Our third wedding anniversary was this past Wednesday, and I started thinking (always a scary thing). What makes a marriage work? Articles in magazines and books about relationships seem to alternately over-simplify or over-complicate them.
I have teenage daughters, and the advice I give them is to treat their boyfriends the same way they treat their friends. They worry if they haven't heard from the boy in a few hours, or they get mad if he doesn't call when they think he should. I ask them, "Does it bother you when your girl-friends don't call?" The answer is invariably "No". It shouldn't matter anymore or less when he doesn't. (This example applies only early on in a relationship) Ladies, we are all guilty of this at one time or another. We shouldn't analyze everything to the "nth" degree. (I know I do this, so this is therapeutic for me to write.) Sometimes our problems are caused by worrying that there's going to be a problem.
I have learned a great deal about healthy relationships since I've been with Randy. (This is where it is helpful to be married to a man who is older or just insightful) He has taught me how to trust my own judgement, love things about myself I once hated, and best of all, how to be a better parent. In our home, we do not allow the children to jokingly insult one another. It tears down self esteem. Trying to soften the blow of a cruel comment with "I was just joking" does nothing for that little voice in our subconscious that says "you aren't good enough." If anyone out there has ever played on a sports team of any kind, you know what we do to ensure that we get the best out of our teammates. We high-five, or hit knuckles. We tell each other "good job, nice hit." If you want something for yourself, do something for someone else. Building each other up instead of tearing each other down helps us achieve our own personal goals in life. We all need someone in our lives to be our cheerleader. Randy is mine.
I think the "secret " to our marriage is that we really, truly "do" for each other. We don't keep track of who has done what. Sure, there are days and sometimes, weeks when one of us will do more than the other. It always works out. I prepare, and serve him his dinner. Before I get my own. Not because he's "the man" or because my needs are less important than his own, but because I love him. It doesn't hurt me to do that. It doesn't cost me anything. It is a small token of my love and appreciation. In turn, he lets me sleep in and brings me coffee. In bed. Almost every morning. (I do not cook every night.) I will offer him the last serving of my favorite food instead of eating it myself, for all the same reasons. And I love him even more because when he found out that I do that, he now insists that he will not have that last serving of my favorite food.
We argue. We get our feelings hurt and I'm sure there are times when I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to walk out the front door and never look back. Randy is the one person who can cut me to the quick with his anger, and he is the one person who can make me feel like I am the most intelligent, beautiful, sexy woman in the world. That is what happens when you love someone. You are sometimes vulnerable, and sometimes invincible. The people you love, whether they are your parents, children, best friend or spouse, help to mold you into the person you are. Randy, in so many ways has helped to mold me into the person I am today. I love him with every ounce of my being every minute of every day. Most importantly, Randy has taught me how to love myself just as much.