reflecting on marriage

June 18, 2010

Every year on our anniversary, as well as on our birthdays, Andy and I talk about what we loved and learned in the past year, as well as hopes we have for the year to come.  It is a wonderful way to step back and breath in our life.  Tuesday as we shared an evening walk with our daughter on our 7th anniversary laughing and soaking in all that had happened since our last anniversary- I asked Andy what he thought we were doing right in our marriage that makes it work so easily.  We came up with two main lessons/rules that we try our best to keep to.  We probably would have come up with more, but we arrived back home and Amari needed to get in bed.  So here they are, two things we stick to that have kept us happy and loving each other for seven plus years.

Purpose and Passion:

Andy and I are always working towards something, while being content with the present.  We pursue what we are passionate about and we work as hard as possible to support the other person so they can also pursue what keeps them ticking. It is a shared journey.  A balance that may tilt heavier in one direction than the other depending on the year- a back and forth that works because we both are also passionate about supporting each other.  Three years ago we moved to Iowa for Andy to go to grad school, and this year we are staying in Iowa so I can finish grad school.  When we were in the middle of the fourth year of our marriage we realized that we had a house, two cars, a dog, two cats, a studio, and jobs that paid us enough money… but we weren’t really happy deep down.  We realized we were getting comfortable with our material possessions, causing fear when considering taking any sort of risks… so we held our breath and metaphorically jumped… left it all in pursuit of our strongest, wildest dream at the time- Andy wanted to go to grad school.  So here we are, going to school in Iowa, renting, making very little money, with one lovely daughter, and we are so happy.  Letting go of the material things that at the time seemed impossible to let go of has been the best thing we have done for our marriage.  I hope that we will always maintain this freedom and never let fear make our decisions.

Fighting:

Well, first of all we try our absolute best to have conversations.  We rarely fight and this is why- We don’t yell, we don’t throw things, we don’t slam doors, we don’t leave, we don’t go to bed mad… and we take breaks if we feel like we are close to doing any of the above.  It is amazing how helpful a five minute break (which I never want to take in the moment) can be… it really forces you to breath and think through the issue at hand without saying everything that comes to mind and getting tangled up in words.  We also have decided that not fighting is more important than being right.  It is amazing how quickly the walls come down when we admit that both of us have valid points.  We also ask for forgiveness and if in the moment we say something we instantly realize was bad, we allow a verbal rewind and delete.  And lastly, and sometimes most importantly… dessert really helps (or any food)… we love dessert and it is hard to be mad at each other when you are sharing something you both love to indulge in.  Yep that’s the big secret, next time you feel a fight coming on pull out the cookies or better yet, take that 5 minute break and one of you go to the store and get your favorite treat… we did this the other night when it seemed like there was no possible resolution to our argument, and when Andy walked back in with a bag full of goodies- we had the perfect compromise before we even took the first bite.

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