Being Good at Being Married is the Easiest Hard Thing I Do Every Day.

Dave and Me

the beginning 

lingerie and antipasto platters

I sometimes feel like I was a late bloomer when it comes to marriage and as a result I had the privilege to live an interesting life before I was lucky enough to find the one. I needed to live in order to recognize the immense value in the amazing man I now call my husband.

                    Basically I needed to make a lot of bad decisions

and date a whack of assholes before I figured shit out!

In the beginning my husband could see into my soul and know all that I would become, which at the time, far exceeded the value I had placed on myself. Fortunately for me he could see me even before I knew I existed.

In the year prior to our meeting I had made some significant changes in my life, and I realize now that each shift I made, moved me closer to the chance to meet him. On the first day of my new life, he was literally there to greet me, the most honourable, caring and insightful man I had ever met.  Instantly I could tell that he placed all people in high regard as he took the time to reflect and process each person’s perspective before reacting and I realized early in our relationship that

I had been searching for him my whole life; I just didn’t know it.

As a result of some mind-blowing experiences early on, where I would simply sit and observe him interact with everyone, I was uplifted by the thought that this amazing man, who brings so much to the world, had chosen me.  

I often find myself saying to others who are questioning the value of their partnership…

“It’s easy to love someone who treats you like a queen but to truly love a person you need to remove yourself from the picture and love how s/he treats everyone else.

Maybe that’s just my opinion, one not shared by all, however, I think it’s a pretty excellent way to gain some perspective when evaluating your relationship.

The early days of marriage, our marriage, were joyous. We were young, but not too young, we were employed but not tied down. We had time and energy and wanted for very little (even though we wanted it all). We spent our days in a state of leisure, even while working we didn’t work that hard. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we loved, we socialized and then we ate, we drank, and we ate some more. We enjoyed the company of others and really enjoyed each other’s company. We had sex, and simply loved being in love. Although blissful, we lacked direction or any forward momentum. We lived in a perpetual loop, thinking we were making headway only to find ourselves back where we started. I craved change, I always have. I looked for new work, and we continued to eat and drink. I found new work and still we toured around in the loop we had created. Things may have been different and somehow they felt the same. We were not unhappy but we were not fulfilled. After five years, we decided it was time for kids.

the middle

little kids, stiff drinks and sleep(lessness)

I was a late bloomer with respect to kids too. I was 35 when our first was born and 38 when the second rolled along. My struggle for identity was profound with the first. Months of self-doubt, of self-loathing, followed by months of much-needed therapy. With the second, the struggle with my identity seemed to be less, but the struggle to exist was no less significant.  With my time taxed to the max, there was little to no room for Me, let alone my marriage. Wise people who tell you to focus on your partner in these times of bleakness, for at the end of the day, the kids will leave, the chores will be done and all you will have left is each other…are RIGHT. We took this to heart and wanted desperately to have time for us.

To our chagrin the universe would not create minutes at our command and we had to work to find and scrape together whatever time was available. While managing children, a home and work it was easy to jump back into the circular thinking that felt so comfortable in our past…not unhappy but not fulfilled. Using our image of our pre-kid days, our only point of reference for “relaxing”, we did our best to fall back into step with our pre-kid selves. A bit desperate for the joy of eating and drinking, sex and socializing; we almost yearned for those days of leisurely sipping cocktails and eating copious amounts of pricey cheese. It wasn’t long into our search for lives-lost that we were reminded that the ever-present hammer of reality changes those moments, changes everything.

The once ”multi-cocktail’ evenings of yester-year had turned into one huge glass with lots of rye and a little mix, which I would chug in anticipation of being interrupted.

I longed for the idea of a buzz, of that warm peaceful glow of slight inebriation, coupled with the state of pure relaxation and joy with my husband.

What I would get is, kinda drunk for an hour, followed by a deep desire to nap and if I was lucky, the opportunity to sleep off the inevitable headache. The cheese, although this time around a little less pricey, was good and I would inhale it along with too much roasted garlic so the entire next day I would feel like a heavy piece of stinky ass.

Ah how times have changed. We were so desperate to recreate the joyful, carefree life we once lived, that we often would find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge that there is no turning back the clock; that these little humans that we worked so hard to bring into this world, have changed us so drastically that we can barely remember who we once were. After the umpteenth attempt to find relaxed joy, inside our self-imposed chaos, I realized that I needed to shift my perspective…that it was time to do some serious reflecting! Time to shift once again.

Some big shit came up during my morning introspective journaling… Who are we now? Are we together fighting the good fight and are we together with respect to each other? Are we, is our marriage, worth all the time, money and energy we could muster. The answer was a huge HELL YES!!!  Time to put the cheese and wine behind us (for a while) and discover new moments of pure bliss (spoiler alert they will probably involve the kids).

 

the beginning

again

I will have to wait a while before I am able to finish this section because we are currently just sitting on the horizon of this chapter of our lives. The girls are approaching that moment when they are self-sufficient enough for us to actually enjoy quiet dinners just the two of us with the kids still in the house! Whaaat?!? I didn’t even know that could happen. The days of spontaneous sex, being able to leave the house whenever we want (with no one sleeping, eating or crying to prevent us) and being able to complete an adult conversation in one sitting (without having to change a diaper, manage a meltdown or answer a 3 word question that takes 5 minutes to utter) are almost upon us…I can see a glimpse of them, I can hear the decibels of our home slowing decreasing and I feel a weird calm that I think is the absence of stress! …I know it’s coming. I know that we will make it, here, to this stage of our marriage, because we are doing the work, working on listening more and talking less, we are working on building resilient kids with excellent problem solving skills, but most importantly we are working on ourselves. The power of the self-worth uncovered by purposeful internal reflection is that once you get really in tune with who you are and like what you see, you are open to truly appreciating the worth of others.

My husband is an amazing man and early in our parenting days when I couldn’t see past the end of my own nose I could also not see the gifts he brought to the world. I could only see how his behaviour impacted me, which was more often than not, perceived as “not enough”…now let me be super clear here…I felt this way because I felt like I wasn’t enough and I would continuously project my perception of my world on to him.

I know now that we are each 100% responsible for the lives we choose to live, for all of our actions and our own behaviours.

We can not change what happens to us or around us, we can only change our responses. We, my husband and I, have chosen to focus on our inner selves, chosen to build from within and the happiest of results is that we see each other for our gifts, for our strengths and place value on all the positivity we each bring to our world. So no, we haven’t officially left the little kid stage of our lives but we are doing the work to ensure the next one will be a spectacular one.

Do the Work

If this resonates with you, if you can see yourself in this piece and if you feel like there is so much more to be said…and I agree!… I want to hear from you. Let me know what aha moments you have had along your journey and how you are killin’ it at BEING GOOD AT BEING MARRIED!

Dionne

All good things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!