Sunday, November 24, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
One day you are falling in love and everything is so new and exciting, and the next you are five years down the road with two children. Sometimes you have to wonder how life seems to go so fast. So many of my friends or family members got married around the same time, and it really only seems like yesterday. Now, here we are five years later.
My longest relationship before my husband was only 7 months, so you would think that it would feel incredibly long to me in that aspect, but it doesn't. If you want to know more about our love story you can read about it here (note that I wrote it some time ago;)
We talk about it frequently, how fast time has gone by. We have also been talking about recently how we had no idea what we were doing back then, how clear that will probably continue to become as the years continue to pass. We met in August of 07 and were married by November of 08, crazy talk. But everyone in our lives that we trusted encouraged us to do so, and we were more than willing to listen!
To celebrate we went to downtown Denver and went to Yard House. For an anniversary gift I found this journal at Barnes & Noble called "Reasons Why I Love You" where it had writing prompts to fill in things I loved about him, our memories, all our firsts, etc. I filled out the first 4 or 5 chapters before I got tired and ran out of time. It was awesome at dinner to give it to him and watch him read it and to my surprise he also answered all the questions about me as well. That was really good for my soul to hear and I highly recommend doing something like that on anniversaries.
So, without letting more time pass without reflecting and thinking through what we have been through,
here are a few things I have learned about marriage in the first 5 years.
1. Marrying the Right Person is Vital
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I have realized as thing have gotten hard, confusing or overwhelming that had I married anyone but Daniel, things would be so much harder. We are really so opposite in so many ways, but it works for us. I tell him a lot that "you are everything I never knew I always wanted". Up until the time I met him I would have rambled off a list of things that I had wanted in a husband, I am not so sure that they would have been the right things for me. I am convinced God intervened in bringing me Daniel, and believe me I gave him LOTS of great suggestions ;)
2. Always Be Willing to Change
We talked about this when we were dating, that one of the most important values to have in a spouse was the willingness to accept responsibility for wrongs, problems, etc and be willing to change. Now sometimes the way that plays out is over months and months, but I think it's really important. Being right for the sake of being right only works in a marriage for so long without causing major problems. If I have learned anything through having depression is that life is a journey and at no point do we reach the end, we are always in process. Both being willing to say that about yourself and recognizing it your spouse is all about grace.
3.Serve One Another
If I were honest I would admit that I am the weaker partner in our marriage. For all the excuses I could list, what I do know is that Daniel has made me a better woman and a better wife. The number one way he has done that is to serve me, constantly, no strings attached, simply because he loves me and wants the best for me. No, he doesn't do it perfectly all the time, but what has happened is that because I feel so loved and taken care of so well by him, it has made me want to love and serve him more as well. I came into the marriage, probably like most single people, thinking in a "tit for tat" kinda thing. A "what have you done for me lately" kind of mentality. But the way my husband functions 80% of the time is that he does what he does for me out of love, not so I will owe him and not because he owes me. I think its taken me a long time to figure that out, but it has started to slowly change the way I even subconsciously love.
4. Love is More Than a Feeling
Again, this is another one that you may hear all the time, but its very true. Fairy tales and romantic comedies don't always do real love justice. Many of those idealize love that is, in the end, shallow at best. Real love is holding hands when your world is falling down all around you. Real love is seeing someone at their weakest or their worst and still seeing something wonderful and beautiful. Real love is challenging one another to be better. Real love is trying, always trying, (longer hugs, meaningful touch, picking up their favorite treat etc) even when you don't feel like jumping each others bones. When you take those vows "for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, for richer or for poorer" I don't think you really grasp what you are vowing anymore than you can know what it's like to be a mother before you are one. It's not always easy to love someone and you won't always feel loving towards them, but when that feeling comes to you again, the depth in which it now stands is something that far outweighs that first crush or butterfly feeling.
