This is a picture of my husband and me.
Not really. Its really Al and Peg Bundy. But, really. That's my husband and me.
But, I don't have red hair. I HAD red hair. When I was pregnant. It was fun! People thought my husband was having an affair! :)
This post is about marriage. Now, I'm not a marriage expert. But then again, I don't believe anyone else is either. Well, maybe Dr Laura is. I love Dr Laura!!
But, I HAVE been married for 21 years. My parents have been married for well over 40 years. Robbie's parents have been married to other people for over 30 years. And I have friends that have been married for over 20 years. Soooooo...I think I know a thing or two. And I think its an important topic.
The reason I think its soo important is because you see all the time on tv and celeb magazines about people getting married and just as quickly getting divorced. In some cases, the divorce is preceded by affairs.
I know, I know...who cares what the celebs are doing? But, it seems like a trend and I see young people being desensitized by it.
The real catalyst for this post came when I was talking to someone about our marriage. The person I was talking to is in his forties and longs desperately to be married. He's a sweet, hard working, good looking guy so its really baffling as to why he's never been married. But, I think I've figured out that he's romanticized it too much. I've seen the same thing with another friend that has commitment issues. She wants "the white picket fence" and the "perfect marriage". THAT is the problem. THAT is why people end up divorced. There really is no such thing as a "perfect marriage". I know that because there is no such thing as "perfect people". I'm not perfect. My husband is not perfect. And guess what? neither are you.
No offense. But, neither is your spouse. Or your future spouse. To expect anything different just isn't fair.
I told my friend that the reason my husband and I are still married is because neither of us would leave. Here's the argument we used to have.
Me: "If you don't like it, then just leave!!!!"
Robbie: "I'm not leaving!!! YOU leave!!"
Me: "I'm not leaving!!! YOU leave!!"
Robbie "Well, I'M not leaving! So shut up!"
Me: "YOU shut up!!!!"
because I have to have the last word. My mother knows what I'm talking 'bout. :)
I tell this story with a laugh, because that's where we've been. We aren't there anymore. We already know that neither of us is going to leave. When I told my friend this story (with laughter in my voice) he said "That's just sad.......That's no way to have a marriage....Is it?"
It made me wonder. For a minute, it made me feel bad about my marriage. I thought 'It must be. I've been married for 21 years. But, is it really good that we feel this way?' I've contemplated it for a week or two and this is the answer I'm giving myself and I'm sharing it with you.
That IS the way to a great marriage. THAT, my friend, is commitment! And commitment is the key ingredient to a long, successful marriage. You notice that I didn't say happy. Now, don't get me wrong and think I'm saying that marriage isn't happy. But, I AM saying that it isn't ALWAYS happy.
That's where I think the disconnect is. People think that it has to be always happy or else it isn't working. Then, they justify divorce or affairs or both. The really sad part is, that usually happens after having kids. Kids are tough on a marriage. But, then the kids are just an afterthought in the decision of divorce.
Anytime you put two people together with different life experiences, disagreements are going to happen.
People look at my husband and me and maybe think our marriage isn't great. We are very vocal about what we like and dislike. But, honestly, we don't pretend. What you see in us, is who we are. We don't behave any differently around other people than we behave at home. Well, there is no groping in public!! :)
There is nothing "hidden" at home. When people tell me that they never fight, I'm immediately suspicious. I think either a) they aren't being honest. b) one person is being "pushed over" and only one person in the marriage is truly happy. or c) both parties are suppressing their true emotions and something's about to blow.
I've seen all three happen. I've seen outwardly happy marriages end in divorce, affairs, and insecurity about one spouse leaving the other (hence the fear of speaking up and starting a fight).
The thing is, its okay to fight as long its mature. Its taken us a while to get to the mature point but I think we're there now. But, arguing maturely is inevitable in a long term relationship. Two people are never going to always see eye to eye. We shouldn't have to worry that our spouse will leave us if we speak up. Nor should they worry about us leaving them. Its also important for our kids to see that. Commitment is security.
When you're secure in a relationship, you can feel comfortable being yourself without fear of being left for someone "better".
By the way.....There isn't someone "better". We all have boogers and gas. And even Victoria's Secret models poop!!! :)
What are YOUR secrets to a successful marriage?