Okay, so I guess I’m going to be a little sappy now. Today is my husband’s birthday. Friday was our 16 year anniversary. We have just started our 20th year together as a couple.
I’ve officially been with my husband longer than I’ve been without him.
In that time, I’ve learned a few things.
1- Marriage is not easy, so those who think it’s fun and they get to “marry their best friend” are naive. The facts are, yes, you do get to marry your best friend. However, in that same marriage, you are also with your worst enemy. That sounds terrible, but I believe it to be true. Nobody can make you more upset than the people you love the most. I feel when I counsel couples they forget that part.
2- Marriage is NEVER EVER 50/50. People believe that, but they’re wrong. In fact, as of lately, Brandon has been at about a 75 and I’ve been about a 25. He’s stepped up and done more than I could ever ask of him and I’m the one lagging behind a bit. I know that will change, but this is how it is right now today. Tomorrow I may be up there and he may not be. Such is life. We need to pull our weight, but often our weight is different capacities.
3- When they say put your spouse before the children, I agree. Most people get offended when I state that I agree, but I truly do. It took each other to make the children. I will never not take care of my kids, but just as importantly, I will be supportive of my spouse. I didn’t use to believe that way, however, I’ve learned that kids will grow up and leave. They make their own lives. It’s your spouse who chooses to stay forever. If the marriage is to work, you have to be one hundred percent committed to making it work. When kids hurt you, the spouse is there to build you up. It’s so important to be united with your spouse, because after the children leave, you are all each other really have.
4- I’m a ride or die chick. I didn’t always know that, but I’ve learned it. People think I’m well put together and sane, but they are wrong if they got something to say about my guy. The truth is the same for him. No matter where either of us are, I know I got backup. There have been a few times that it has happened. You want to make me mad, talk about my husband or my kids. That’s all it takes right there. I don’t even care if it’s the truth. I’ll turn on someone quick. So will he.
5- There are no butterflies. This is a radical misconception of love. That beautiful, romantic, butterfly feeling is called anxiety. It’s not love. People feel those butterflies and think they’re in love. I hear that and chuckle. Poor soul, that goes away quick. I’m glad too. When it’s love, a different feeling comes over you. It’s called the feeling of security. Truth. Honesty. Sometimes annoyance. Regardless, love isn’t fun and flirty all the time. It’s deeper than that. More true and real and totally safe.
6- I’ve learned that you don’t change people and you have to accept them at their worst as well as at their best. My husband is amazing, but he can be harsh sometimes, he’s very real. I used to dislike that quality years ago, but now it’s my favorite part of him. You want to know what he thinks, ask him. He’s honest. He will tell you EXACTLY what he’s thinking. People think that is rude, but it’s refreshing. There’s no guessing games. You don’t want the truth, don’t ask. I have a ton of qualities he’s not very fond of either. He loves me regardless. You can’t change the person, so get to know them before you marry them. They say it takes 3 years to know someone. Use that time and know if you can accept them that way.
7- Love languages are different. I’m a words person. I want affirmation, sweet nothings, compliments, etc. My husband is an acts of service guy. He says very little, but does a lot. This can cause both of us to feel frustrated at times. I need the words, he shows action. Because of this, I don’t always see the love, and he doesn’t always feel it from me either. I can tell him until I’m blue in the face, that’s not how he feels love. Words are meaningless to him. They mean the world to me. Learn the person’s love language and dip into that sometimes. For example, today is his birthday. I’ve worked hard all day for seriously hours (12-14). I told him happy birthday. I gave him a card the other day. I would have had the card memorized and would have cried. He reads it and sets it down. I don’t think he had a clue to what it said. But I know that’s not his love language. So, after working all day, I came home and baked a cake. His favorite. The last thing I felt like doing was making cake. I can’t even eat cake. He knows this. That cake was more important for him than the words would ever be. That’s because it was a service for me to show him love. Me, the words would have been so much more. Know your partners love language and use it for them. It’s important.
8- I learned to never share my problems with other people. My kids don’t get my husband sometimes, nor do they get me. That’s okay. They don’t need to. My family may not get us nor do his. That’s okay. My friends have no idea what we’re arguing about if we ever argue. That’s good. It’s OUR marriage, not anyone elses. If I got a problem I will discuss it with him. The same is true for him. Our relationship isn’t up to other people. They don’t have to understand. I have witnessed people celebrate or gossip other people’s pain. Misery loves company. You want a healthy marriage, leave that between the two of you and God.
9- I’ve learned to become a praying person. Things don’t always make sense so I turn to God. I don’t need people’s opinions because they are jaded. God’s got my back. Besides, if something ever happened to my husband, I would need someone that powerful to turn to because my heart would have left me.
When people ask how we’ve done it, I think these are the best things I can describe. That said, 16 years together and another year older, I love my guy more and more each day and I truly thank God for him!