Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hard work = Happy??

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!  And Especially to my hubby, because today is our 4 year anniversary!  I'm sure most of you read it on Facebook already, and will probably get sick of hearing about today from the two of us, but seriously, it's a really great time for us!

To understand how incredibly happy I am, you have to understand a little back story.

John and I dated and were engaged for almost 2 years before we were married.  And even though we had gone on trips together and had spent a lot of time together, and we took a "pre-marital" class with the most honest and true married couple out there....our first year married was difficult, to put it nicely.  Now, I know some people say "oh that's the honeymoon year!" Well, for us, that honeymoon phase lasted until we were back in Raleigh, the day we got back from our actual honeymoon. Short lived, I know.

That first year was tough.  And it was tough for both of us.  There were times I doubted if I had made the right decision, and times when he thought the same.  There were times when baggage each of us had brought to the relationship was overwhelming, and it seemed the easiest thing to do to was not work on the marriage aspect and just be content with living together for a while.  But, we got in a newlyweds class, read my favorite book we've read together to date "Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti" We talked with other newlyweds and amazingly, we all realized the same thing:

We're all going through the same thing!

If you're reading this, and thinking, 'wow, we've never been like that' then you're definitely different.  But for us, this first year contained so many things:  living together, in a tiny apartment that was way over priced, me working a new and extremely stressful job, John working his "normal" 8-5 stressful job, then getting laid off from said "normal" job, and deciding to start his own business, all thrown on top of the normal first year of figuring out what this "marriage" thing looks like.

Over time, we've learned how to talk to each other, especially in arguments, how to tell the other one they've gotta step it up, without making them feel defeated, that we're really different when we thought we were so much alike, and how to be happy in those differences.

Going into marriage, I knew things weren't going to be Cinderella and a Fairytale, but what I did know was that I wanted to be happy, and however that was to happen I wasn't sure, other than talk and work on it.  And that leaves a lot up in the air to "work on" and that just doesn't sound like much fun. 

I knew this was going to be hard coming in, but I really didn't know just how hard it was going to be.  And I don't mean it's been hard for me to deal with my husband, he's really great!  It has been hard, for me to realize that I do a lot of things wrong, and I'm pretty judgmental sometimes, hard-headed and stubborn, whiny..a lot, change my mind frequently, at times hard to understand, and had a massively exploded head in thinking how awesome I was. I had self confidence, and then I had massive ego.  Self confidence = good.  Ego = bad bad bad.

I realized that my husband reacts differently when I hurt his feelings than I would.  And while I know how to handle the way I would have reacted, I didn't know how to handle this man I molded him into, who couldn't see how great he was because I was too busy picking out the negatives and making them huge.  I didn't do it on purpose, but it seemed that when we disagreed, I was somehow able to make them a point to be noticed.  I realized that much of the things I didn't like about what he did...or didn't do, were reactions to things I had done to him.

How did we get through those things?

We had very very honest, very painful conversations...ones where we were not allowed to dispute the other person's points.  He would tell me deep things on how I had hurt him, and I had to sit there and take it, and not bite back.  And that was hard to hear.  And I sat and I listened, and I listened and I listened.  And if you've ever met my husband, you know he doesn't usually talk this much, so I knew it was bad if he had this much to say.  Later, I then told him some of the things that had hurt me, things I didn't expect to go how they were going, and how they shattered my idea of what a happy marriage looked like. And he listened, and he didn't bite back.

And at the end, we both were able to see that we needed to do a lot to change.

And today, 4 years after we were married, I can honestly say, that I have never been happier.  He is my very best friend, one who challenges me to be a better person, who accepts my faults, and loves me like crazy.   He still does things to impress me, and I love it.  We talk honestly and openly about our differences and are able to see how they make us mesh together perfectly.  I am happy because of the love and the life we have built together.

And if this is only 4 years, I can't wait to see what 10 years, what 25, 40, or maybe even 60 years looks like.

'Cause this is awesome!


  1. Aww... this made me smile. Happy anniversary! We enjoyed having John live with us before you guys got married, and I'm glad that God put you two together. Marriage takes work (a lot of it, at times), but it really is worth it. I'm sure that you will find the same to be true about raising kids, when the time comes. Love you guys!