Before you judge me, I ask that you read the entire post. I am not saying that marriage doesn’t need work, won’t require work, isn’t… work.
This post may also not be applicable to the percentage of people who are indeed married to assholes… that is a whole other subject. However, on the whole, I am absolutely sick of nagging women (and men) about their crappy spouses. I get sick to my stomach listening to people talk about their spouse that is too incompetent to be able to take care of their kids and who is constantly failing at every little thing (most of which involves the ability to be a mind-reader). In this all too common ritual, people wait for me to add my two-cents about my spouse.
I don’t add anything. Rarely, I might laugh about how a clothes-hamper can be a foot away, yet my spouse might drop his clothes next to the hamper on the floor. That is it… that is the largest of my complaints about my spouse. And one that is clearly not a source of contention in our marriage.
So why don’t I have a complaint list about my spouse? It isn’t because he is perfect… it is because I know that I certainly am not either. I think relationships require less work when you can look at a situation and question yourself first.
A lack of appreciation for your spouse causes all sorts of issues. I truly believe that it is the ultimate cause of divorce. If people appreciated each other more, people wouldn’t be as likely to cheat, to lie, or to become unhappy in the relationship or as an individual.
I have always said, “It is a lot easier to love someone when you can appreciate them for who they are, instead of how you think they ought to be.”
The next time that you think about wanting to nag on your spouse, pick a fight, make a comment of what you would like them to do or how you would like them to be, Think SLAP (ha, no – don’t slap your spouse): STOP. LOOK inward. ASK yourself why you want him/her to be something that they aren’t? Is it petty? Is it an internal problem with yourself that is coming through externally? Is it insecurity? Are you a power hog? Do you feel the need to own him/her? Do you like when your spouse treats you that way? POSITIVE Redirect: think about all of the good things in your spouse. Do you really want to continue to push him/her away?
- Look Inward
- Ask yourself
- Positive Redirect
If you choose to see the beauty in your differences and acknowledge how those differences can strengthen your marriage, raise better children, and make you a better person – you will experience more satisfaction in your marriage and in having to live with yourself (because nobody feels good about being a negative person).
I believe a strong marriage involves two people who are excited to witness each other’s lives. That doesn’t always mean sharing every moment together. It doesn’t mean molding the person into your ideal version of them. It involves two people who want to help each other reach goals, dreams, hopes, and desires. A great marriage helps take the weight of the world off of each other’s shoulders and helps carry the burden.
If you are constantly wanting to change your spouse – be careful, because eventually you won’t recognize him/her. They won’t be the person you fell in love with in the first place ; that person will no longer exist.
So, I won’t work on my marriage… I’ll continue to work on myself. I’ll continue to improve on being a wife, being a lover, being a friend. I’ll continue to work on how I treat my husband, my thoughts towards my husband, and the way I communicate with my husband. And, I’ll continue to reap the rewards of witnessing his life and enjoying this person I’ve been blessed with in which I get to share my life.
When was the last time you took a deep breath and took the time to feel the air fill your lungs? In through your nose, out through your mouth – felt your chest rise and fall – allowed yourself to truly relax in the vessel that carries your soul.
Recently, I was listening to a college classmate give a speech. In the beginning of his speech he said,
“Time is the most precious gift.”
– Jordan McCormick
The moment these words left his mouth – I had chills. Instantly, my life was in review.
I often think about how life seems to get faster and faster. I reflect on my ability to just ‘go through the motions.’ How often do I allow myself to truly live in the moment? How often do I allow myself to feel emotions in their truest form? How often do I take the time to listen – truly listen to other people… my nieces and nephew, my husband, my colleagues, my friends? How often do I sit and allow myself to happily exist in my own presence, in the presence of my Maker? Rushing through the shower in the morning, being bogged down through work, making supper, tending to other people’s needs, sleeping – repeat. Eat, Shower, Work, Drive, Cook, Clean, Sleep, Repeat. How many times in a day did I take to breath, be thankful, be grateful, be happy?
Time is the one thing that we cannot get back. Money can always be made. We are torn on a pendulum between getting as much done in a day and wasting endless amounts of time. We trick ourselves into feeling like we are busy and we trick ourselves into thinking that we were incredibly productive. Of course, feeling productive is positive and who doesn’t love getting a bunch of things crossed of the list? But, when it comes to the value of life, productivity is relative. We convince ourselves that these are the most important things to get done. Shouldn’t we add to the list: to smile, to hug, to breathe?
