Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Seven marriage things that have worked and seven that haven't

Yesterday marked seven years of marriage for us. This year has not been one of the easier ones on many levels but we're here, looking forward to the next year in this world together. Speaking of the future...when we were engaged and going through all the hoopla, I was told or read many pieces of  time honored advice and closely held convictions of others about what marriage is or should be. If we would have listened to them over doing what worked for us, we'd be sunk. The truth is every marriage is different. Every couple is different. You have to do what works for you. Chart your own course. 

These things have not worked for us.
1. Don't go to bed angry. Fuck that! Fuck that right now. We've gone to bed angry many nights, sometimes more than one night in a row. Marriage and life in general are complicated. Some shit is a big deal and takes time to sort through. Having to pretend to not be angry anymore before bed would go up my ass sideways. 
2. Keep date night. We're married. Isn't every night date night? 
3. Keep her happy with flowers. I appreciate them, especially when they are the cheapies from Produce Junction but am totally okay with buying my own. I'd take no dishes in the sink over a pretty bouquet any day of the week. 
4. A house is not a home without children. It is a home. Sometimes it's more than one. Wink wink to everyone out there who thinks they have the okay to comment on the reproductive choices of others. We don't need kids to start a family. We are a family. 
5. Nobody likes a nag. Nobody likes shit that doesn't get done for days. If I asked for it to be done and it's not done, you'll hear about it whether you're my husband, my contractor, or God. 
6. Be everything to each other. Good for you, not for us. See number four below. Also, MFD is not my best friend and I am not his. We are very good friends though. 
7. Act like divorce is not an option. It is an option. It's good when you know you'd choose to stay. That is not possible in some situations and I'm not participating in that farce. 

Things that have worked in our marriage: 
1. Share experiences, not gifts. I am a practical gift giver, which is not MFD's favorite. He is an expensive gift giver, which gives me anxiety. We both enjoy shared experiences, dinners out, travel, etc. much more, so that's what we do now. Or we buy what we want and say thanks, you got me this and I really love it.
2. Not freaking out over being out of sync. Life is long. So is marriage. It'll come around. It will require some work like all things worth having, but it'll come around. 
3. Sit beside each other in pain. You can't fix some things, you can't take away pain, you can't solve things, you can't heal things but you can sit and BE there through it. You are the constant and the constant is enough. 
4. Space. We do not do everything together. I cannot think of something either of us would hate more. 
5. Appreciating the little things. The little things add up to more than the big things.
6. Practicing self care. If one of us is not doing that, our marriage buckles under the imbalance. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else - including being there for your partner. 
7. Laughter, always. 

Here's this year's collage - see this anniversary collage in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
1 - 9/24/16 whale watching in Cape May; 2 - 9/25/16 anniversary sunrise in OCNJ;  3 - October 2016 Powerscourt Waterfall in Wicklow, Ireland; 4 - November 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland; 5 - December 2016 at Crystal & Drey's wedding; 6 - New Year's Day January 2017; 7 - February 2017, a 70 degree day prompted a trip to the beach with the dogs; 8 - March 2017 a frigid day to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and see Book of Mormon; 9 - April 2017 Regina Brave event at the Peace Center; 10 - May 2017 a cold Memorial Day weekend at the shore; 11 - June 2017 in Corsons Inlet; 12 - July 2017 in Emerald Isle, NC after a few days in Ocracoke; 13 - August 2017 Friday afternooning in the North End; 14 - 9/24/17 late anniversary eve on the beach

What works and doesn't for you? 


Linking up with Lauren & Bre



42 comments:

  1. I love the what works & doesn't work for you guys. I really feel like the going to bed not angry is so outdated. Sometimes you just have to be mad, it's a lot healthier to actually work through it than to just pretend everything is okay. You've also taken some really awesome trips!

