Four years ago today, I officially took this sexy fella off the market!
We’ve learned a few things over the past 4 years – some things were confirmations of what we’d been told by married friends as we were starting out, some things were in direct contradiction of conventional “wisdom” and some things just surprised us.
Here are four of our biggest lessons in four years:
- The first piece of advice we got was from Ethan’s parents: “A marriage isn’t 50%-50%... it’s 100%-100%.” We’ve found this to be mostly true, if a little bit misleading at first listen. Yes, both spouses have to give 100% of themselves to making the marriage work, half effort from each is not enough. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that 100% of either spouse’s effort will look the same as the other spouse’s, or even the same from day-to-day. Which brings me to my next point…
- An equal partnership may NEVER look equal at any given snapshot in time. When we were newlywed, I required an unequal share of our combined energy and emotional resources (due to health issues and the stress of figuring out my multiple new roles). I was really stressed out about this, because I was afraid that I was already failing as a wife by not doting on Ethan as much as he was doting on me. When we moved down here, we both had a lot of adjustments to make, but Ethan’s were more and bigger than mine – he not only had to learn a new workplace and set of coworkers, but he had to get used to teaching college students instead of high school freshmen and teaching education instead of history and had to develop lesson plans from scratch on the fly. I got my chance to step up and shoulder more of the support responsibility, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that as long as we’re both honest with ourselves and each other about what we need, it will eventually all work out to be equal :-) Things have balanced out, skewed my way again, skewed his way again… but we’re both thankful that we’ve been able to support each other during our periods of disproportionate need.
- You know how you’ve been told that marriage and relationships are hard work? If that’s true, the work is so much fun, I haven’t noticed. Because, really, when you’re working with your best friend in the whole world… there’s no such thing as work. I’m not saying that if your marriage has been a lot of work, it can’t be right… but if your marriage has seemed pretty easy, it might not be wrong. :-)
- You’ve heard that fights happen? In our experience, they happen once every three and a half years or so. Communication is the key to “fighting” well… but if you practice it all the time, I believe it can prevent major disagreements altogether. The one big disagreement we had came after a couple of weeks where we were both super-overwhelmed and lazy about communicating, and we learned the lesson that the previous three and a half fight-free years weren’t an accident, they were the product of our being diligent about checking in on each other’s feelings and responding honestly regarding our own.
I am so blessed and lucky to get to be the best friend and partner of this sweet, handsome, brilliant and passionate man who... for some strange reason... seems to like me, too!!!!
(And, thanks for four years of making me feel safe, loved and treasured, Darling.)