Friday, June 12, 2015

Eleven

Good golly, Miss Molly. Matt and I will officially be married eleven years shortly before 3 p.m. today. Which, is kind of weird. Sometimes it feels like we've been married forever and other times, I think eleven years is just a drop in the bucket. It's nothing, really.

In hindsight, we were literally babies when we got married. I was 22 and Matt was almost 24 on our wedding day. We thought we knew it all. We had our own apartment, we had our college degrees, we had great jobs. We knew we were going to have kids right away and buy a house. We were going to do everything you do after you get married. Because that's just what you do. You grow up, get married, buy a house, have kids. It's practically a guideline for adulthood.

Except we were in no shape ready to do any of those things. We scoffed when people said we should do pre-marital counseling. We had a GREAT relationship, we never fought, we were madly in love. It wasn't like we had issues. Now we know better and ended up doing pre-marital counseling when we were married for three years and in a marital crisis because, SURPRISE, problems will happen. Your spouse will disappoint you, you might even get hurt along the way, and you'll want to throw in the towel. Because what nobody ever tells you about marriage is that it is the hardest relationship to sustain.
Of all of the people we knew getting married around the same time, it's us and one other couple who are still married. Everyone else is long since divorced and have not one nice thing to say about each other. Matt and I came damn close in 2007 and honestly, the only thing that held us together was me learning I was pregnant with Jackson. I think if he hadn't been on his way, we would have gotten divorced and that would have been that. I like to think maybe that's why Jackson is so sweet, he had a bigger job in life and he didn't even know it.

But in eleven years, Matt and I have learned the following things through trial and error, and more counseling than we'd like to admit:

  • In our own way, we are difficult to live with. 
  • I have a tendency to be awful. Sometimes my sarcasm and joking around isn't well received by Matt, though it's never my intention to hurt his feelings. I hate to say it, but sometimes we're like Jon & Kate Gosselin. Truly. People rip that couple to shreds, but I'm very much Kate- organized, controlling, bossy, demanding and Matt is very much like Jon- everything could be going to absolute shit and not a single crap is given. Which sends me over the edge because I don't always do well in chaos. 
  • His indifference to life makes it hard for me to enjoy myself sometimes. 
  • We aren't always a good team together. We are a couple that would only make it onto shows like The Amazing Race just because we would bring the drama factor, not because we had any chance at all at winning. 
  • Sometimes I have to be submissive to Matt. Which was the HARDEST pill to swallow in counseling. It goes against everything in my body, everything I was raised to be. I was raised to be independent, to not depend on a man for anything. Which, to some extent, is still very much me. But on the other hand, I've come to recognize that Matt does so much better as a husband and father if I defer to him, even on dumb things. I have learned to include him on every decision, and I consult with him before I do things. Even if I know I'm 100% right (because I am, let's be real), giving him that input makes all the difference. And coincidentally, takes a load off my shoulders at the same time. Bonus. 
  • I still struggle with trusting him, though it's been years since he's given me reason to not trust him. They same time heals all wounds but I can say with all honesty, I'm still waiting. But I've also come to realize that maybe it's OK for some wounds to still be there. 
  • But the most important thing I have learned is that nobody else is responsible for my happiness. At my lowest low in our marriage came the understanding that if I wasn't happy, I had to do something about it. And I started doing things for myself. Taking better care of myself, bonding with my children, re-establishing my friendships I had let go to the wayside in lieu of making my marriage work, and working on my own self esteem. I consider myself a happy person, but not because of Matt. Matt is just one happy and good thing in my life, among so many. There is no thing as a knight in shining armor. No guy is going to come around and change your life and make it all rainbows. You have to do that for yourself, and if you're lucky, you'll have someone you call a partner in life that gets to see you at your best. 
  • And on the other side of the coin, no person is responsible for your unhappiness. It's not your husband, or your wife's, fault that you hate your life. That you aren't as happy as you know you could be. You're unhappy because you choose to be. You're relying on someone else to carry your emotional weight in this world and that's nobody's job but yours. Own it. 
  • It helps to be absolutely stubborn and refuse to quit. There will always be times where you think you've had enough and maybe the grass actually is greener out there. And it might be. It absolutely could be better with someone else. But then we remember the vows we said, for better or worse, good times and bad, sickness and health, for richer or poorer.... and then realize we're in it for the long haul. And we're only human. We make mistakes. It's a life long learning process and I know he'll be there to help me along when I need it, just as I'm there to help him along when he needs it.
Love you, babe. Maybe someday we'll get to vacation without the kids again. xoxo

6 comments:

Shann Eva said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! I am right there with you, though. Marriage is HARD! I love how you say you are the only one responsible for your happiness and unhappiness. It took me a while to figure that one out.

cpr040304 said...

Congratulations to you both! I've been married eleven years too. It totally is hard, but so worth it. I love my husband and he loves me. We trust each other and without trust it would be very difficult to be this happy together. I really enjoyed reading your post you were very honest and I wish you and your hubby many, many more years together. :)

Erin Hesselink said...

That Amazing Race line killed me! Haha I'm sure my boyfriend and I would be just as dramatic on that show... it sets up the drama for you! Happy Anniversary!

Dina Farmer said...

Well first of all congrats! Marriage is so hard~ My husband and I have been together for 9 years and married for 8. I get it. You have to be equal in a marriage and work together in a marriage. There is no in-between. But if you love each other and are willing to work at it then you'll have the best marriage. I've learned when it is time to be quiet and let my husband have his peace. I've learned that to bong as a couple we have to communicate and also it helps that we share a lot of things in common.

Fox Emm said...

This post is very sweet! I think the important thing to remember when trying to maintain any relationship is that it isn't always going to be easy. Thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt, honest post. It's really inspiring for those of us who are still just babies (25, unmarried) but who might be just one of these days ;)

thotlady said...

All I can add is "Marriage is tough".