I have been married for a long time (eighteen years to be exact). Sometimes it seems like we’ve only just started our lives together and sometimes it seems like we’ve been together for centuries. And in Hollywood years, we probably have been!!
The months of April through July seem to be rife with romance. And just judging from the people I know, late spring and early summer are VERY popular months for marriage.
So in the spirit of that great institution, I decided to share a few things that I’ve learned about marriage along the way:
1. It’s not easy. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s a complete and utter test of your will.
2. You have to work at it. Sometimes it’s not hard work, but it’s not that “sunshine and roses” things that the greeting card companies and romance novels convinced us it was!
3. Sometimes you get mad at one another. Anytime you have another person living with you, there are going to be the occasional (and sometimes not so occasional) conflicts. However, playing the blame game never really helps. Learn how to resolve things in a healthy way.
4. The Golden Rule applies. Seriously…this counts for everything and everyone. Basically, don’t be mean to each other.
5. If your spouse is your only friend, you will get lonely. Also, clingy people are annoying. I’m living proof of this. I’ve isolated myself from being social more than once. I got super lonely and bored with the stuff my husband likes to do. Keep up your friendships. They make a difference!
6. Be honest. Not in a mean way either. If you feel like you have to criticize, try to find a more constructive way to do it. But if you have feelings that you need to share, don’t be afraid to just do it.
7. Sometimes you have to admit that you are wrong. Sometimes you will both have to admit it.
8. Say I Love You and mean it. Say it a LOT.
9. You have to share. Although I have told him often that “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine,” I’m really just teasing. It’s all ours. But if I have a little chocolate put back and he doesn’t notice it, that’s not my fault.
10. Not everyone does things your way. No complaining if you ask someone to do something and they don’t automatically do it the way you want. If you want it done your way, you’ll have to give them specifics and make sure they follow your directions. Or probably do it yourself.
11. Your way is not always the right way. Your spouse’s way is not always the right way either. Realize that you are individual people with individual thoughts and ideas. Also, realize that sometimes you have to work together and *gasp* compromise.
12. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. Everything is not a fight. Everything is not a life or death situation. Learn to have fun. Be silly. Let stuff go.
13. It won’t always be romantic. Bills are not romantic. Sick kids and poopy diapers and forgetting to take the garbage out are not romantic. Sometimes it’s just not and that’s okay.
14. Some days you will want to run away. Nobody will think any less of you for thinking it, because most of us have been there. Some days life is just hard and you question every decision you’ve ever made. Learn to deal with those feelings as they come. And if you decide to run away, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You can’t run from yourself.
15. Some days you will feel incredibly blessed. Some days the sun will shine and rainbows will surround you and the angels will sing Hallelujah every time you take a step. Learn to cherish those days and store those feelings for when life ain’t so grand!
16. Everyone wants to feel needed. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Everyone wants to feel loved. Some days you have to give more than you get.
17. If you aren’t happy within yourself, no other human being can make you that way. While there are things other people can do to make us feel better, blaming them for every little misery is a bad habit to get into. Find happiness inside of yourself and don’t let anyone steal it.
18. Fear, anger, and jealousy are inevitable sometimes. They are also joy-suckers. Resolve to get past them or let them go!
19. Don’t bottle your feelings up. It just leads to anger and bitterness. Nobody needs to be angry and bitter. Also, this isn’t permission to yell and throw fits. Let your feelings be known, but do it in a mature way that will help you find a solution.
20. Love goes a long way.
So, those are just a few of the things I have learned–some very quickly and others after many, many years! And some, I regret not learning sooner. Marriage is definitely not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes it’s just plain difficult!!! But if you love the person you are with and you are both committed to making it work, it’s so very worth it. : )