Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SOME THOUGHTS ON MARRIAGE, AND OTHER THINGS





Those first two photos up there were taken by Ken; isn't he getting to be quite the photographer? 

Ken wouldn't say so but he can be really creative. He drew me a series of cartoons yeaaars ago when we first started dating and I was so taken with them that I've tried to get him to do more ever since, but to no avail. He also has this way of thinking that surprises me ....sometimes I call it ridiculous, but most times I call it creative. Mostly he would describe himself as a practical person, and I would too. It's in a way that is both infuriating and sexy - infuriating when it directly contradicts some dream or idea I'm sharing, sexy when it's apparent that his strength is my weakness.

Marriage is totally this mysterious thing. On paper, Ken and I probably don't make too much sense. There are plenty of things we have in common, and most of them are the truly important things- our faith, a sense of humor, loving tiny humans. But there are big differences too. He
 sees the world in black and white. I exist in a perpetual state of grey.  He loves routine.  I think it's thrilling to go on new adventures. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I'm a little more measured. 

Different and in spite, or because of that, there's a fascination, a chemistry that happens between two such people, and we have that.  We have somehow combined our lives and are doing this dream building thing and day to day thing in a way that has got me in touch with the meaning of my life. Yes, the meaning of my life!

Since I've been thinking about this a lot this past few weeks, since Ken and I have had a lot of tough conversations recently, and because our marriage just turned four years old, there are some things I want to write down here about what I've learned about marriage so far. I hope it will be interesting to look back on this a few years down the road. (By the way, all these "yous" is referring to me, I'm talking to myself.)

1) My husband and I are different. And that's okay. Sometimes it's more than ok; the friction and varying perspectives are exactly what we need in order to mature, become refined, redeemed, to become a better person.

2) Think in years, not days. Change doesn't happen overnight and true change can take years to really take root, so keep that in mind as you communicate your expectations.


3) Sometimes, what your husband says or doesn't say is due to a lack of being able to clearly communicate what he's thinking or feeling, not lack of intention. Give him time to sort it out and revisit it later. It's okay to go to bed without resolving everything... Sleep is very VERY important for a clear-head and generous spirit. 

4) Always give him the benefit of the doubt. You entered into this marriage  seeing and assuming the best in each other, keep that up. Give him a chance to explain himself.  If you see glaring faults, he probably already knows it about himself or you have probably told him about it. Give him time to work that out between him and his God. 

5) You will probably be disappointed. That will happen, and there are real ways to deal with that. Acknowledge that there are two levels to disappointment: emotional and practical. The emotional part is feeling hurt and associating the disappointment with lack of love from him. The practical part is communicating expectations and making sure he understands those expectations. It's hard to separate the emotional from the practical, but doing so will be extremely helpful. Address them separately if possible. 

6) Your husband shouldn't be the end-all or the be-all. His love makes you stronger and better but it does not determine your worth. 

7) Along these lines, take care of yourself. Nurture your inner self. Find the thing (or several things) that make you feel peaceful, joyful and/or purposeful and do them. Just as important as it is to do things together, it is important to spend time with yourself. 

8) If you find something that you both like doing, do it together, a lot. 

9) Share your vision for your family with one another. This includes communicating expectations, discussing what is most important to you as a family and determining steps towards building that. Our friends sent us a survey of questions to go through together to discuss these things and I'm really looking forward to the conversations.

10) Be open to seeking counseling when necessary or whenever you get the chance. If you can't get this, take time to sit down with another couple that you respect to talk about marriage and get some perspective.

That's so many things!! I'm learning a lot. 


I'm not quite done here, and this post is getting terribly long.. so....a photo of donuts? Duck Donuts, to be exact, in VA beach. Hot, fried, dripping in icing, amazing.

This past weekend, in said VA beach, with Sloane tucked away in her daytime nap at grandma's, Ken and I got away to......the mall! That's right, we're fancy. We walked around side hip right against side hip, arms around each other, and then some hand holding was involved, and then more hip action, all throughout the shiny surfaces of the mall. It was strangely comforting. Afterwards, we went to to meet Amy and Ray, my SIL and her fianc√©, for an evening with Tony Hale (!!!!), and then a double date dinner of sake and sushi, which somehow ended with karaoke at the restaurant - Ken singing Enrique's 'Can't Escape My Love' and me singing Mariah's 'Always Be My Baby.'  It was probably one of the best date nights we've had in a while. And I'm telling you about all this basically as a set up for the next two photos:


This!. During the Q&A, Ken stood up and asked him three questions, most of them about Buster Bluth, and then Tony signed a note to Sloane in the children's book he just wrote, and we took a selfie all together. No biggie.


And THIS!


Ok, are you still with me? One last photo here of Shutterbean's Reset Button Salad, in full effect, that I made several times this week, topped with an egg, cause that's how I do. It was delicious and filling and was both a breakfast and dinner for me at some point this week. And not to make a wonky metaphor (but here I go!) sometimes, a reset button on your perspective on marriage is totally necessary...and healthy. 

I'll leave you with a quote by C.S. Lewis, one of my favorites (I'm still trying to figure out how to get away with naming my future children Clive, or Staples, after him.) from his book, The Four Loves:

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no on, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. 




4 comments:

  1. the internet wants to see your karaoke video

    ReplyDelete
  2. this was a beautiful post. and a good reminder for marriages.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! This much of wisdom with four years of marriage tells your marriage will be evolved endlessly. Post 9)questions to have conversations. I like the picture of slone as a tiny creature passing by vineyard.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is truly beautiful. I am glad i found your blog...I learn a lot from you!!!!

    ReplyDelete