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Thursday, November 15, 2012

The 23 Year Lesson

One of my favorite guest bloggers is back! You all met Mrs. G when she did a guest post for me while I was bonding with my new baby boy. I love her post about what she has learned in her 23 (wow, right?!) years of marriage. I think all married couples can relate to this in one way or another. Thanks for guest posting Mrs. G!

As I approach my 23rd wedding anniversary, I can’t help but reflect on some things.  (We looked like babies!) 

First of all, everyone said it wouldn’t last. I think that my parents didn’t actually believe it would last. My dad told me I was welcome to move back home any time, as long as hubby came with me.  Well, what good would that do? That was my dad’s way of letting me know I would need to work it out, and could no longer depend on him to fix things for me.   

Second, when I got married, I had no idea what I was doing.  

I thought I knew, because I was the baby of the family, had always gotten my way, and knew better than anyone else about everything. And I was really good looking. So was he! 

Regardless, a really amazing man married me. And he is still married to me. Does he want to strangle me sometimes? Absolutely. Do I want to strangle him? Oh yes. But, over the years, he has managed to teach me a few things. Don’t tell him I said that.

Laughter really is the best medicine. One thing my husband is really good at, is seeing the humor in every situation. Even the ones that aren’t very funny. Maybe they aren’t funny when they are happening, but the next day, or when you tell someone about it, it can be very funny. If you can find the humor in every situation, it makes it more bearable. If you can’t find the humor, email me. I’ll find it for you.

Don’t waste your mad on things out of your control. If you don’t have the ability to directly control something, it makes no sense to get mad about it. You can’t control your family or your in-laws. They have their own kind of crazy.  Make the best of it. You can’t control the idiot in the car next to you. Keep your cool and be safe. You can’t control that a lady with 42 items got in the 15 item line. Strike up a conversation with the person behind you, you might learn something. That goes to my next point.

You can learn something from anything and anyone.  Maybe you learn that you want to be more like someone. Maybe you learn you don’t ever want to be like a person. Maybe you learn more about a process. Maybe you have a better understanding of a situation. Maybe you learn a bit of trivia you can use at your local trivia spot one night. Open your mind, and you’ll learn something. I think the distraction of having a smartphone has made it harder to learn from others. We aren’t so willing to interact with others, or even eavesdrop on conversations. My best conversations start with “I don’t mean to intrude, but I couldn’t help but hear you say…..”

Sometimes things work themselves out.  This is a nice way to say that sometimes, procrastination is good. When I get all worked up about a situation (something I couldn’t control), I want to handle it right away. He would say let’s just wait and see. Usually he was watching the Braves or the Hawks when this wisdom was uttered. And, sometimes the situation would smooth itself out. If it didn’t, we had a better handle on dealing with it, because we were able to think it through.

Every email doesn’t have to be answered right away. Especially if the email is not nice.  We deal with a lot of people in our community volunteer work, and some people use the facelessness of email to just unload on us, or a group of us. Hubby always waits at least 24 hours to respond. This takes the emotion out, and allows him to study it from all sides before responding. Sometimes, the offending email has a valid point, even if the delivery was wrong. 

Opposites do attract.  I’m direct, he’s tactful. I’ll tackle a situation and handle it; he’ll back off, slide around it, then handle it. I talk a lot, he doesn’t. I can type really fast, he can’t. He is athletic, I’m not. I am able to see the immediate effect of an action, he can see the long-term effect. 

I’m not right all the time. Gosh that hurt. I don’t have anything else to say about that.

Be nice.  I try to be nice all the time. Well, most of the time. Okay, at least once a day. Sometimes, people are…..difficult…. and it’s hard to be nice. I let him deal with those people. I deal with the people who are not…difficult…., they agree with me understand me. That’s just another way of saying he is tactful, and I’m not. However, I know that I’m not tactful, and he has helped me to see that sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut. I don’t always do that, but I do know when I should – most of the time. In delicate situations. 

There are some things we agreed on, right from the beginning.

We believe that faith is an important part of our relationship. I know how he’ll react to things because I know where his faith lies. I’m not surprised. We pray to the same God, and he is our intermediary on hurt feelings. I think that couples who have differing faiths must have trouble dealing with some things.

We  love our children, unconditionally. Regardless. Does that mean that we let them do whatever they want? Absolutely not. Discipline was another thing we agreed on, and we discipline firmly and often. Do we pick our battles with our children and realize that some things have to be experienced? Yes. And we believe it is okay for them to fail or be embarrassed every now and then. That is how they learn to be responsible citizens. My mom always said you raise a child until they are 13, after that, you can only guide them. We won’t always be there to hold their hand. One day, they’ll need to hold ours. We need to make sure they are prepared for that.

We wouldn’t bad-mouth each other to our friends or our families. If I’m upset with him, I don’t need to tell my friends or parents. I’ll get over it, but they’ll always remember what I said about him. Likewise, we let our children fight their own battles with their friends. We give them advice on how to handle it, but we don’t get involved. Our kids will get over their disagreements, but we will always remember what another parent said about our child, if we give them the opportunity to say it.

What is different now than 23 years ago?

Our fights. We just don’t have the energy to fight anymore. Plus, we’re so busy with the children, we can’t remember why we disagreed when we actually have some time to talk.  That goes back to sometimes things just work themselves out.

Our love. Compared to how I love him now, it seems I didn’t know how to love him 23 years ago. 

Where we put our energy. Back then, it was all about us. Doing whatever we wanted to do for ourselves. Now, it is all about the kids, their activities, and the volunteer work we do.  We don’t have any energy left.

Is it easier?  Yes and no.  We understand each other better. But being married and staying married is a decision you make every day, consciously or unconsciously. Putting someone else ahead of yourself is also a decision you make every day. Several times a day. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Here we are on my birthday last week. We are out to dinner, by ourselves! And, we were able to have a conversation that did not center around our children.

My dad gave hubby some good advice 22 years ago. Daddy told him there would be times he would have to decide if he’d rather be right, or he’d rather be happy. He’s made me happy. I’m looking forward to the next 23+ years.


  1. LOVE IT!!!!! 23 yrs????? How did that happen?

  2. Very well said!! I loved reading every word. I will be bookmarking this one for referencing in the future.


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