“My wife, Mary, and I have been married for forty-seven years, and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never.” -Jack Benny
“To keep your marriage brimming; With love in the loving cup… Whenever you’re wrong admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.” -Ogden Nash
“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Robert Quillen
“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day. ” -Andre Maurois
As a mother of two boys, I wonder what it would be like to have a girl. We plan on one more child, so the possibility of having a girl still rolls around in my head. I worry sometimes about the future of my children when I think about marriage, my marriage in particular and marriage in general. I find myself wondering if we are giving our children the wrong impression of marriage. I think the problem is real for both boys and girls, but I think it’s more prevalent for girls because of the fairy tale books and movies that girls tend to gravitate to. I remember when I first started dating, I had this idea of a fairy tale life with my future husband. I remember dreaming about my wedding day, but I never really stopped to think about after the wedding. Love conquers all? Right? Boy and Girl met, fell in love, got married, and it was happy ever after from there, right? Isn’t that how most fairy tales end?
Now that I am older, I realize that the wedding (big or small) is only an event. The wedding has nothing to do with what happens next. There is no correlation between the size of your wedding and the marriage. I think so many couples spend so much time preparing for the wedding and not near enough time preparing for the marriage. The reality of marriage hits some couples very hard after the “honeymoon” phase is over. I entered my marriage a little differently than most. This is my second marriage so I wasn’t blinded by how hard it can be. I didn’t have children in my first marriage so that was new for me. I will be the first to admit that our relationship was easier before kids. That is not to say that I regret having our boys. I don’t regret having our babies, but kids can really put a strain on even the most healthy relationships. We only have 24 hours in the day and once you add in work, errands, taking care of the boys, etc….you are left with very little time for being a couple. You have to make time for each other. I am not saying this is easy. In fact, I will be honest with you, my husband and I struggle with this daily. We are both so tired by the time the last “good night. Sweet dreams,” is uttered. It is easy to fall into the trap of just picking up our phone or clicking on the TV without checking in with our spouse and really connecting for a few minutes. Sometimes we bring our frustrations from the day into our relationship and take those frustrations out on our spouse and they aren’t even the ones we are truly mad at.
I have learned that it isn’t always the big things that matter most. Little things that I took for granted when we were dating are now huge things for me. When we were dating, I got used to romantic emails, texts, and phone calls. Those types of things were so small to me then. Now a text message or email that doesn’t involve our day-to-day life is like he surprised me with a new car! And this is not a bash on him, I have gotten into the rut of just doing “business” with my husband and forgetting that we are more than just business partners. It is a choice we have to make every day.
Days exist where I might not really like my husband very much and I am not so high on myself to believe that he doesn’t feel like that about me too. I know that I can really irritate him. In fact, I have gotten really good at it! But I choose to stay. I choose to not give up. I choose to hold on because it does get better. I might not like him very much, but then he does something and it might be the tiniest of things and BOOM I remember exactly why I fell in love with him. For example, just yesterday I woke up to find that he had set up on Alexa to remind me two times during the day that he loves me. That made my day. It could be a smile or a look and I see the man who I fell in love with almost seven years ago. It could be when he helps me in the truck door, buckles my seat belt for me, and steals a kiss. It doesn’t matter how mad I am these little things melt my heart.
So make the choice. Choose to send little texts or emails that aren’t just about “business.” Choose to turn the TV off and really look into each other’s eyes for a few minutes. Choose to reach out and touch him in the hallway instead of just passing each other by. Choose to pick up his favorite chocolates from the store. Choose to take him a drink at work when it is 100 degrees outside. Choose to tell him thank you. Choose to give 100% even if you don’t FEEL it because chances are your mood will change and the butterflies will return. I choose to believe that the moments of feeling in love, feeling the butterflies, looking at the life we have built together, and watching the boys we made together grow into amazing little men is worth the days that I might not like him very much. Let me also state, that it does take two for a marriage to work. Choose to put in some effort and maybe your spouse will return the favor. Marriage is not easy. It’s not a fairy tale. Marriage is a daily choice.