Saturday, May 28, 2016

Love and Marriage

This is the latest picture of me & my husband.

Ain't he cute?! I still think he's the cutest guy I've ever met.

People ask me for marriage advice all the time. I'm not really sure why… Perhaps because I got married at 19 and I'm still married. So in our circle, we're the old married couple {AT 29 AND 33--SAY WHAT?!} So I guess when we're 90 and 94 we'll be the fossils of wedlock. The ancient wedded relics of a time before smartphones. Whatev. 

A quick disclaimer if you're expecting a perfect Disney fairy tale here: you won't get one. When I started this blog, I promised myself I would be nothing but real because I believe there is power in truth. So here's the truth: some days you'll be thankful to be married, and some days marriage is freakin' hard. Today my marriage was freakin' hard. 

I HATE being surprised. I hate surprise birthday parties. I hate surprise Christmas presents. I hate when someone jumps out behind a corner and yells "BOO!" I hate surprise visits. I like to emotionally prepare for something before it happens. There's a story attached to why, but I won't bore you with that today. It's something I'm trying to overcome, but I am definitely the Grinch that stole surprises. I buy my own birthday gifts so I won't be surprised. My husband and I have had multiple fights over the fact that he would like to surprise me with something, but I would just hate it. I know… It's weird and lot of women wish their husband would want to put thought into a gift. Sorry if that's you saying that you're jealous! I totally get it. It's stupid.

My 30th birthday is less than 3 weeks away, and all I wanted was tickets to see a comedian I have wanted to see for a while. I wanted a night of laughter with my husband. That's it. Simple, easy, piece of cake. I told my husband that was all I wanted, and the tickets weren't expensive, so he said "let's go!" I wanted to let him buy them because he's been wanting a chance to buy my gift, remember? I told him when they went on sale, I sent him the link, and explained they would sell out quickly. AND THEN HE FORGOT. AND THEY SOLD OUT. 

Now, this may seem like a stupid thing to get upset over, but for a control freak like me, to let go and trust someone--ANYONE--to handle ANYTHING for me is about the hardest thing imaginable. The only thing harder is to ask for a want or need. I was raised to feel guilty about wanting or needing anything. Asking for something I want, even something small, still makes me feel like a spoiled brat. 

I'll be honest here: I was very hurt by him forgetting to buy the tickets. I always make sure he gets exactly what he wants including an expensive pair of concert tickets for his favorite rock band later this summer. His tickets cost FIVE TIMES what my little dinky comedy tickets cost, and they were not even for a birthday or a special occasion. I just knew it was something he'd always wanted, and I made sure he got them. But I won't be getting the only thing I wanted for my birthday this year.

Anyway, let's just say he acted like forgetting getting the tickets wasn't a big deal and we'd figure out a backup plan. I was so sad to be missing out on the only thing I wanted, but now I was ANGRY that he treated it like it wasn't a big deal. He didn't apologize, and I was livid. Hot tears came down my face as I said shrieked "I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR "JUST BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" CONCERT TICKETS!" 

YOWZA. The Messy Mrs just turned into The Maddened Mrs, and it's not the first time or even the worst time. We've fought over things a lot dumber than this, too. But here's the thing, this is just an inside window into what Disney doesn't tell you. 

Disney tells you love & marriage works like this:
  1. Find THE ONLY ONE DESTINED FOR YOU. Your prince charming.
  2. Have all the lovey dovey feely feelz. 
  3. Accept the proposal.
  4. Have a perfect wedding. POOF! You finished the race, princess! You're a queen now! TADA! 
  5. All done. Happily ever after. Roll credits.

Love & marriage ACTUALLY works like this:
  1. Meet someone flawed, but special.
  2. Have all the lovey dovey feely feelz.
  3. Accept the proposal.
  4. Have a wedding… Freak out over stupid details of a one-day event. It wasn't perfect, but you made it to the START OF THE RACE. 
  5. ISH. GETS. REAL. Budgeting & house hunting & shared closet space & cranky kids & differing parenting styles & in-law drama & IKEA furniture assembly happens. Find inner demons you never knew you even had. Get buttons pushed you didn't even know were there. Find out that your spouse wasn't who you thought they were. Find out you aren't the spouse you hoped you'd be. Sometimes all hell breaks loose, and rather than breaking up/going to a bar with friends {like you did with old boyfriends}, you'll end up wandering the aisles of Costco alone. 
  6. Hurt each other. A LOT. Hurt each other deeply. Bring out the worst in each other. Wonder where all the lovey dovey feely feelz went--maybe you fell out of love?
  7. Hang tight because you don't want your kids to grow up in a broken home and divorce attorneys cost A WHOLE FREAKING LOT. 
  8. Wait it out. Watch him sled down the big hill with your kid and feel the lovey dovey feely feelz again.
  9. Be grateful that you couldn't afford divorce a few years ago.
  10. Realize that you didn't fall out of love, you found unconditional love. Love isn't the happy, easy feely feelz. It's a decision. Realize that what you had before the wedding wasn't love, it was infatuation. This is love. Love is morning breath. It's the bills stacking up with a negative bank balance. It's the ruined birthdays. It's the pukey children. It's the diaper blowouts. It's untangling the bleepin' Christmas lights. It's the broken garage doors. It's him leaving his crusty socks all over the floor. It's you scattering your thousands of bobby pins as far the eye can see. It's the backed up toilets. It's the buttered noodles you eat because you're so dang broke. It's the burned dinners you try to choke down because they worked so hard to make it. It's the up-all-night sleep deprivation of having a newborn. It's the illness. It's the weight gain. It's the gray hairs. It's the pain. It's the hurt feelings. It's the forgiveness. 
  11. More than all this, love is TRANSFORMATIVE. It's refining. It makes you a better person. It makes him a better person. 
  12. Realize that transformation is HARD. Love is HARD. It's the hardest work you've ever done. BUT, as Tom Hanks said in "A League of Their Own", it's the hard that makes it great. 
  14. Think about how much it must suck to deal with you at your worst. Be grateful he didn't leave you. Feel respect for what he's doing working alongside you. Watch him sweat and commit to you even though you mess up too. Look for all the ways you see him working for you, even though you know he doesn't feel like it. Say thank you. Say thank you a lot. Hug him a lot.
  15. Discover that this love is BETTER than the feely feelz. It's something that's unwavering. It's not conditional. Learn that love isn't about the right one or the right dress or the right venue or the right conditions… It's not something that just happens. Hard work and action yield feely feelz, not the other way around. It's something that takes time and effort and energy to grow, but it produces a better crop than the early feely feelz ever did. 
  16. Wedding vows mean more to you now than they ever did when you took them. Show up every day to live them. Fight to overcome every obstacle, even each other, together. Lather rinse repeat every single day. Think to yourself that there is no better person to work this hard for. Wedding vows aren't something ceremonial you recited a really long time ago, they're something that must be earned. Fought for. Feel lucky that it's HIM by your side to fight for this with you, for better or for worse. 

EDIT: Funniest/best part of all of this? A few hours after this was published, more comedy tickets became available and we both bought them. I love this man! 

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