We cannot rewind time, can only review it. When you look back, will you be happy with your decisions? Will you be happy with what you accomplished, with the relationships you made – maintained – lost, will you be happy with how you spent every minute of your time. Will you wish that you had more time?
If you knew that you were going to die within one year, would you live differently today? If you knew that this was your last day with your significant other, would you treat him/her differently? Would all the little things bother you or would you start to appreciate the quirks and the uniqueness? I challenge you to make the most of time, appreciate each moment and show others as much love while you can.
This post is a bit different from my others. Typically a light-hearted person, I am very passionate about this. Please know that I am writing this for the millions of women out there who are touched by this issue and I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in our country.
I am a young woman in my child-bearing years. I have been married for 3 ½ years to the love of my life and like many of you, from the time that my husband proposed, people have been asking when we will be having kids. At first, I laughed it off, rolled my eyes, or even sometimes gave a serious answer on our future plans. As time goes on, I am torn between keeping quiet and saying what I feel – even though many may not understand why I feel the way I do.
When you start off in marriage (especially at a young age) you don’t foresee the inability to have children. You don’t plan that you or your spouse will experience health issues. You don’t realize how often miscarriages happen and how common they truly are. You don’t think that the sheer fact of getting pregnant is a miracle in itself and some people struggle for years and years.
Everyone else assumes that you want children right now or that you even want them at all. They assume you can have children. They assume that you haven’t already been trying. They assume you are healthy enough to have children.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (2011), “the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance.” This number includes the number of pregnancies – not people who miscarriages touch. This means the number of people who have experienced a miscarriage could be much larger. Personally, I know over 30 women who have experienced the devastation of a miscarriage.
The truth is – I cannot think of a way to say this without offending anyone. The truth is – I know that many won’t understand why I feel so strongly about this. It is a private matter, but both my husband and I have health issues that we are working to get figured out. No, none of them are regarding fertility that we know of… but, at this point, we have so much on our plate and we aren’t certain whether these issues will affect a baby – so we are choosing to wait. Every day that someone asks me about our plans, I cringe. If I tell them the answer I just gave – they also assume that I opened the door to talk about our health issues.
I’ve watched friends of mine be asked when they want kids and the person asking them doesn’t realize that they wanted kids years ago, but the fertility drugs aren’t helping. I’ve known a couple that the topic of pregnancy was such an issue in their marriage that their love life was on the rocks. I’ve known friends who have missed work due to a miscarriage and then were asked the next week why they don’t have children yet. I’ve been asked if there are plans for children in the near future in a meeting with colleagues at work. I’ve had pregnant people ask me if I was pregnant because I wasn’t drinking – in front of a group of people I don’t know. Please, practice empathy, people. Last time I checked, you weren’t involved in everyone else’s life or love life (harsh I know.. but it is the harsh reality of how I feel).
I watch as these individuals hold back the tears. I sit in silence as they cry inside. If the question is burning in your mind and you simply cannot hold back from asking – maybe you should start out with a simple, “do you want children?” You may want to think about leaving it at that. If the other party chooses to share more, that is great. If not, don’t push it.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to wait to have children – for any reason. There is nothing wrong with seeking some medical help to conceive. And as taboo as it is to say, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to have children at all. The problem lies within people thinking that you must make things happen on their timeline.
If you’re pregnant or have children already – feel blessed. It is a miracle and remember that it is not so easy for all other women and couples. Some people are tormented by the thought that their own bodies don’t allow them to conceive. Others are tortured with being on fertility treatments. People feel inadequate – men and women alike. There are pressures all around and though most of it is innocent, please don’t add to the pressures of other people’s hardship. Look at your children and recognize that not everyone is blessed with a natural conception and labor. Hug them and hold them – teach them empathy and understanding.
Children are a blessing from God. Don’t misconstrue my frustration and think that I don’t like or don’t want children – it is simply an overused and abused question. It is an emotional topic. I pray that this change can start with me and can spread to everyone else. I say these things out of love for my hurting friends. I say these things out of frustration for having to over-explain myself to others. I say these things out of hope for the future generations and their ability to empathize and foresee how their words & actions will affect others.
