Today is our anniversary. 9 years since we promised to love each other through thick and thin. I have to admit that these 9 years have passed super fast. And they have been good years. The best ones of my life actually.
We have a good marriage. I wish I knew exactly why so I could pass on the secret. The funny thing is that a lot of people would have thought we probably wouldn't have a good marriage. We got married fast. Like super fast. Like less than 3 months after our first date. For a lot of people that would create a lot of problems. Also, I come from a pretty dysfunctional family, divorced parents who were apparently miserable for years before they finally ended it. An ugly divorce with lots of lines drawn in the sand. Not exactly the best example of how to have good relationships. Also, James had never even had a girl friend before. Yep. Newbie to the whole relationship thing and he was a husband in less than 90 days. To top it off I have struggled with a lot of resentment from the role religious beliefs played in my life until my mid-20’s. A lot of issues that could have created a lot of strife.
Despite those things we have a really good marriage. And honestly we've never even had a rough patch. There has never been a day when we've wanted to call it quits. Never had an argument that got out of hand. I think we've fallen asleep still in disagreement twice in 9 years and it was smoothed out the next day. Although there are a million little things that go into each and every relationship I think there are a few things that have really helped keep things working for us.
The first thing that has made a lot of difference is actually a set of circumstances that were entirely out of our control but made a huge impact on us. It started 2 days after we got back from Vegas. My dog was hit by a car and we had to make the decision to let her go that night because her injuries were catastrophic. The next week James lost his job when the doors of his company closed without any warning during his lunch break. A couple months later his grandmother passed away. One of my uncles who had young kids passed away when Gracie was 3 months old. 3 years into our marriage one of my friends who was also married with kids the exact same age as ours was tragically killed in a car accident. Her death was followed by an uncles 2 months later and then a step-cousin and her baby were murdered just 3 months after that. There was a lot of tragedy and less than ideal circumstances in the first 3 years of our marriage. For us these tragic situations only further cemented our need for and dependence on each other. We went to each other for comfort and strength. Every one of those situations made us stronger.
One of the things that I swore to myself when I got married and I have been 99% successful in is not being critical of James to anyone. I am just shocked at what some people will say about their partner. Open criticism, even in jest, can lead to really hurt feelings and resentment. I decided right from the start that if I had a problem I would talk to James about it. Not talk about him to whoever I felt would listen. He has made the same determination for himself. This isn’t to say that we are without faults, not at all. This isn’t to say we don’t seek advice from other people, because we do. Or, at least I do! But we both work really really hard to not blame the other person and to see our own faults in situations and to fix it, not blame shift it. Addressing the problem instead of complaining about it to someone else has really worked for us.
We have also made ourselves and our kids a priority. Pretty much THE priority actually. We worked really hard to keep drama out of our relationship at the beginning and when we had babies and I think that was very beneficial. We kept ourselves surrounded with supportive family and friends and let the rest fall to the sidelines and in some cases out of our lives entirely. We like each other and our kids and we made it habit that we protect our little team of 4. This isn’t to say that we don’t have friends, I love hanging with my girlfriends and James needs his time with the guys. In general though, if we can choose to do something together or as a family we do. We choose to keep it a top priority. Family time is sweet. Kids are only little for so long. And as we learned early in our marriage, you aren’t guaranteed it will all be here tomorrow. So we appreciate and protect our time together.
There are a lot of little things too. We were each on our own and really ready to settle down when we did. Attachment parenting has really helped both of us be better people and has helped us in a lot of our relationships, not just with our kids. Telling each other we love each other (and the kids) every single day, many times a day. Not using affection, or the lack thereof, to manipulate. Working together towards goals. Enjoying the intellect and insight of each other. Never lying. Watching a movie the other person wants to watch. Letting them pick the restaurant. Going to bed together every night, never letting the couch be an option for anyone. Kissing good bye. Kissing hello. Hugging.
I’m so thankful for what we have, I see people struggling with their relationships every day and I really wish I could help in some way. Maybe my thoughts will be an inspiration so someone about to take the plunge or someone who needs a fresh outlook. I wish everyone could just be happy. Contentment is a good thing.
So those are my words of wisdom for today! I am so thankful for James and the influence he’s had on me and for what we have built together. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I know that as long as we keep doing what we have been it will all be good, no matter the circumstances.
I love you honey!
And for anyone who’d like I’d love if you’d leave a comment about what has worked for you in your marriage or long term relationship. There’s always room for improvement, right?