Thursday, March 03, 2011

Marriage . . .

Marriage is hard. I went into marriage knowing that divorce was not an option for me. I would fight tooth and nail to save my marriage, and while I know that the other person has some say in remaining in the marriage I knew I would do everything in my power to stay married.

Let me interrupt by saying that I am not saying that no one should get divorced. I know there are always reasons. I know there are things you cannot make the other person do. I understand that. This post is not meant to point fingers in any way! It is simply my story and my thoughts from my own personal experiences, you may have your own.

Marriage is hard. It is not all sunshine and lollipops. Two people cannot possibly understand one another and each others choices every moment of every day. There will always be miscommunication, misunderstandings and just plain grouchiness thrown in for good measure. That first year of marriage, when you are trying to really get to know one another, living as husband and wife, truly SUCKS.

Robert and I were married nearly 14 years ago. In that time we have both changed. We have changed due to experiences and through wanting to be a better person both for ourselves and each other. I am not the person that he married. Thank goodness! In those fourteen years, I was diagnosed with having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and went on medication, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had it removed. We have fostered children, adopted a child and had our own biological children. We have learned how to parent together. We have learned what sets one another off and what makes them happy. We have learned to understand subtle mood changes and learned when to support one another and when to back-off. We have learned that we cannot always agree but that we need to respect one another. We have learned that his sarcasm and my pessimism are a part of who we are and they are not going away anytime soon so we learn to deal with them and embrace them. All of these things changed us.

Marriage is not easy. It is a constant dance of give and take. I think the biggest breakthrough we had was about 6 months ago. I have always said things like, "You know that's how my brain works." But I don't think he ever really got it. We sat down and talked through different scenarios and I explained the way my brain processed the information, what I was thinking and how I came to the conclusions I did. I asked him to do the same. We talked at length about my OCD and how that throws a wrench into an already female mind! I think for the first time he understood that I was not being horrid and jumping to wrong conclusions just to be difficult but that it was a process and it was different from his. I learned that he was not just shutting down, but he processed things in a completely different manner which meant that he was sometimes coming to different conclusions. We finally understood one another. We understood which questions to ask to get our answers. We respected each others process. We stopped assuming we knew what the other was thinking.

At the time it really didn't seem that Earth shattering. But as we looked back, we realize how much smoother our life is today. Now, I don't want you thinking it wasn't good before that, we just realized that there is alot less misunderstandings that there were. I think for me it means we have more tolerance for him and how he thinks. The assumptions I may have made before just aren't valid any longer. I can't just assume he is being a "butt" just to make me mad, I can understand his thought process.

This is what marriage is to me. It is a constant process of growth. It is constant give and take. It is understanding that while you think you may KNOW someone, you really have no idea what is happening inside their noggin unless you understand how they function. I am thankful we have come to that point, it makes a good marriage into a wonderful marriage.

I think sometimes people think they "don't deserve" this or that, or they could "do so much better". But sometimes, I think that is terribly one sided. Yes, your spouse could be totally unsupportive, but how did it get that way? You cannot tell me that it was simply one sided. Perhaps there is some changing needed on both sides of the isle. Perhaps what you deserve is the chance to make it work instead of throwing it away. Had I listened to some advice I was given before I was diagnosed not only would I not be married today, but I wouldn't have the wonderful children I do. I chose to put my marriage before my selfishness and do everything I could to save it. Now of course that wouldn't have worked if Robert hadn't worked equally as hard to make it work. We both had a lot of learning to do. It all boils down to our willingness, we were willing.

I cannot imagine my life without Robert. He is a rock. He is the encourager. He is the optimist. He injects humor into every situation. I am happy we worked our butts off to stay together way back then. I am happy to be his wife.


GB's Mom said...

Beautiful post!

John Good said...

Very nice.