Friday, August 3, 2012

A Decade


August 3rd, 2002:

How do you even begin to sum up a decade of marriage in one blog post? I am so incredibly blessed to still be in love with my husband because we've both chosen to love each other. We've waded through a lot of muck and drifted through a lot of calm waters. And through each season, we've chosen love.
I smile inside when I think back to my young teenage self. Just like most young girls, I had an ideal timeline of the way I wanted my life to go. I always wanted to get married young. I thought the ideal age to have my first child was 24. And I wanted to be done having kids by the time I was 30. I got married at 19. I had Bennett when I was 24 and I had Channing (our last unless God intervenes...) at 29. Funny how some things work out exactly as we imagine while others end up so completely opposite from the picture in our heads (ex: three boys!!!!)
I suppose the greatest lesson I've learned in ten years is to find out exactly what love means to your spouse. I remember so clearly the excitement and anticipation I felt as I gifted Jon with a red leather journal I'd kept for an entire year while we were dating/engaged. I started it on February 14th, 2001 and gave it to him on February 14th, 2002. I'd filled the whole thing with thoughts, memories and moments of that year together. He unwrapped it and said something along the lines of, "oh, cool". And then I never heard about again. I think I asked him a few months later if he even read the whole thing! I was crushed! (And by the way, reading through parts of it today, it was kinda boring! HA!)
Anyway, my point is, I was showing him love in ways that I wanted to receive it. Finally, ten years later, we've really learned what love means to each other. To me, his words of encouragement mean the most. A "that's a good idea" or "you were right, honey" or, "you're such a great mom"  mean the world coming from him! And I especially treasure the sticky notes he leaves me so I can re-read his words again and again. And for him, all I have to do is bake banana bread or cookies and clean the house and he's a happy man (among some other unmentionables...ah hem. What all men really care about, right?).
And frankly, I've learned if I'm not feeling very loved, all I have to do is quit dwelling on it, buck up and show him more love first and it bounces right back to me. Funny how that works.
Another great thing I've discovered along the way is to quit expecting your husband to read your mind. I learned about a year in to quit hoping he'd give me sympathy when I needed it and to just come out and ask for it! Make it silly and funny. Guys are simple creatures (most of them). Women are not. If something crappy happened to me that day, I'll tell him first, "I just need sympathy, not solutions". And if something really really crappy happened and I need TONS of empathy, I call my girlfriend. And that's ok. Your husband doesn't need to be your girlfriend too.
(I didn't think of this stuff myself. I learned a lot from the 10 years, off and on, I worked with Gary & Barb Rosberg. And two great books to start with are The Five Love Languages and Love and Respect.)

A great thing I heard from my parents early on is this:
Everybody loves about 85% of their spouse and the other 15% drives them nuts. Focus on the 85, not the 15.
That's not a one-time deal. That's a constant choice, day in and day out!
Facebook doesn't help this. If you're struggling at all in your marriage, don't get on Facebook around Valentine's Day or Mother's Day! I'm so glad I got married before Facebook and Pinterest. There was so much less pressure and comparing back then!

We have a lot more work to do. But I know the hardest part is behind us. The future looks golden to me. I'm so thankful to have you by my side, Jon. You are my best friend and the one I would choose a thousand times over. Thank you for loving me, an imperfect person, perfectly.

8 comments:

  1. Wow you had the exact same timeline as I did! Except it worked for you. I'm 25 and no babies yet so I'm thinking 3 by 30 isn't going to happen! Congrats on 10 years! And here's to many more.

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  2. I read this whole thing!! :) i'm glad for all the GREAT times and the not-so-great times. I love you so much! oh, and you're a great mom;)

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  3. Happy Anniversary! Double digits is a big deal! :)

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  4. Proud of you both. LOTS of wisdom here Have! 10 years... Wow!

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  5. You did a great job in summing up marriage!! Great stuff!! Gonna read it to our marriage small group if you don't mind. Love you guys and many many more!! Auntie

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  6. It's in the midst of the hard times that so many throw in the towel. I'm so thankful you chose to love each other. Marriage truly gets sweeter as the years go by. Nothing is more precious than to see an elderly couple holding hands and truly loving each other. Thank you for sharing what you've learned in your journey. Happy decade of marriage and many decades to come. Love you both.

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  7. Congratulations on 10 years!!

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