3 years in, and this is what I know.

It’s our anniversary and I really like this blog post about someone else’s anniversary. I think it says a lot of what I would like to say about our amazing first year of marriage! Thank you to “The Art in Life”!

The Art in Life

Today marks three years that I have been able to call James my husband. There are a lot of things that I still do not know at all about marriage or him or love. But three years in, here is what I know.

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I know that eating ice cream on the couch in sweatpants is totally a date, so is grocery shopping at 11 pm.

I know that sometimes I will cry about my clothes and he will not understand, and he knows to just back away slowly.

I know that it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me just because he leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor.

I know that, while I can survive on variations of exactly the same thing, for every meal, for all of time, he cannot.

I know that I become a fire breathing, flesh-eating, dragon-beast-woman when I go too long between…

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My Perfect Marriage

Our perfect wedding day!

This blog is about my perfect marriage. My perfect husband and I have been married for 6 months. We love each other so much and we never fight. We support each completely and we are going to live happily ever after.

Ok, so now I will tell the truth. I love my husband and I know he loves me. We do not always get along perfectly and we do not have a perfect marriage. Instead this post will be about letting go of my ideal of the “perfect” marriage.

If you have seen a couple recent posts I have written, you may have noticed my attempt at being disciplined in my life. Although this is not easy, it seems to be something I strive for in most parts of my life. I like to attempt to have control. This includes my relationship with my husband. I think I believe that things will only be good if we do everything we are supposed to do for a perfect marriage. What is the this list of things we are supposed to do? 1. Communicate about all important and unimportant things in our lives 2. Read the Bible and pray everyday and go to church every Sunday 3. Have dinner together everyday at the table 4. Never get upset with each other 5. Have a date night every week 6. Have a hobby that we can do together 7. Always take turns caring for the the dog 8. If we have children, we must never disagree about how to raise them 9. We must never disagree in front of the children and 10. Never forget our anniversary or any other special dates in our relationship. And so if we follow this list of 10 things then we will always have the perfect marriage.

I have now learned that is not the case. We cannot perfectly follow a list of 10 rules and we will not now and not ever have the perfect marriage. We will serve each other and we will be selfish. We will communicate and we will not talk to each other. We will agree and we will disagree. We will have ideals and we will fail to meet our ideals. Ultimately, we love each other and our love will grow in the many years we have together. Our love is not perfect and it will not ever be perfect.

But there is hope. We will struggle through our failures in our marriage. I know I need to let go of my ideals and my expectations of a perfect marriage. (I was reassured in this by this blog post.) We need to do what works for us. I need to let go of expecting my husband of being and doing something he is not. I need to let of expecting myself of being and doing something I am not. This is so hard when everyone else seems to be able to keep up and do everything and seemingly have perfect marriages and relationships. I also need to let go of comparing myself to everyone else!

Love looks different now then it did in the beginning of our relationship. I learned about how love looks in this blog post. In the beginning, we spent all our spare time together. We connected and we learned about each other. We watched movies and went out for dinner. Now we spend time discussing finances and cleaning up dog poo together. How our relationship has grown! Love looks different and that’s okay.

And finally, we must respect and reverence each other. This is not always easy. This is almost never easy. There are verses in the Bible that refer to the need for the wife to respect and reverence her husband (see this post). Although society might not agree, I need to respect my husband completely.  Even though I have to fight all the urges that I have to demand respect for myself only, I need to respect my husband always. Even as I write this, I am not exactly sure what that looks like. How can I respect my husband more? This is what I will spend some time working on.

I just finished reading comedian, writer, and actor Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? In it, she talked about her parents and their relationship. There was something about the way she described her parents as “pals”.  “My parents get along because they are pals. They’re not big on analyzing their relationship. What do I mean by pals? It means they mostly want to talk about the same stuff all the time. In my parents’ case, it’s essentially rose bushes, mulch, and placement of shrubs. They love gardening.” I like this. I like it because I like to over-analyze my whole life, which includes my marriage. She goes on to discuss the struggles between spouses and the work of marriage, “I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night….I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun….Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like.” I like this too. Maybe it is simplistic and there is probably more to it but it’s true.