It’s funny, with Valentine’s Day just having passed and all the love in the air from THAT, I wanted to go into what marriage and romance ISN’T for me. Here’s the thing, I used to really get into Valentine’s Day. I wanted a big production and dinner plans and fancy red dresses and some type of jewelry gift. I wanted the fairytale version of Valentine’s Day that you see on TV, the one where the guy presents you with THAT piece of jewelry and you swoon in front of a fire. Long story short, it was important to me.
Then all of a sudden it wasn’t.
We had kids and the effort went into them. I got them gifts and themed clothing and was happy for a dinner out with my husband. I didn’t care if he got me a gift or not, because when you are married you share money and save up for exciting things like Disney vacations, not diamond jewelry. I enjoy a well written note in a card and homemade Valentine’s from my babies. I enjoy a dinner out when we get a babysitter, most likely not anywhere near a holiday or event, but it’s still really special. It’s special because a night out alone is rare. It’s not that I don’t love a surprise gift or a bunch of red roses, it’s just not necessary. I don’t need the bells and whistles, because what we have now is deeper than it was when I did require it. He doesn’t need to PROVE his love to me, I know it is by his daily actions.
You see, there’s always talk about what marriage is, but I kind of like the thought of what marriage ISN’T, you know? I find it more powerful and it means more to me, personally.
Marriage isn’t a fairytale. You don’t get married and head off into the sunset and live happily ever after. It takes work. Sometimes it works and things are wonderful and awesome, and sometimes it’s hard and you don’t really like each other all that much. And that’s okay! Marriage is hard and wonderful all at the same time. I can love and hate my husband in the same breath, depending on whether or not he put my throw pillows back looking pretty or not (#petpeeve).
Marriage isn’t what he can do for you. I used to be like this! I thought about how he would fail me or what he was doing wrong, and never gave a lot of thought about what I could do for him. I was selfish and a score keeper. I would do something nice for him and wait for him to notice and either applaud how wonderful I was, or do it back. (Spoiler, that didn’t happen.) Now I do things for him because I want to. I’m not looking to rub it in his face or get something back, I do it to help and make his life easier.
Marriage doesn’t complete you. While I do think my husband and I compliment each other really well, and that he has made me a better person, I don’t think he completes me. Only I can do that for myself. If you wait for someone to be your everything you will be disappointed. I have to be enough for myself and complete in my own way, before I can be the best mom and wife I can be. It’s a work in progress. I work on myself, he works on himself, and we work on our relationship continuously.
Marriage isn’t showing each other your best side all the time. You know how in the beginning you always dress up and act in a way that shows off your best side? Perhaps you sleep in your makeup and wake up early to brush your teeth? That’s not marriage. You see, my husband and I have seen each other at our worst. Seriously. He’s seen me give birth, act like a lunatic yelling at our kids, and behave like an psycho to him. He has seen me act horribly, and he still loves me. (And I him, ha.) Marriage is seeing someone in all their facets and loving them through it. It’s knowing someone as well as you know yourself, and accepting them, warts and all. I really love this part, it is the most comfort you can get ever, knowing that you can be your true self and have zero judgment.
Marriage isn’t constantly sharing your feelings all the time. I’ve personally found that it’s better for me NOT to say everything I think, particularly when it’s mean. You see, I’m pretty quick to get irritated. I read into things and get snarly and lash out. I used to bring up all my complaints ALL the time, and that was awful. It solved nothing! Now I save it for the stuff that matters. You see, when you live with someone you can get annoyed a lot. We raise kids and work and run a house, it’s natural. We are two different people and do things that the other may not love. I bite my tongue more than I used to, and I know he does, too. If something is really bothering me and I’ve thought about it a bit, we talk, but I find that I’m not annoyed as much if I wait a hot minute to bring it up. The result? We barely fight, and when we do it is something really important and we solve it. We don’t bicker daily or yell, really ever. I like this.
Marriage isn’t a romance novel. You guys KNOW I love reading romance novels, they are my THING. They aren’t real, though. (My book boyfriends are real, though, obviously;) Life isn’t always love-y dove-y and full of over the top romance. I don’t need a bed full of rose petals or a song sung to me in a public place. (The mess! The embarrassment!) I like cuddling in bed watching TV and catching his eye across the room and smiling. I like living our life together and being really content. I like knowing that each year has gotten better and better, our love deeper and stronger. I don’t need a grand gesture, I just need him to watch the kids so I can go to Target, and his support while taking endless Instagram pictures, and a day date while the kids are in school. It’s the little things at this point, not the over the top crazy stuff.
Tell me, what do you think marriage (or a relationship), isn’t?