A letter to myself:
If I could go back in time (and not necessarily change a thing) and have the opportunity to have an hour with myself… I would have told myself that:
It gets better. Life is SO much bigger than high school. When Mom tells you that this is just an inch out of your miles of life, she is right. Anyone who tells you that these are the best days of your life is wrong. High School should not be the best days of your life. Sure, it is nice to not have much -if any financial responsibility. Yes, it is fun to be able to do whatever you want, eat whatever you want, play sports, do music, theatre, hang out with your friends… the world is at your fingertips. But, the drama – the rules, they all can go away. You can change your life, your course of direction. There is a certain empowerment to having responsibility and growing as an adult. There is a certain freedom to choosing all of your friends and what you do with your time. There is a certain energy that comes with feeling fulfilled and building a successful life.
Quit feeling like you need to please everyone.
Keep your close, real friends close and keep your enemies far away. Be true to your true friends. There is no reason to drown yourself in trying to keep everyone happy or worrying about people who don’t want what is best for you.
Quit worrying about looking stupid. Everyone looks stupid in high school at some point.
Spend more time building your future than worrying about what your friends and classmates think. If you like something that is unpopular – do it, wear it, be it… quit caring what other people think; the only thing you care about is how you make them feel.
Have fun. Don’t take life so seriously that you don’t try new things… now is the time to try new things. As you get older, it is harder both physically, financially and socially to just dive into something new. People are more apt to mentor younger people. If you haven’t “found yourself” yet, it is okay – everything you do is getting you there. If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will be able to take you seriously.
It is okay to dislike high school, but try your hardest to make the most of it.
You were right for not giving into peer pressures of any stupid nonsense. Yes, part of a teenagers rite of passage is to be young & dumb – but, don’t feel like you’re cooler for playing the’ passing out game’, smoking, huffing, taking diet pills… it is all bullshit.
Keep that backbone. It is okay to ask questions, to wonder if something is right or accurate – to want to know the source. So ask whatever to whomever. It doesn’t matter who you are talking to – we are all people.
Understand that many girls are jealous… be you, anyway.
Always have class. Don’t break up other relationships.
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t give yourself away for free and try not to tempt the boys with your body, instead challenge them with your mind.
Don’t feel like you need to give yourself in order to get a guy. Be strong in this. Know that there are no “real men” in high school… a ‘man’ takes years and many experience to build. Although there can be good guys in high school and some people do find their future spouse there, most others are thankful that God blessed the broken road (from their high school relationships.)
Don’t start banter about other girls. Life is hard enough for us the way it is – we don’t need to make it harder for each other.
You’re not better than anyone else; nor is anyone else better than you. Don’t let anyone else make you feel inferior.
You don’t want to plateau in high school (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). You have so much more to look forward to.
Although your problems feel like they are big, (and it is not to say that you’re wrong in how you feel), try to globalize yourself to realize that most of your issues are petty, first-world problems that other people would love to be able to complain about.
Learn to let things go. Holding grudges isn’t healthy and your enemies will love to know that you’re so bothered by them.
Don’t solve temporary problems with permanent solutions. My Mom always said, sleep on it. It is amazing how one sleep, the rise of a new sun can shape the way you feel. Problems that were mountains yesterday are mole hills today.
You’ve been conditioned to think that TV is reality. It is not. You don’t have to fit into the media’s objectivity of women. Men don’t really act like that. Dates are not like The Bachelor set-ups.
Deep breath, sunshine… it all works out okay.
- High school is a short time in your life. It gets better afterward.
- Don’t worry about looking stupid, just don’t be stupid.
- You can’t please everyone.
- Be kind to others, but quit caring what they “think” of you.
- Have fun.
- Make the most of it.
- Ask questions. Make sure things make sense to you.
- Be you.
- Be classy.
- Don’t give yourself away.
- Don’t start rumors.
- We’re all equals.
- Keep growing.
- Know the world is bigger than you.
- Sleep on it. Don’t make irrational decisions based on high emotion.
- TV is not reality.
Marriage is about the coolest thing ever. Your spouse is the only person in your entire life that you get to choose. You don’t get to choose your parents. You don’t get to choose your siblings or own children, but God gives us the opportunity to choose a spouse. I feel so honored and blessed to have found my husband and to know that he chose me. Yes, marriage takes work. If you don’t put it above all other relationships (other than your relationship with God), it will be harder than you know.
I remember growing up – my dad always told me,
“When you go to choose a spouse, be sure to choose someone who you want as a teammate… someone you can work with, someone who is your friend. You have to work at your relationship for it to work.”
My parents don’t have the perfect relationship – no one does… but, it is strong and I am happy that they gave me the advice to work at my marriage.
If you have a spouse, be sure to look at him/her and remember why you fell in love. Remember how blessed you are to be his/her chosen one and how cool it is that you found each other.