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  2. I love this post. I totally agree about the gifts - we like to do experience things now too, or we have specific "wants" that become a Christmas or birthday gift because it makes sense to channel the money into that. I also agree with the flowers, the need for space, and self care. And like you, my husband is not my best friend (although I'm not sure if any one person fits that category completely anyway). He is absolutely the person I love with my whole heart, and he is my partner in life.
    Hope you guys had a wonderful anniversary weekend relaxing. <3

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  3. This is brilliant. Amen to everyone is different. Do what works for you. Amen on having no kids ! Obviously I chose to have kids. But , Pop , going on 87 , when he says he's so happy he has kids, I say you are the reason we are here, he says- sex has no conscience!! Ugh. Jesus. Mary. And Joseph. God help us all.
    Happiest anniversary, the best continues to come. Love. Your. Momma

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  4. Yes to this friend. I totally agree with experiences over gifts, appreciating little things, walking together through pain, and SPACE. Yes, you need space. Happy Anniversary <3!

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  5. We are just about twins when it comes to what does NOT work. We go to bed angry. Sorry not sorry. When I'm tired I am NOT looking to reconcile or compromise- just let me sleep. Kyle tends to wake up in a good mood and most of the time the argument just goes away.
    Also, this damn blog world makes me feel TERRIBLE that we don't do date nights very often... but we live, sleep and work together. Sometimes we actually need anti-date nights. Lol
    Kyle (and I) gets PISSED when someone implies that our family isn't a family because we're kid-less. STFU, folks.

    Space and laughter are 100% the key to our marriage :)

    Happy Anniversary!!! Congratulations on 7 years!! <3

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  6. You should send this into one of those wedding websites because it's all true. Engaged couples need to read more things like this!
    Happy anniversary!!

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  7. I totally agree with you that just because something works for one couple does not mean that it's going to work for everybody because people really are so different and every relationship is different. I love that y'all give experiences and not gifts and that you also appreciate a little time apart. That's definitely one of mine and Chris's big things too!

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  8. I love everything about this, Steph. It's "You do you" and we'll do us. Well said. Here's to another trip around the sun together.

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  9. Happy Anniversary! John tried the flower one at the beginning, but I hate them so he stopped. I mean, they're fine but I feel like they're a waste of money and they die and they're a pain in the ass to clean up when they do. Just plant them in the ground in our yard and call it a day! We also go to bed angry because we're both people who just need to stew internally for awhile and then a few hours later we're like 'well that was dumb, moving on.'
    I'm a believer in sharing experiences and not gifts too, but John likes things to open on Christmas. Like a child, it drives me batty. So I just started getting consumables and small things and necessities like socks and then he gets to open Hawkeye's gifts. And I took a page out of your book and wrapped empty boxes so it looks more full under the tree lol.

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  10. I agree SO HARD with the "does not work" list. I hate when people say divorce is not an option. Hello I am not a slave to my marriage, thank you.

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  11. Truth on all of this!!! It is crazy to look at the advice for new couples that is out there. Most of the stuff people suggest is straight up ridic! I used to think going to bed angry is a bad thing. But honestly??? It has probably saved my marriage a few times. Usually if we have had several hours to stew and think about things...it is a lot easier to deal with later. Sometimes, it isn't even an issue when I wake up and realize I was just being an idiot or he realizes he was or whatever. And a family looks different for everyone. I hate when people assume it has to involve kids. No, no it doesn't. Laughter and being there for one another, that is what I think is most important. Happy seven years and cheers to many more!

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  12. Digging your list way more. Happy #7!!!

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  13. I don't have to tell you how on board I am with this list! Happy anniversary!

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  14. I think the "keep date nights" recommendations is more for couples with kids because lets face it, they're the common enemy against any marriage. At least that's what my husband and I call our kids. Happy Tuesday!

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  15. Don't be a nag---that has me laughing. You are so right, not everyone has the same relationship.so why would you treat them all the same? This is a great post!!

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  16. This is great! I agree wholeheartedly with #6 on the didn't work list and #4 does work list. My husband is definitely not my best friend and we both need lots of space. Which makes it sound like we never spend any time together - Maybe that's our secret? ;-)

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  17. this is exactly how our marriage is like as well and we celebrated 14 years earlier this month.

    I don't get the whole "don't go to bed angry" business because sometimes all you need is a good sleep (and some time alone) to process feelings and get over your anger in order to come back with a level head and talk.

    Happy anniversary!

