Still Married after 23 years
My twenty third wedding anniversary is looming this month. What amazes me is how my husband and I have lasted this long without killing each other! I am only joking, but it is true, how we got here to this point is is no small undertaking. There have been many ups and downs, plenty of tears and a whole lot of heartache along the way but we have made it inspite of everything.
We married young, I was 20 and he was 21. For those of you wondering...NO I was not pregnant, this was not a shotgun wedding. Everyone expected us to fail sooner versus later, but we went into this union as a couple and discussed every possible scenario that could befall us before we ever said I do. My husband and I have a connection that is beyond anything I know it is truly spiritual.
Not many young marraiges start out as ours did, we were both in college, we both worked full time and we both had a lot of growing up to do. There were times we barely saw one another, his fraternity buddies called at all hours of the day and night and my friends were looking for me to just go out and have a good time and through it all we remained commited to each other.
My mother in law got sick about 3 months after we were married, we got pregnant not long after that. I was not ready to be a mom but knew I could make it if he and I were in it together. We carried our child for 31 weeks when one day the baby stopped moving. The doctor confirmed our child passed away from a blod clot in the umbilical cord and our marraige was put to the test.
We turned to our faith to get us through that heart wrenching time in our young lives and with guidance from our priest we were able to get past that moment as a couple. We relied on him once again when my mother-in-law passed away 11 months later from breast cancer.
Over the years we added 3 babies, a house and ups and downs with jobs and careers moves but we managed to stay strong. Our son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and once again the floor dropped out from below us . I disvovered through support groups and online forums that many couples do not survive this but somehow we managed.
I do not advocate couples getting married at 20 and 21, I can tell you it is so hard emotionally, financially and socially but when it works it works. I do not think we have a magic formula for staying together but at 43 and a lot married life behind me...and a lot of married life ahead of me...I will say this
Love is not always that mushy feeling you have while first dating. Love is that comfortable feeling you have with someone. Being able to not wear make up or gain a few pounds knowing your partner still loves you and sees you for who you are. Those mushy moments come and go but the friendship and respect with true is always there.
You have to be best friends with your spouse. Communication is everything, your spouse may not always have the answers but at least if you can talk it all out you ahve a fighting chance at maintaining a long term relationship.
You have to realize that there is give and take and sometimes one person has greater needs than the other, there just has to be a balance.
Do not be afraid to fight, but when you do fight fairly. I can hold a grudge with the best of them and I have learned to let it go . The best part of fighting is finding a way to see past your personal I am right and you are wrong, there are 2 sides to every story.
Make sure you both have faith in the same things. Our faith is an intregal part of our relationship, but faith can be in just about anything it is about being on the same page.
And finally I have to say the hardest lesson for me to learn as a wife was to put my relationship first before the kids. My kids mean the world to me and I am a very involved and very hands on mom (not a helicopter mom) I needed to learn that once the kids go to bed we needed to have adult conversations about anything but the kids. More often than not we were both so tired that our conversations were did you watch the game? Both of us were sound asleep before the asnwers were fully given. Now that our kids are older, theoretically it should be easier to get back to more time for us but that is not always the case. Itis easy to get caught up in the kids lives still but we are managing to resurrect date night and carve soem time away.
I wil be honest there are times when the last person on the planet I want to be with is my husband. The man drives me absolutely insane at times, but that does not mean I want to throw in the towel...it just means I need a nap, vacation, to read a book , go out with a friend or any combination of these things.