Marriage is NOT like what we see on TV. It’s not the happily ever after you always want and usually get at the end of a movie. Our culture has set itself up for some HUGE unrealistic expectations.
When our expectations peak with a “pinterest perfect” wedding then collide with reality, we think we’ve married the wrong person. The chemistry collapses, the problems pile up, the stress disintegrates our bond, and our Happily ever after unravels. We think, “Our love is unique. Our love is different. NOBODY in history has EVER LOVED like we have!”
The abbreviated happy ending sets us up for failure, and delivers . . .
Through this journal, we hope to pass on the wisdom we have gained from almost twenty years of doing life together. Somehow, we never lost our spark long enough to give up.
In between the chemistry and the I do, Mike and I didn’t know that we should be learning HOW to be married. Knowing how to live with someone for the rest of your life doesn’t come naturally. We wished we would have sought out practical skills and tools to get us through this commitment called marriage. All we knew is that we had these intense feelings for each other and we couldn’t spend our lives apart. The only tools we brought to marriage were the ones passed on from the families that we had grown up in. Communication skills for me were non-existent. Literally, Mike was the one who taught me how to communicate. I was a classic Avoider. I liked people, but wasn”t very comfortable when they got emotional – Ummm, that’s kind of a big problem in marriage . . . not being able to handle emotional things. We were a train wreck just waiting to happen.
Mike would say his biggest blind spot was selfishness. From coaching wrestling all winter and summer, to playing softball, flag football, fantasy football (he’s on three teams this year), watching excessive college and NFL football – His life revolved around sports 24/7, 365 days a year. In any given season, it would have felt like death to his identity to ask him not to play or participate in one of these activities.
Selfishness would turn out to be a 15+ year wound in our marriage. Selfishness caused scar tissue to grow around my heart as high as a mountain.
We have since learned tools that have helped us get over our biggest hurdles and come out on the other side smiling, and I mean SMILING BIG. Our intimacy runs deep, our communication is rich, our commitment is rock solid. We always were committed, but we had to “choose” to be. My feelings of hurt told me to leave, my commitment to marriage gave me the boldness to face the pain, frustration and find a solution.
This is a journal of how marriage REALLY is. It’s Lovely and it’s messy. It’s like a roller coaster. Some years you know you LOVE each other. Others, you know you love each other, but you don’t LIKE each other.
We share the tools that carried us over the mountain of scar tissue and into the treasure valley. Treasures unfold in each other when you dig deep enough and long enough to uncover them.
Tools are the foundation of a healthy marriage. Imagine trying to build a house with only a hammer and nails. It would be fragile, unsteady, unsafe. This could probably describe most of the marriages that end in divorce. Two good-willed people in love and wanting a rich future together, but lacking the tools to get there.
Don’t give up, there are answers you haven’t discovered yet. And, on the other side of the pain is the pay-off. If you give up without getting the right tools for the right job, you’ll be building a new relationship with that same hammer and nails.