Celebrating 26 Years of Marital Lessons

This is a revised post from last year.  A follower suggested that I expand on each lesson, so throughout the month of June, I will elaborate.

Twenty-six years ago, June 4, 1988, 3:10 p.m. I walked down the aisle of Second Baptist Church In Atlantic City, New Jersey to exchange wedding vows with hubby.

Not one clue did I have about the amount of patience, love, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication needed to sustain 25 years of marriage and 30 years of friendship.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I deeply loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How that would occur was a mystery that I would later sort through.

My father-in-law performed the ceremony, which made the day even more special. Although Reverend Cain died in 2003, the blessings he bestowed upon our marriage is still present today.

We were young and naïve but very committed to respecting and loving the other. I the extrovert; a crazy out going and out spoken hot-head. The contrast was my laid back introverted husband who internalized and mulled over everything before speaking. Talk about a contrast! I have wondered, “How on earth did it work?” Maturity, time, prayer, maturity, time, and more prayer helped immensely. I learned to speak less; he learned to speak more. Somehow we found a solid balance.

While I cannot speak for hubby, the past 25 years has been an enlightening journey for me. A personal journey that included bumps , bruises, detours, and exciting discoveries. Childhood relationships with my parents and between my mom and dad affected my relationship with my husband with great surprise. I saw glimpses of characteristics that I liked and that I disliked. The realization that I, and only I was empowered to make changes about myself that needed to be made was a relief. Cycles… some are meant to be broken. The fact is that we don’t have to repeat what has been done before us. Some family traditions should end.

Sadly, I closely witnessed the shattering of too many marriages. I have never judged other marriages or thought that my marriage was better than another. I did, however, extract the lessons that I could from the failed marriages around me. So often spouses point the finger of blame, but don’t ask what did they bring to the table. In turn, my reality check is to stare in the mirror and ask, how am I doing? Do I need to make adjustments? Have I fallen off course?

Sometimes there are issues that exist within me, which require me to adjust and make changes. Other times, the pulse of our marriage needs adjusting– I think of it (the pulse) as a heart rate– Neither too fast or too slow is not good. I strongly believe that at least one person in every relationship, should have their finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times. The pulse being, the pace and mode of the relationship. Is it steady? Is it regular? How’s the vibe? Is it positive? Do things feel out of sync? They are just questions that have worked for me.

My point is that marriage is not easy. Point blank, it is hard work and by no means do I claim to be an expert. We’ve been blessed for 25 years and I hope and pray that we are blessed we a good 25 more years. While reflecting on the years, I came up with many lessons that I have personally learned. While this list could be longer, I dedicated one lesson for each year of our happy marriage.

Lessons I learned from 26 years of marriage:

  1. I learned that speaking my raw opinion, without considering hubby’s feelings was inconsiderate and to think before I speak.
  2. I learned that no matter how “I preferred” he do things, hubby is entitled and will do things the way he chooses to.
  3. I learned that I can only change and improve myself and that’s what I ought to work on.
  4. I learned that when you marry your spouse, you also marry your in-laws.
  5. I learned that just because you create babies together, doesn’t mean you will share beliefs on how to raise them. Your ideas on child rearing will differ. Compromise.
  6. I learned that your spouse will do things behind your back and you will do things behind his back.
  7. I learned that, if you allow it, children can take the sex right out a marriage.
  8. I learned that one of the two will always appreciate romance more than the other.
  9. I learned that saying, “I told you so” is unnecessary.
  10. I learned that somebody ought to know how to cook a decent meal.
  11. I learned that you will like some of your spouses friends and you will despise some of your spouses friends. You opinion won’t change his relationship with his friends.
  12. I learned that married family and friends will divorce. Try to stay neutral. Your harsh words may return and bite you in the butt.
  13. I learned not to compare my marriage to another marriage. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you cannot predict the future (of yours).
  14. I learned that solid marriages are built on friendships. Maintain a friendship with your spouse.
  15. I learned to establish and maintain my identity and independence.
  16. I learned to become educated, even if you wish to be a stay-at-home.
  17. I learned to expect the unexpected.
  18. I learned to plan for the future, but live everyday in the present.
  19. I learned why older couples like my parents slept in separate beds. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point.
  20. I learned that the affirmation, “A women’s work is never done” is true.
  21. I learned that husbands and wives should have separate clothing closets and bathroom sinks.
  22. I learned that spirituality is important to a marriage.
  23. I learned that spouses who work hard as a team can accomplish amazing feats and can overcome incredible obstacles.
  24. I learned that spouses who hang out together are genuinely happier couples.
  25. I learned that your spouse is not a mind reader. Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want. Tell your spouse what you want.
  26. Although another year has passed since writing this list, I learned that if you have an open mind and an open heart, there are still things to learn from your spouse.
  27. Hubby and I have shared 26 solid good years. Were the years always perfect? No, but we’ve always managed to work through our differences in the most respectful ways and treat the other the way we wish to be treated. I am thankful for the 26 shares we’ve shared and pray for 26 more.

