Saturday, June 21, 2014

Marriage: 5 Lessons Learned

names have been omitted from this post 



I checked my email and looked for new alerts to the single site I had signed up for… okay, technically, sites. I did a huffy breath like the character Junie B Jones does in the books my daughter likes me to read to her at bedtime as I scrolled through the alerts I had in my inbox.

"Humph…" I huffed and slipped my iPhone into the inside pocket of my purse.

My mother glanced over at me.

"You ready to go?" she asked me.

"Yep" I replied and we left, slipping into her car. As we backed down the drive onto the street she spoke "So? You didn't say anything. Did you get anybody new?" She asked.

"Oh, yeah!"
I said with a laugh, leaning down to rummage through my bag for my chapstick. I slicked on some cherry flavored Chapstick and checked it in the visor mirror then flipping it upward. Tucking the chapstick back in my purse I spoke, "Now I'm getting twenty-two year olds. Their either sixty year olds or now twenty something's. Nothing in between. What am I? Mrs. Robinson? This is insane." I rolled my eyes and watched out the window as she made a right turn pulling onto the main thoroughfare. "Seriously, I want my money back. There should be a guarantee on those sites that you'll meet someone. The only guy my age I've interacted with behaved like a wierdo."

"What was up with him?" she asked, frowning as she switched lanes.

I reached down and picked up the small bottle of lotion resting in the cup holder nearby and began dispensing cool creamy lotion into the palm of my left hand "We were messaging, right? He asks me what I did that day. I tell him I worked then went on a walk at the park… you know, exercise?" I nod at her and she affirms that that sounds normal enough. "Well, then… he replies with 'Ugh! Yuck! I don't go outside!'… yeah, that was it. The whole conversation. So I moved on. I mean, who doesn't go outside?! His profile picture? Get this!… He was outside!!! Oh my Lord, seriously. I guess he went out that one time and it nearly did him in. Holy cow, I needed a compress on my head after that interaction." I quipped and she laughed.

"I think you need a refund. I don't see you finding anyone on those sites…" she murmured and smiled "I mean, you're better off just meeting someone."

"Yeah, probably so…" I admitted and paused in thought watching the traffic slow to a stop beside us at the next red light. Nearby were trendy lofts, hair salons and a gelato shop with hot neon lights in the window beckoning customers with it's open sign. I spoke "How do you find someone who likes Bogie movies, is athletic, drives a truck and opens the door like a gentleman but believes a woman should have equal rights and appreciates her spunk mixed with a pursuit of being a Proverbs 31 woman? A man who pursues Jesus, adores your softness and femininity and kind heart, your beauty within, but can also in the same sentence say with a smile 'You're ballsy' because he knows your spunk, fire, your spirit… and he genuinely loves it. Where do you find that man?" I asked thoughtfully aloud.

There was no reply.

We didn't have the answer.

But I hope one day I do.

You may be in the same position as I… wondering how you will meet that special someone. And then… after the fact, after you've "clicked" with them… wondering how you will do better this time around in a relationship… a marriage even. If you've been married before, perhaps your mis-steps of where you coulda, shoulda done better are glaringly obvious… as we all have something we can learn from… we all have the chance to learn from our past mistakes and apply learned lessons to our next relationship… as well with growth and maturity know what works and what obviously does not.

I've learned many lessons about marriage… and although I could write a book alone on what I've learned, I've come up with a short condensed list of the top five lessons. Some may prove to leave you nodding in agreement and some may have you pondering your own past experience in retrospect.

5 Lessons Learned From Marriage:

1. Spunk Is Fine… 
But Not Unhealthy Communication

When you're angry… slamming doors and stomping (or yelling) off like a three year old does zero good for anyone. In the very early years of my marriage I was guilty of this and had to consciously work on actually communicating...articulating how I felt and not expecting my mind to be read. Thank God for overcoming! My strength has always been writing but learning to communicate in a healthy manner (versus negative actions we may have had for examples as children) is incredibly vital to a successful relationship. Yes, sometimes we do need a mini break, absolutely and that's okay. But we can also do that in love… we can say "I need a time out. Be right back." and softly retreat, giving ourselves some time… taking a deep breath and then going back to our spouse ready to communicate in a constructive, loving manner. 

2. If It's Really Important To You… Make Sure You Get It

 I married someone who was not romantic, whose perceptive and insightful friend suggested multiple times over the years for him to shower me with moments of romance… candles, bubble baths, home cooked meals made together… but those dreams never came to fruition. Was I disappointed? Yes, terribly… it's still something I yearn for. Many times I tried to broach the subject and tell him how I felt but change for the better never happened. Instead, I was met with grabbing and crass words of "Get your hot $%* over here!" I never want to go through that again. The alternative of being alone is preferable to that. As women we want someone who is tenderhearted toward us… who desires us, who is insightful, who sees us as their best friend, equal and lover. We need to be sure we are completely certain who we are marrying and not sway on what we deem as must haves. 

3. He's Crazy + She's Co-Dependent 
= Unhealthy

Being too dependent. This is a known trait of women who attract men who are manipulative… these men prey knowing their target's kind nature and their tendency to put the relationship's importance/success ahead of their own self importance/worth... and these men use it to their own advantage. I had not spent enough time figuring out who I was before marrying. I also didn't create a niche of my own during my married years as I couldn't stand on my own two feet. To my own detriment and later in the wake of my divorce trying to quickly put my life together was enough to send anyone into near panic mode. It's imperative women don't allow themselves to "be home" all the time in the event he maybe decides to stroll in the door and make his presence. What are you doing with your time? With your life? Yes, if you're pursuing being a good wife and mother you naturally want to make a loving home the center of your focus. Being at home full time today is often viewed with disdain by society when at one time it was for privileged women. But it's so important for women to also have a balance… to not lose themselves and then find themselves in a precarious position later in their marriage… where they have no life of their own, especially in the possible demise of their marriage. What peaks your interest? Volunteering? Working part-time? Full time? Grow and develop yourself. Don't get yourself backed into a corner where you find yourself trying to save your partner's downfall or the relationship as a whole… be aware of these unhealthy patterns. Instead, find what gives you purpose outside the home so your husband does not become a crutch… dependency isn't love in the free sense but actually love cloaked in fear and invisible handcuffs.  

4. A Partnership = A Marriage

Marriage is about having a partnership. It's about coming together in the good, challenging and even hard times. It's not about one person winning, having the upper hand, being fully in control. You will find times when you disagree… and maybe finally you agree to disagree on the subject at hand. In that case perhaps the subject should be dropped and re-approached later on… it's not right for one person to go ahead and make a choice. If a decision must be made… see if there is a middle road that can be reached… both parties should walk away from the conversation feeling good… not bullied into something they feel vehemently opposed to. 

5. Appreciation: 
We Can Tailor It To Our Spouse

We may voice appreciation for our husbands and we know they love these words of love… but could we be a bit more specific? Instead of emitting a general statement of "You're such a great provider!"… maybe a better way would be specifically saying "Thank you for dealing with difficult clients at work and being our provider! I know everyday is not a picnic!" This tells him that you intimately understand the frustrations and workings in his world he encounters each day… whether it's disgruntled clients, customers who don't show up, a boss who behaves like a tyrant or even trying office politics amongst co-workers. When we give our husband concrete examples of what we observe him going through it reassures him that we truly know the hoops and hurdles he must navigate to be our shining hero out in the world each day. And that, ladies… brings a genuine smile to his face. 

© ~ 2014 

To My Readers;

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

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