecting on that level is essential to everything else. He is good at reminding me and I enjoy being reminded…

12.  Best Friend and confident… Marriage is knowing someone has your back. Always. And you have theirs. It's about interdependence. Marriage is thinking about the other one not being there anymore and not being able to grasp the thought. I love that sense of security I have knowing that I share my nights and days with my bestest friend and the confident of my deeeeepest fears and joys. You don’t need to do everything together, be each other’s official or unofficial best friend; but while cultivating your own friendship, make sure you know each other friends.

13.  Grudges are a waste of time… Be ready for the necessary struggles and fights, but move on quickly from them. Learning and moving on will make you a better person, a better partner… Life is too short for you to hold on to that minute moment and let it affect the life you want to build. There is too much energy wasted in holding on to rancor, and believe me this, You (the one holding the grudge) will be left alone in that misery state because they (the one you hold the grudge against) will happily move on to better things… Don’t sabotage your happiness.

14.  Commitment… My Saving Grace… It is one of the most important components in a marriage. There will be days where doubts, aggravations, upsets, and life itself will make you question the value of your relationship. However your pledge to commit will make you stop from running off, it will make you add an additional 50% when you are already putting in 100%... Commitment will turn your relationship into a marriage...

15.  Communication… The Answer… But above all, I would say the aptitude to have an honest, open communication (which at times can be very difficult) is the pinnacle to reach when wanting your marriage to last. All that is relevant will organically generate from communication. Commitment, trust, partnership, togetherness, and love wouldn’t survive without communication…

16.  Laugh… The hubby and I get into this endless hysterical laughs, he comes up with the craziest jokes and stories and most of the time, and it’s just about us and our silliness. This lightens up our days and nights; nothing beats a good laugh…

17.  Want to be in it…! There is no magic wand to make your marriage work, you have to want it. As I said several times, love is not the end-all or be-all to a marriage. It’s a must-have ingredient that needs to be cultivated, but much more is needed to make the relationship lasting. Fairy tales of happily-ever-after don’t exist; life tales of making-it-ever-after do. Thinking your marriage is going to be a lasting success just because you’re in love is a BIG mistake. Tina Turner said it best “What’s love got to do with it?”

18.  Compromise… is that nasty prescription pill you have to take to make things better. Know that you are equal partners but also know when to take a step back and let the other shine; every situation requires a leader but to accomplish and solve those situations you need to work as a team.

19.  The word…after it’s said…  Words once spoken cannot be unspoken or erased; they can never be taken back. One may attempt to take them back but the damage is already done. Hurtful words not only sting deep, but also leave lasting scars, so make sure you own everything that comes out of your mouth. After all is said and done, there’s really no recovering from it!
“At times, we forget the weight that words carry and how irreversible (good or bad) and lasting the aftermath can be. You can always sincerely seek forgiveness and forgiveness may be granted but remember that forgetting is a totally different beast to tame”*Looking Back

20.  Bonus… R.E.S.P.E.C.T… Do I need to elaborate on this? Naaaaa…


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