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  18. Sometimes I see people post pictures of their spouses and they’re “could not love him/her anymore. He/she is my best friend”. Sometimes I want to post a picture of Scott and say “could not despise him anymore today. You can have him”. Because marriage isn’t perfect, it’s work, and you do what’s best for you in your relationship. We most certainly go to bed angry, do things apart, and honestly, what the fuck is date night? But we’re there for each other when it counts and can always make the other laugh. That’s what counts.

    Happy anniversary!!

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  19. This is real life right here.
    I say that all the time - what constitutes "date night"? When you're married, I feel the same way - its ALWAYS Date Night
    & you know I love the comment about children making a home. You are my hero with your voice on that subject!
    Happy Anniversary!!!!

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  20. This could not have resonated with me more. <3 I've always balked at the "don't go to bed angry" thing. Who are these people without tempers and emotions and shit? Sometimes, I just need SPACE and TIME and to be f'ing pissed for a while. It's so reassuring to hear people talk about relationships in a genuine, honest fashion. I feel like I'm a pretty good critical thinker, but even I fall into the dark trap of thinking everyone else's relationship is much more magical than mine and therefore I am doomed. It's tough. But you're refreshing, so thanks.

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  21. I can relate to so so so much of this and agree. I think walking together through pain, and the comments you wrote after it are SO true. And YES to laughter. It's so important, and damn it makes life more fun.
    Congrats on 7 years!

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  22. I have never been married but I know that for sure the key to a happy marriage is not making the other person your everything. Too much pressure on one person! Oh, and two bathrooms if you can swing it, hee hee. Congrats on doing it your way for seven years. When that day comes for me I plan on doing it our way as well.

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  23. Laughter is always my #1. I remember when you posted that MFD is not your best friend and it's always stuck with me for some reason, mostly because the idea (and explanation behind it) just make sense. I think a lot of the things that work and don't work has a lot to do with your love languages, and that understanding what those are is important in any relationship. I agree with all of these, especially #1 and 4 on the "works" list. It's why we always plan bday trips and why I haven't moved in yet. Happy Anniversary!

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  24. LOVE this practical advice, especially "#2. Not Freaking Out over Being Out of Sync." This is me tooooo often, so good to remember :)

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  25. I love this!! Especially the one about kids. I am SO tired of this. We are a family all by ourselves and with our animals and we are SO happy. We love our family and we don't need kids (right now) to feel like a family. I'm also VERY passionate about this today because yesterday someone asked me if I had a baby bump... so that made my PMS-ing self whose been losing weight all year feel great... Anyways. My husband and I definitely live by some of these!

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  26. Happy seventh! Jacob and I celebrate 11 on Sunday. I'm with you on so many of these. Experiences over gifts, going to bed angry (ha!), space, and having friends to do all the stuff neither of us want to do with each other. I would hate him if he made me snowboard or hike. And couples that do every single thing together (mostly because the "good" wife took on her husband's hobbies) make me crazy.

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  27. YES to being ok with going to bed angry! We actually had a very ironic fight the other night about the fact I think it's fine, and my husband wants to hash it out right.here.right.now. When you're both angry and riled up, it's late at night, and you have to be up in the morning, HOW is that going to end well for anyone?! I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie and address things with a clear head when there's time to actually talk properly.

    Anyway... happy anniversary! Hope you had a good one.

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  28. Truly loved this post. Esp the going to bed angry thing. My parents are married for 44 years and mum always said she thinks its more unhealthy to force going to bed happy then letting yourself go through the motions, because things happen and things pass. My parents are truly best friends though. In every way. But I get that the alternative can also work.

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  29. Love this post and happy anniversary to you both! A lot of the adage old sayings simply aren't practical in all relationships. Like I love the sentiment of "always kiss me goodnight" but unfortunately with my husband's work schedule it just doesn't always happen. I will say the one thing that has helped us in our relationship is the whole love language thing. My husband likes gifts. I on the other hand like being wooed with words. Sometimes marriage is all about compromise.

