I was reading a blog post last week about marriage and how women around my age are (apparently) finding themselves questioning where they are in life and where they want to be and should they stay in their marriages. I have an opinion, a point of view and my own feelings about the article. In this very publicized day and age, we freely publish our opinions and say whatever we want to say. I believe the ideas have always been out there, but not quite as readily available for judgement by others. What I am currently struggling with as I venture into the “blogging world” is if I should be adding my two cents to what is swirling out here already?
Do you remember when your Mother said “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? What if we applied that to what we write and photograph and share online; it would be like all the raindrops were candy bars and milkshakes – oh what a world it would be.
In my “About Me” post, I indicated that I am a wife first and Mother second. Don’t get me wrong, I say that, but I can’t keep that order all day everyday because the kids need me more vocally than Tim does. I said I would explain what I meant by that, so rather than me offer my opinion on the aforementioned article that I read, I will explain how marriage is to me (us).
We got married in a Catholic church. Before we could do that, we attended some “classes”. We sat and listened to presentations and did some work between the two of us. We wrote letters that we sealed up and I still have (somewhere). Our group session was led by a couple who had been married for 17 years. For me, the number one thing I learned was to put each other first, husband and wife before kids. It’s a little shocking to think that way. The rationale is that you are taking care of each other and showing your children how to love. Happy wife, happy life isn’t a saying for fun. It’s true.
Lots of couples work hard at being great parents and are highly focused on their children. Wonderful. Amazing. We are too. We bend over backwards for our girls – who really don’t realize how lucky they are to have food, shelter, loving parents and stuffed animals up to the ceiling. I find the one thing we do differently, is that we make a conscious effort (not as often as we would like) to be just us. We are VERY FORTUNATE to have a large number of people who can and will take care of our children for an evening, a night or even a week! We are spoiled in that respect. It is important for us to be a couple without the girls around. We road trip together, we have dinner without the kids and we enjoy being a couple. We invest the time in adult conversation, we even make the kids wait sometimes while we finish talking to each other. As parents we try to present a united front and back each other up on decisions. If we disagree regarding something with the kids, we talk about it later. We also invest time in our individual interests. People wonder constantly why I “let” him go out and do things he wants to do. First, I don’t let him. He does not need my permission to go out, he is a grown up. Secondly, I thrive in my own space to accomplish my own list “things”. Truthfully, sometimes he is just in my way (and I mean that in the nicest way). If we continue to grow and be happy individuals, we are happier when we spend time together as a couple and as a family.
Oh we fight too. I get mad. I yell. Some moments I would just rather be alone and not have to specifically ask for help with something that is obvious to me. I am guilty of not asking for help – Tim explained to me long ago, if I need something I better ask out loud, he is not a mind reader (I am still working on asking). There have been times where we have faced difficult moments. We recognize and talk aloud about communicating and thinking differently. What we say and what the other person hears are frequently different things. Perspective and feelings influence our listening skills. It takes time to come out of the anger of an argument. It takes deep breaths and times. It takes a choice. We choose to keep the conversation going and strive to understand each other and find out why the heck did this turn into such a battle.
My thoughts are this:
I knew the moment I started talking to Tim that he was the one. That feeling was reaffirmed when we met in person (FYI, we met online over 11 years ago, when online-dating was just rolling out). I knew deep down I would marry him. I really really loved him. I actually never question if I would do it again, would I choose this marriage, this life. Our marriage is work, like any marriage, but it is work that I am happy to participate in. Everyday, an easy day or not, I choose this life and my husband.