Married Life

Being married is just like being in any other type of cooperative relationship. There are times one or both people involved are not too happy with the current situation. But because there are goals to be met (not just financial ones), each individual agrees to work past these incidents and continue the team effort.

Okay, enough adulty, hoity-toity, therapy session talk. Lets, get down to the nitty gritty: Married life can be difficult. It can also be wonderful. Oddly enough, it can be both of these things at once. I’ve recently run into people that I haven’t seen in years. They ask how I am, how my family is doing, and if I’m enjoying married life.

That last question always confuses me.  I want to say, “Well, not always,” but I’m afraid they’ll take it the wrong way. My husband and I are what many would call “Happily Married”, but “happy” is such a relative term. We both work hard at making it work. We both appreciate what the other does. We both go out of our way to lift the other up.

On the flip side – we’re both lazy, selfish, and can be overly demanding. You know why? We’re humans. Neither one of us is a super powered spouse whose every move is perfect and doting. We all have various forms of needs, wants, and outright tantrums. It happens.

That being said, I wouldn’t give this up for anything. My husband is my best friend, my confidant, my support. He’s always there to make me laugh (especially when I don’t want to), listen to me even when what I’m talking about has no relevance nor substance, and I know that he will always be there if something should happen.

And yet, being married usually requires sharing things. We share living space and sleeping space. We share utensils, technological gadgets, vehicles, and sometimes even clothes. We share the affections of our pets, our families, and our friends. Sharing can be very good.

And sharing can be very frustrating.

“That’s not where that goes.” “That’s not how we organize that.” “That’s not how I do it.”

I have found that even in the most mundane of daily events, we have to stop and find the best way to do something for the team. Where do the kitchen utensils go and why? What is the best way to organize the filing cabinet? What kind of furniture should we get for the living room? We often spend more time than we should discussing (or compromising) the ways we do various, daily tasks.

In the past, I made decisions on my own. I might hem and haw over them, or I might make them on impulse. Either way, I was the one who made the decision and it left me feeling empowered (or regretful). Now, we both make decisions. It empowers the relationship when we work together to find the best solution. And when we make the wrong choice, we both deal with the regret together. (Or both chime in to convince one another that we did the best we could).

So if someone stops me to ask how I’m enjoying married life, I’m just going to smile and say, “Pretty good.” I know they may not understand, but that’s alright. The only other person who needs to understand, already does.

 

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Worth It

Please understand that this is not meant to be advice. I will not get on my lectern and point fingers at those people who “aren’t doing things right”. Instead, this is just something I have learned along the way that I wish to share because I feel like we are in a good place to do so.

I have only been married for going on four years. Hubby and I were friends for about three years before becoming romantically involved, dated for a laughably short time, and we lived together for a year before getting married. It has been a “never a dull moment” relationship with lots of ups, downs, loop-de-loops, and gorgeous vistas. I have been exceedingly fortunate to have someone in my life who is so dedicated to our relationship. He has fought for us even when I was ready to throw in the towel, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Hubby and I met at work, where our jobs were in different departments. We kept it a secret and maintained our professionalism so that no one at work even knew we were dating.  We never showed PDA, we used eachother’s names instead of romantic nicknames, and we maintained avenues of appropriate communication (paging for something instead of texting). No one even knew we were dating until we showed up one day – married.  Let’s talk more about that.

We were planning a Spring/Summer wedding but I became fed up with other peoples’ opinions about what I should or should not do. The scheduling was also an issue. By the time we had appeased everyone’s schedules, we would have been getting married in October or November. That was a “no” for both of us; I didn’t want to get married when it was cold outside and Hubby didn’t want to get married on Halloween – like I suggested.
Lying in bed one night, Hubby joked around (for the millionth time), that we should elope. He said that Leap Day was a couple of days away and it would be fun. I said, “Hell yes.”
Certain family members were well aware we were getting married, but none of them knew of our last minute plans to elope. My Mother-In-Law had even taken us dress shopping so I could find a nice outfit to get married in (I didn’t want an expensive dress that I was only going to wear once). No one knew at the time of this excursion that I would be wearing that dress much sooner than anticipated.
The interesting thing is that his mother worked at the County Clerk’s office, at the time. We didn’t tell a soul about our plans and she was pretty shocked when we showed up all dressed up at her office and asked for a marriage license. (She was even more shocked that we weren’t shaking. Apparently, most people have wobbly signatures from shaking so hard while signing their marriage license.)
Since we got married on our lunch break, when we got back to work all dressed up, people knew something was going on. They were floored that we had been dating and living together for so long and they didn’t even know. One coworker even rushed out to WalMart to pick up some Bridal gifts. It was a pretty neat moment.

The next few weeks the information spread around work. I was asked on an almost daily basis about it and I got to show off my ring (that I don’t wear anymore because, apparently, I’m just allergic to jewelry). I was never one to walk down traditional paths so I didn’t want the attention of an engagement or a big, fancy wedding. Still, it was kind of nice and gave me a few weeks of no bad days at work. Who could be upset when you get to flaunt your diamond ring? This quieted the naysayers who kept telling me that, “I should have had an official wedding because every Bride deserves her special day.” That shit made me cry so thanks for that people who supposedly care.

The thing is, after the novelty of all of this wore off, the real issues began to rear their ugly heads. I was distracted with working full time and going to school full time, so it took a little longer than usual. About a year after we had gotten married, I started to notice things and I reacted in a not-so-loving way. It’s a long story and I’m not getting into the particulars. What I have to say is more of a general lesson that I have learned over these short (but seemingly long) years with my husband.