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  30. A very belated happy anniversary to you guys! I have to agree with pretty much 100% of your "did not work" advice. I used to try to force us to not go to bed angry, which only made us both more angry, and we were definitely angry the next day when we'd gotten 2 hours of sleep because I insisted on hashing things out before we went to sleep. Yeah, doesn't work. Space and time to process works. I love the principle of "sit beside each other in pain," too. IMO, that's one of the best things you can do for a loved one -- let them know that they don't need to navigate their pain alone. As always, love your realness (I know you'd never be anything but).

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  31. Oh these are SO GOOD. Every night is definitely date night, and honestly sometimes going to bed angry, we wake up happier and ready than those times when we try to force into happiness before bed. You two are definitely a power couple!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

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  32. Snotty,

    These three are my favorites and tops on my list. I love that you thought of them, too.

    3. Sit beside each other in pain. You can't fix some things, you can't take away pain, you can't solve things, you can't heal things but you can sit and BE there through it. You are the constant and the constant is enough.
    4. Space. We do not do everything together. I cannot think of something either of us would hate more.
    5. Appreciating the little things. The little things add up to more than the big things.

    I think a lot of relationships (which I call them, because we've been happily unmarried for 18 years and are still going strong) could be much stronger if they just did these three.

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  33. You hit the nail on the head with so many things I've learned and still learning in marriage. I definitely started off our marriage saying we should never go to bed angry. It "worked" for a while but it's unrealistic. K still buys me flowers even though I've told him time and again I don't really care much for them. of course I appreciate them but they're not as sentimental as just being there for each other or talking about things. Lastly, we used to give each other birthday gifts but as you can see with all of our travels, that's how we celebrate our birthdays, anniversary and such now by exploring and traveling instead of getting a new watch or purse. Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

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  34. Happy Anniversary! Love this. You are so right, every couple needs to figure out their own "rules." For instance, my hubs is definitely my best friend. But that's different for us than other couples who say that (he's not my only friend, and we both prioritize individual "me" time and time with friends w/o each other). Glad you guys have found some things that do & don't work for you!

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  35. Happy belated anniversary!! I try to get to good before going to bed angry. (I have a hang up about this because of my first dad passing away after my mom had gone to sleep.) I think it drives my husband crazy because he needs his time to get over things, but I just can't let it go. I guess my life has had too many regrets, now that I sit here and think about it. Merp. I'm with you on experiences though. That's been a game changer for us.

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  36. Happy Anniversary! And thank you. Thanks to you - and your commenters / readers - I think I've *finally* found my tribe. It only took me well, let's just say way too long. To say that we have a nontraditional marriage is an understatement of epic proportions. We live three hours apart. Sometimes we go 5 weeks without seeing each other. My husband remains friends with his ex-wife and saw her for dinner last night, while I was at (my) home, loving my time on the couch with my book. Easier to say what I *disagree* with... lessee...ummm... 2. Not freaking out over being out of sync. -- but only because I have a slight tendency to freak out then get over it. :)
    So yeah, that's it. Hope the LH was everything you needed and wanted for your anniversary meal!

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  37. This may come off as weird, but, I love your marriage? It just reminds me of so many philosophies I have about myself and my personal relationships, especially now that I'm dating someone again. SO MUCH YES to maintaining space and independence, and I REALLY love giving "experiences" as gifts, too. I'm not buying you a friggin wallet. I'll get you tickets to something, or a weekend trip. I think you and MFD are both pretty frickin great -- happy anniversary!

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  38. Happy (belated) anniversary! The other day I was just thinking the same thing about date nights-- like every night is basically a date night when we do something together, even if it's just watching tv. Love your collage- you guys have so many fun memories from the year.

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  39. the don't go to bed angry is seriously ridiculous and i don't know anyone it actually does work for. we don't really do date night either. i mean, sometimes we go out and i guess that could be called date night or it could just be called the night we went to the movies and ate dinner. i am definitely someone who will nag but you know how to get me to stop nagging? do shit the first time or without me having to ask you. it's not hard.
    all of your 7 things that work are things that work for us too. happy belated anniversary!

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  40. #1 omg yes! I have no problem going to bed mad. also #2 my thoughts exactly!! LOL #6 agreed. doesn't that just seem like a whole lot of pressure?!

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