Have a fabulous day!!

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June 4, 1988

 

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

Spontaneous trip to Cancun--celebrating an anniversary

Spontaneous trip to Cancun–celebrating an anniversary

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at a family picnic.    Lol!

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at an outdoor park. Lol!  Look at those heads!

 

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NYE Late 90’s. I was permed back then… wish I knew better.

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Random momology

This post is in good spirits; no complaints here!  I felt the need to share some of my random thoughts today.

Every single week I go about the business of being super mom.  No, I’m not trying in any way shape or form trying to be super mom, nor do I even like the term.   Apparently, it just comes off that way… or at least that’s what I suspect my family might be thinking.  Shame on them!  Maybe shame on me too!  Lol!

Predictably, Friday nights are dedicated to laundry.  Why?  Because I don’t want to deal with dirty clothes, etc… on my days off.  If I get it done by Friday bedtime (whatever time I collapse), then I’m set until the following week.

My family has the luxury, and that’s exactly what it is… a luxury of having nutritious, delectable, and balanced meals at least five to six days per week.  And… it’s usually on the table by 5ish!   No junk food!   No prefab unidentifiable dish from a box, but real homemade meals.  Did I mention that I work full-time outside of the home?  Just checking—sometimes I have to remind my family of this, fact.

Careful planning enables me to get more, but not everything, done than time really permits.  Sometimes I feel as though I really am squeezing blood from an onion.  Rarely do we run out of necessities such as bread, cereal, etc…   I am however, guilty of forgetting to pay the utility bills.   You know, gas and electric.  The big stuff that are difficult to live without.  I am dead serious.   As the official mail “sorter” if I don’t sort the mail, most of it it doesn’t get sorted, and if it doesn’t get sorted… well, you know the story. The utilities won’t get paid!  It’s absolutely absurd.  Embarrassing, but true.  There have been a few occasions where I happened to stumble on a disconnection notice… not due to lack of funds… but lack of time!  Yeah, I know I’m working on electronic bill pay for everything. I’m not quite comfortable with automatic and electronic deductions from my bank account, but I’m strongly considering the option.

Enough babbling!

Last Sunday, I decided to put ME first!

Normally, it’s the opposite.  I ate first.  No one in my home is interested in eating organic steel cut oats, with blueberries, flax-seed, wheat germ, and bee pollen, so I ate first and worked on breakfast later.  I did everything that I wanted to do first.  I happily and defiantly put everything that needed to be done off.  I even completed a six-mile run through the neighborhood.  I returned home at 5 p.m.   The same time that dinner is usually on the table.  I started dinner around 5:30 p.m.  Everyone was chillin and lying around like they didn’t have a care in the world, so I just took my sweet old-time.  Dinner ended up being served a little after 7 p.m. and while no one complained, they got to the table quicker than usual!  I like!

“Mom, you need 25/8,” were my daughter’s comments to me last night.  Referencing to Mary J. Blige’s new song, she recognizes that I’m a busy working mom.  Sidebar:  not much of an offer to ease the burden, but if you’re living with a young adult, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  (Chuckle)

While Mary needs 25/8 to love her man, I need 25/8  to handle my business.

Since I can’t get 25/8, I’ll simply fine-tune my priorities again.

On Sunday, putting me first and getting through my task list, including working out prevented self –inflicted anxiety and resentment.   Why self-inflicted?  Because I set goals for myself and when I don’t accomplish those goals, I tend to get frustrated. I don’t think anyone in the household consciously cares, they just subconsciously reap the benefits. No judgement; just an oberservation.

To make things easier at home, the past umpteen years, I’ve made major changes to my home/family routine.   Still- old habits die-hard!  Part of my problem, oops!  I mean “challenge” (I prefer to view so-called problems as challenges) is that I am a perfectionist.   I strive for it; I don’t try to be it.  I just want things done right not half-ass.

Delegating is an option, but I still want it done right.  Is that so bad?  Who defines what right is? Me?  Hmm… is that part of the issue?   Just thinking on paper…..

Now then, soon, I will be checking into a plush hotel for a “me” day and I’m going to do whatever I want to do; most likely nothing other than read or write.   In error, I told my hubby my plan, he said, “we” should do that.  “We?”  Who said anything about “we?”  This isn’t a “I’m going to entertain you day!”  It’s an “I’m going to entertain myself day.”  OMG!  Literally ROTFL!  (Rolling on the floor laughing)   Is that hilarious or what?  Of course I love my hubby and enjoy time with him, but sometimes we girls need time alone.  Since my home is always occupied, I will find a vacancy elsewhere.  The change in scenery will be good,  much-needed, and will perfectly recharge my battery.   Oh boy!  I can’t wait! Lol!