5. Decide Who Comes First
This is a fairly new realization for me, even though I would have acknowledged the concept from the get-go, I recently realized I wasn't doing this practically. Depending on our family of origin and our roles and relationships within these we may have a harder or easier time with this decision. And sometimes its just a matter of transitioning or deciding who gets the loudest vote in our lives. I tend to need everyone's approval, especially those in key relation to me. Daniel is super easy going, go with the flow, I pretty much always have his approval so I found myself needing it from my family. I began to notice that their opinions still held more weight than my husbands, and that, essentially we let others lead us as we were focusing outside first rather than inside our home and family. Sometimes other family members are more than willing to tell you how you should or shouldn't live your life, many times simply because you asked or need them (not maliciously intended, most times.) As my depression interspersed with this I realized that I needed to put Daniel and his needs and opinions back in first place and he needed to lead me by sharing what those are. My husband and children come first and if others may be put out because of that, I need not be afraid of that disapproval.
Obviously all of these things are lessons still in process, we certainly haven't mastered them but these are the five that stand out to me most at this point.
What would you add?
Here is to 65+ more!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Who are you? What makes you unique? Why are you here?
So, call it the existential questions of all time if you will. Stuff that most mom or beauty blogs are not necessarily made of, but I have been thinking this over a bit.
Am I have a pre-midlife crisis? I doubt it.
But I am coming to realize that I am not completely sure who I am or maybe who I want to be.
I know that most people who pop by this blog are bloggers themselves.
So, tell me, what drives you to write what you do on your blogs?
Those of you who have successful blogs or the blogs you admire?
What do you suppose drives them?
You know those personality tests that you can take when you are at leadership meetings or something? I always got almost an equal balance of all the possibilities where usually you would be really strong in one area or another, reflecting your personality or strengths. One I took responded to this as not knowing yourself very well, and I brushed that off immediately. I am not sure anyone may be quite as introspective as I am, to my detriment no doubt. But does being introspective mean you know yourself? I am not so sure.
I think for most of my life, being the oldest child and people-pleaser that I am, that I have figured out what is expected of me from most people. I am quite needy for acceptance, I have found (I hate admitting that) and so I have made myself "easy" to accept. And so my first question to myself in making decisions is not always that easy for me. I view myself through other peoples eyes, and not my own. Does that make any sense?
Recently I have been realizing that my acceptance is chained to people, which makes ME chained to them. Keeping everyone happy has become a sort of self appointed job. And then when I fail at that, I consider myself a failure. I have a hard time setting goals or even figuring out what I really want at all because I don't consider my opinion as important as someone else's. This is ludicrous when you write it out like that. But I am starting to see that it is true, and my reaction to that is anger many times. I want to get angry at the people I am chained to, even though I am the one who walked up to them and locked my handcuffs to them myself. I think I need someone to direct my anger towards, because certainly I can not be that disconnected, that separate from myself. Certainly the bully that rages in my head, beating me with the idea that I should never step out into something risky, possibly success or beauty inducing, because I might fail, or worse, become proud. I must stay in my place, you see. Certainly this is something I can change if it dwells inside me. And I know I can, I just need to give myself time to hash it out, to process it, to recognize who I am apart from keeping people happy or doing what is always expected. Like I am working for love, earning that paycheck of acceptance.
I was looking at a few ideas online about having a "life theme". That if you can figure out what your life theme is then you don't waist time running around doing a bunch of wrong things. This was why I could never decide on what I want to study in college, and when I consider going back, I have this fear that I will use so much time and money on something I really don't want to do in the long run. I know I want to do something, but I can't really pinpoint what that is. So my current goal is to get a goal.
I also found this list that you can fill out that helps you figure out your life theme. I won't get into all that right now but basically I think I have a passion to help people in some way. Because of the things I have been through I have a desire to let people know they are not alone, that their life and story matters, that in fact, being a human being is hard, for everyone. And that this is a journey we are on, and that they are not a lost cause because they haven't figure it out yet and reached this mystical destination.
But how does this translate into blogging or a job or a degree? I am not completely sure.
What I do know is that this is where the hard work is.
It's easy to just go through life ignoring things that need to be worked through, figured out, dug up.
I want to figure out what makes me come alive, what makes me tick, bring joy and is truly my bliss.
Being a mother is certainly part of that, but I am not afraid to tell you, that it is not the only thing either.