Strangely, Perfect Marriage
Today during a conversation a comment was made that has caused me much thought.
“It’s hard for you to understand. You and Chris’ relationship is so different.”
I hear this statement with some frequency. Taken out of context it might sound like people think my husband and I have a strange relationship.
Shucks, taken in context it sounds that way!
And, to those who make the statement, it seems we do.
So, what do outside observers mean when they say this to me?
They mean I can’t offer them empathy in their relationship issues. They mean I don’t have wisdom to offer while dealing with struggles in marriage because I don’t have struggles. They mean from their vantage point my marriage is perfect.
And I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or pat myself on the back when they say these things!
Our marriage is far from perfect! (Shhhhhh! Don’t tell Chris I said that!)
What makes people think it is?
I don’t claim to know what people think, but I am willing to take a stab at why so many people make this statement to me.
1. Chris and I enjoy each others company and choose it over that of others.
While we may have outgrown the “dating” phase ages ago, we still invest in our marriage through time. We still make it a priority to be actively involved in what’s going on in each other’s worlds. Sometimes this means one of us gives a lot more than the other. It always means someone is giving up something else they’d enjoy doing. We understand that by choosing those “something else” activities over the other person we would be sacrificing our relationship.
2. We have learned that we don’t have to agree to get along.
For many years we joked after voting in political elections that we canceled each other out. We never discussed politics prior to polls or after other than to say, “Cancel me out again?” We can still be independent thinkers and be in love.
We have gotten to the stage now where we can discuss the “hot topics”, disagree vehemently, and walk away madly, passionately in love with no thoughts of the heated discussion in mind. Mental stimulation is great for a relationship!
3. We is always more important than me, and it goes both way. It’s not always about compromise. Well, last time you got your way so this time I get my way. No, it’s about what’s best for the family in this moment. It might mean that I always get my way or never get my way, but if it’s what’s best for the family then it is what’s best for me.
4. I’m going to say something that many of my reader’s won’t appreciate. When it comes down to it, I’m not going to be responsible for the final decision. Yes, that’s what I said. I’m not going to be responsible for the final decision.
Those of you who know me well are absolutely shocked. Yes, I’m loud, outspoken, and occasionally opinionated. 😉 That really doesn’t change in my marriage. I always speak my mind. However, when it comes down to making the final decision, I speak my mind, know he will listen to what I’ve said, and accept the decision he makes.
Often he asks me repeatedly what I think. I will continue to discuss my opinion. However, I don’t want responsibility for that final decision. Truth be told, I don’t think he does either, which is why we discuss A LOT.
So, for those of you that almost stopped reading when I said I don’t take responsibility for final decsions, I am NOT a door mat. Have never been a doormat. Will never be a doormat. I am still strong-willed, outspoken, opinionated Carrie.
5. We aren’t afraid to admit when we’re wrong, and it happens frequently.
Sometimes we even have to go as far as to apologize. Guess what? It isn’t always fun! Our marriage is NOT perfect! It takes work. We simply choose to go to work every day. We don’t take breaks. We don’t make excuses. We simply do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
6. We try not to take things too seriously. If it isn’t a life or death matter, then don’t make it into one.
When we were first married it seemed like any little thing could turn into a major blow up. It was always all or nothing. There were no in betweens.
Now, I know better. Some days are just bad days. Everything he does is going to drive me nuts. On those days it’s best I keep my mouth shut. Nothing I say is going to make the situation better. I will just be adding fuel to the fire if I complain. So, on those days I make the choice to steer clear, let the mood run it’s course, and hope if I did something to cause the situation he tells me so I can help fix the situation.
See, we aren’t perfect. I promise I drive him just as nuts as he drives me. Here’s why people don’t know that:
I don’t go around bad mouthing my husband no matter how angry I might be at the time.
Shocking, isn’t it?
How many of us have ever been annoyed by ourselves? Have you ever done something and been like, “Ugh! Why’d I do that?!?! What’s wrong with me?”
Or have you ever been angry with yourself? Straight up mad. Furious even.
I have. I’ve had plenty of negative thoughts toward myself. Many of them were rightfully earned.
Now, think of the one time you rightfully earned all of the bad things you’ve thought about yourself. Did you run to town and run yourself down to everyone you saw? Did you sit in the stands at the ball game and dish your dirt to everyone within hearing range? Why not?
I took my marriage vows seriously.
If I’m not willing to go around bad-mouthing myself, then I’m not willing to go around bad-mouthing my spouse who is the same flesh. We are one. We are not separate. If I talk bad about him, I am talking bad about myself.
For my unmarried friends:
You know, you can’t choose your family, you are born into it. You can, however, choose your friends and your spouse. I have known many people who should not have married their spouse. Some have chosen to have children together despite their obvious incompatibility.
Not only have they made their own lives miserable, they are setting terrible examples for their children. Many of those unions have ended in divorce, and, while my opinion is not supported by many religions, many more of them SHOULD end in divorce to spare what is left of the sanity, emotional well-being, and overall health of all individuals involved.
Marriage should never be taken lightly. It isn’t a way out of a parent’s home. It isn’t a new adventure or experience. It isn’t the thing to do simply because all your friends are doing it.
Prayer is the prerequisite to a healthy marriage. Pray without ceasing that God will prepare your spouse in advance, protect your spouse for you, clearly direct your path to your spouse, and consecrate your relationship. A healthy marriage is not a relationship between two people, but between three. If you leave God out, your marriage is destined to be less than it could be.
Prayer is necessary to keep your marriage healthy. When you have struggles in your marriage, pray. When all is well in your marriage, pray. When you would rather walk away, pray. When you want to hide away with your spouse, pray. Pray with your spouse. Pray for your spouse. Pray to be a better spouse.
Invite God into your marriage. He won’t show up where He isn’t wanted. He won’t show up without an invitation. If you don’t ask, He won’t barge in.
My marriage is far from perfect. Truth be told, there are days I’d like to poke my husband’s eyes out! (How’s that for imagery?) And there are other days I just shake my head in absolute astonishment. (I can’t type that imagery…)
I take it as a compliment, however, that so many people see us and think that we have it all together. Our married life together has been one disaster after another. Literally. It seems as soon as we weather one storm, another is a brewin’. This past year has been no different, and yet in the midst of the storm someone has again brought to my attention how blessed I am because my marriage is so “different”.
photo credit: Fr”>http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephencuyos/8049610770/”>Fr. Stephen, MSC via photopinhttp://photopin.com”>photopin> cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc>