Three Important Things I've Learned in Three Years of Marriage
Tomorrow is our anniversary! Woohoo!
D and I got married on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:30am in a beautiful A-frame chapel in Fort Worth. I wore my mother's dress from 1984 and my brother walked me down the aisle. At our reception we had coffee and bagels from Panera and everything was perfectly us. We got married after nearly three year of dating and 58-60 days of being engaged (60 days if you count both the day we got engaged and the day we got married; 58 if you count neither; and 59 if you count both as half days as we got engaged at night and married in the morning - this is the number I usually go with).
Three years has gone by fast. Like really fast. We've lived in three different apartments. I've had three different jobs. D has had... three maybe four different jobs. We've bought a car. We've shared a bank account. We've drank gallons upon gallons of coffee (mostly him). Life has been good and life has been hard.
I am by no means an expert on marriage. Three is still a rookie number. I know there is a ton of life we will still experience and challenges we have yet to meet. However, I do feel confident sharing three helpful things I have learned so far. And because I can't think of another way to introduce them, I'm just gonna go for it:
First: We are a team.
We will only be successful if we operate as such. Our marriage will never work if it's me vs. him. It is not a competition. His win is my win. His loss is my loss. Relating to that, I shouldn't speak badly of my teammate to others. You know how on sitcoms all the moms will sit around drinking wine, each claiming her husband is the biggest idiot? What's up with that? Why would you want to win that contest? Why would you want others thinking you've married an idiot? And what does that say about you and your choices? There is definitely a time, place, and person you should talk about these things with. Someone wiser that you trust. But it should be coming from a place of needing help, not a weird one-upping contest with the local winos.
Secondly: Think the best of him.
Not everything he does is a personal attack against me, even though sometimes it feels that way. When he puts the keys in the one spot I've asked him not to, or leaves a dish where I don't think it should go, he's not doing it to get under my skin. Before I react, I need to take a breath and remember it has nothing to do with me. He's come home after a long day, and his brain is on autopilot. He doesn't even know he is doing it, so how could he be doing it just to upset me? Also, earth to Kelsey, the whole world doesn't revolve around me. Not everything is about me. Or even most things! Calmeth downeth.
This also applies when he says something that feels unkind to me. I can be upset by it, but I need to remember it was probably not meant the way it sounded. I can talk with him and ask him not to say that that way next time or maybe steer away from that topic altogether. But I always need to keep in mind, he is not out to hurt or upset me. (This logic does not apply to all relationship types. I think you should always think the best of your spouse, close friends, close family members, and those with the reputation of having your best interest at heart. I do not recommend this approach with strangers, people with known history of intentional hurtfulness, or cats)
Lastly: Learn how to communicate that I need some alone time.
D is an extreme introvert. I am an extreme extrovert. Additionally, we are both pretty independent people. This usually turns out quite well for us as I have to attend a lot of activities stag due to his work schedule, and I don't usually mind too much.
However, learning how to have the 'I need some space' conversation can be kind of tricky. I don't want to offend this person that I love so much, but if I spend another second with you right now I'm going to scream! Luckily, we learned how to have this conversation early in our marriage. Like really early. As in, day three of our honeymoon.
We took a cruise for our honeymoon and it was awesome! But by day three we both realized we each needed some time apart. It felt weird, because like we were on our honeymoon and we were in love and supposed to be obsessed with each other. And while all of those things were true, it was slightly overwhelming how quickly all of our alone time vanished. During our 59 day engagement, we were understandably very busy. I would say that our engagement was probably the least amount of time we had spent with one another up until that point. So after not seeing too much of each other for two months, suddenly we were in a small cabin with just each other 24/7. Thankfully, we both felt that we needed a quick recharge. For him, it was hanging out on the balcony by himself for a couple hours. For me, it was going down to where all the retired folks were playing games and striking up a conversation with someone new. (By the way, those retirees were amazing at Trivial Pursuit)
Now we have this pretty well mastered. "Hey I'm going to be in this room for awhile, let me know if you want to do something together later." I know this sounds really lame and unromantic, but it has really worked for us!
Anyway, I hope those tips are helpful to anyone dating, engaged, married, or whatever.
Here's to like a billion more years of marriage (Or maybe like 50 or 60 - we'll take as many as we can get!)