So a couple of days ago, Mike and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary. Two years…I can’t even begin to fathom where the time went. In these last two years we have moved three times (and I don’t plan on moving again for a while!) We have traveled to Venice, Barcelona, Malta, Miami, Bermuda, Boston, Montreal, Philly, and bunch of other places. We have had absolutely wonderful times and we have had some downright shitty times too. And while we have only been married for two years, we have been together for the last nine years and it has been quite the ride.
I hadn’t planned on talking about my marriage but I thought that I could possibly provide some insight for those of you that may be entering into new relationships, or are newlyweds, or maybe just have no clue what’s going on and need a little bit of advice while trying to navigate it through. Not that I am so great at it. Far from it. But I do feel like we have come a long way from where we started so we have got to be making some kind of progress! So here are some of the things I have learned through my relationship, before and during marriage:
1. There is no such things as being right or wrong in an argument.
No really – hear me out. Most of the time, you are going to think you are right (and you probably are of course) but your other half will also think you are most definitely wrong. And you guys will argue, a lot. Like a lot, a lot. About who is wrong, right, and everything in between. Things from 5 years ago that have absolutely nothing to do with the argument will come out, there may be some name calling, and then what? You end up staying mad and upset with each other and things will be tense while you each wait for the other person to apologize. Let’s be honest – life is just too short for that. Do you love each other? Do you really want to be separated from this person? Do they make your life better overall, other than this one stupid argument? If the answers to your questions are Yes, No, and Sure – then just stop the fighting, it’s not worth it. Sometimes it really is just better to agree to disagree and move on from there. And of course, I’m not talking about the big fights. But if you’re fighting over who does the dishes more…just move on. Address the issue, get it out there, but move on. Life is short.
2. Appreciate the small things and remember to say thank you.
For example, we walked into our home last night and I quickly commented on how we really needed to clean up this weekend cause the place was a mess. We hadn’t been home the last couple of nights, and prior to that I hadn’t been feeling too great so I hadn’t really put in much effort to clean up after ourselves. Still, it was now 10 pm and I just wanted to get to bed so I went in and Mike followed about 10-15 minutes after, which is normal for him. Well I woke up this morning and went to prepare our lunches for the day and saw that he had spent those 10-15 minutes quickly cleaning up what he could before coming to bed. I cannot even begin to say how much I appreciated this. Actually, we were in such a rush to get going this morning that I totally forgot to thank him for this. And that’s my point. If we notice them doing something, no matter how small, and it means something to us, we need to let them know how much we appreciate it. Clearly this is something I still need to work on…
3. Make time for each other, especially when life gets stressful.
Life in general is stressful. I think anyone can agree to that. But when you start planning a wedding (and both sides of the family seem to think that they can force their “opinions” on you) or you’re in the middle of a renovation and contractors go missing or orders go unprocessed, it would be wise to remember that the person that is standing next to you is going through the same thing you are and at the end of the day they are your ally. This does not mean that they get to be you’re punching bag for everything that goes wrong. I’ll be honest, I don’t think i could have gotten through the stress of our wedding and our renovation now without his support and his ability to stay calm under pressure. It was nice to know that no matter what I was going through, he was there too and that meant that when things got rough, we needed to take time to make sure that we gave ourselves a breather. Whether it be to treat ourselves to dinner and unwind, or just stay home and do absolutely nothing.
4. Make a bucket list together and work on checking things off.
While we have not made a physical, concrete bucket list ourselves (although that is something I’m planning to work on) we have had a mental bucket list that we keep track of. It’s good and healthy for couple to have goals they can strive to reach together and it feels so fulfilling when you are able to cross off those dreams on your bucket list together. For instance, I knew from the very early days of our relationship that Mike was dying to go to Rome. It was where his family was from but he had just never gotten the opportunity to go. Well, it took us 6 years to get there but when we did, wow…I am so glad that I was the person that had been able to go with him on that trip. His face the moment we landed in the center of Rome was priceless and I would not change anything in the world for that trip.
The best part is that you get to work on your bucket list for the rest of your lives. Crossing off things you have managed to achieve doesn’t mean it’s the end. As you grow, you’ll have new dreams, but your partner gets to be the same. And at the end of the day you’ll have a lifetime full of happy moments you get to look back on with that person.
Anyway – these are just takeaways. I am the first to admit that I am so not perfect. Like, not even close. I have made plenty of mistakes over the course of these last 9 years but I hope that I have at least mostly learned from those mistakes and grown to be a better wife because of them.