I am a strong-willed and independent woman. This is one of the things that not only attracted my husband, but has also almost caused me to lose him on several occasions. Let me set something straight before I go on – Hubby is exceedingly supportive. He has not been jealous of my independent streak. He has not tried to tame it. He has not put me down for it. Rather, this quality caused some interesting reactions from me to situations beyond my control.
Being independent, I hate codependency. I don’t do things or behave in ways that will prevent people from feeling certain things. I am of the mind that we are all adults and responsible for our own feelings and behaviors. Having said this, I do not go out of my way to be callous towards others’ feelings, I simply do not tip-toe around them. In other words, I am not an enabler of negative behaviors. Hubby does this and for various reasons. Mainly, it was a coping mechanism growing up. It is ingrained in him and I have tried all these years to convince him to stop doing it. It drives me crazy! Whenever I ask him a question about his opinion, he tends to pussyfoot around the answer in the fear that it may upset me. That’s what upsets me.

Not to worry, I have my own “quirks”. My coping mechanism of super-independence has lead me to having a “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality. Why should I wait for someone to hurt me? I can just be overly paranoid about their behavior and dessert them first. Problem solved. I am not hurt and have moved on with my life. Afterall, I have conquered every other obstacle in life this way. Why should this be any different?

Oh, but it is.

This type of mentality is the actual problem. I’m not saying that Hubby was an innocent angel. He has behaved in ways that have compromised our relationship, as well. But you know what? He has been working at that and his improvements thus far are impressive.
Basically, my paranoia that Hubby will behave this way again led me to a “No man hurts me” way of thinking and this simply reinforced the already present “I’ll ditch him before he ditches me” mentality. Several months were spent where it was difficult to be in the relationship. To say we struggled is laughable. We basically clawed our way back to where we are now.

Trust is a huge thing in a relationship. Some people feel, for many different reasons, that once this is lost – the relationship is over. Hubby and I had to work hard to get trust back, from both of us. He had to learn to not cross certain lines, and I had to learn that being apart of a loving relationship did mean trying to say and do things in a less hurtful way. We both had to learn to love one another, again. We still have our bad days, but we are having more and more good days. Hubby is learning to curb his “humor” and I am learning to curb my “Fuck you” attitude.

It’s so nice to go through that initial infatuation stage, but that is not love. It is infatuation. Life will throw things at each of you and at both of you. Love is a purposeful decision to stay together even when you’re both not feeling so loving, anymore. As I said in the beginning, I am so lucky to have a person as my companion that fights so hard for both of us. Even when I’m trying to push him away, he’s trying to hug me. Whenever we fight and I “go for a walk”, he hunts me down. When I say I don’t know how much more I can take, he reminds me of how wonderful life is with him. Marriage is many things, but easy is not one of them. This isn’t a lifelong vacation. It’s a lifelong “Stay until the job gets done” kind of place.

We’ve had our ups and downs, and we will continue to have them, but neither one of us is clocking out early.

Dos Anillos

I was inspired by the Opinionated Man’s post about why he wears two rings to write about my two rings as well. 

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Sorry about the picture, the surface was super shiney so you get a look at my ceiling fan too.

On with the story!

Picture it: Christmas 2011, Family Christmas “unwrapping” event.

As is the custom, we go to my In-Laws for the annual unwrapping event.  We bring presents for them and whatever we have that is yummy and fun to share.  (We’ve been trying to talk them into just doing beer and pizza, but maybe next year.)

Then the time comes for everyone to sit around the living room, basking in the beautiful lit-up tree, and start passing out gifts.  I have to say that this is when I am most appreciably reminded about being apart of the family.  My Mother In Law works hard to ensure that “all her kids” get the same quantity and quality of gifts. It makes this time of year even more special.

I remember that we had opened our presents and were now digging into the stocking stuffers.  I was handed my stocking and began bringing out of it candies and knick knacks that are to my taste.  I love stocking stuffers because it’s a gift you get to enjoy NOW! I thought I was done with my stuffers until my MIL spoke up and said she thought there was one in the very bottom, at the toe.  “Oh goodie,” I thought as I dug my way to the toe of the stocking, “more yummy candy!”  I felt something hard and square and pulled out a ring box.  I opened it and inside was a simple silver ring with smaller crystals around the middle. I looked at my then boyfriend and he said, “I’m sorry, Babe.. it was all I could afford.” I smiled, put it on and hugged him saying, “It’s perfect, I love it.” At that moment he looked into my eyes and said, “Then you’re really going to love the real ring.” He pulled another box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him.  It was perfect.

It was no easy feat, let me tell you.  First of all, I’m allergic to all kinds of weird things: cloth that isn’t cotton, precious metals, and heavy duty pain killers.  Okay, that last one might not be weird but it’s all I could think of to make three of something.  At any rate, my then boyfriend had to search high and low for a ring that was a) pretty, b) not made of gold, and c) could withstand the torment I give to just about any object I own.  He found a steel ring with gold accents on top, where it doesn’t touch my skin.  I think it’s called Black Hills Gold.  It’s gorgeous. 

On top of this daunting task, my now Husband didn’t know my ring size!  He thought he was clever sneaking into my ring stash and taking just one out.  Little did he know that he took my favorite one!  I asked him for weeks where it was, who was in the house that might have stolen it, wondering if I had lost it at work..  I had my suspicions but they were put to rest as time went by.  They were confirmed, however, on that wonderful Christmas Day.

I usually don’t wear both rings like the Opinionated Man does, but whenever I look at the ring on my finger, I know there’s another one tucked away in my jewelry box that holds a special story and a beautiful moment.