Too many people pretend to be prefect.
I can include myself in that pile, but I like to think of myself as a recovering pretender.
I now fully acknowledge that T. and I were not great our first few months of marriage. It felt like we were bumping around in a dark room unable to find the light switch. Like all great plans God had a little chuckle and changed our path. After returning to reality from a great summer at home and an amazing honeymoon in Vienna and Prague, T. and I would officially be living together, he would be going off to work in a month or so, and I was to be co-instructor for one course. Wrong – T. was home till after Christmas and I was teaching 2 classes. I was averaging about 5 hours of sleep, overwhelmed with my academic duties and self impose new role of a wife. I left irritated, not listened to, unsupported, and confused – wasn’t this suppose to still be the honeymoon period??Let’s just say it didn’t end well… I believe my exact, mature words were “we suck at being married”.
However it wasn’t all bad and we learned a lot from those first few months. And looking back to where we are now, it is those hard moments that you learn most from. It’s in those moments you see your true commitment to each other. One of the best moments of our first year was early winter when T. turned to me and said “I guess I haven’t been very good at communicating with you, but I am working on it”. To say I was shocked I was understatement. That moment was a turning point for us and we haven’t looked back…
Reflecting back what I’ve learned after the first year:
1. It is okay to fight.
I wouldn’t say we fight, we have a disagreement or argument sounds nicer. Not everyday but more often than not my Irish temper (which I come by very honestly) does get the better of me. However I’ve learned to see the positive in this – neither of us are holding in our true feelings till they explode months or years later to that day one of us didn’t take the garbage out or ignored the other while the game was on. Plus we’ve all read those articles of older happily married couples crediting an argument a day for the longevity of their marriage. This point really ties back to pretending to be perfect, own the fact that you fight and don’t try to hide it from your support system of friends and family when your marriage needs that support. I image that it is inevitable a time will come when that support is needed.. at least that’s what my inner child of divorce tells me.
2. Communication is key BUT so is laughter.
Everyone and anyone will tell you communication is important and it is. What I’ve learned is it isn’t just the words you need to think about but the bigger structure of you communication. Is there a place that you communicate best at? For us it’s the car or plane.. yes when he is trapped and has to continue the conversation. A time of day? Definitely not a morning person. A medium? Sure we can all agree text is bad, but sometimes written communication like a letter or email can help. But after all of that laughter is just as important. You need to laugh together. Life is too short and it should be filled with fun moments. If at the end of the day we can still laugh together, no matter how we communicated or what the fight was about, I know that we are going to be okay.
3. Separation is okay.
We have a sporadic long distance marriage. This is something I know most people do not understand, but it works for us. The heart does grow fonder. I think it is important to have the chance to miss someone – and if you don’t miss that person then… Being apart makes those points above much harder to be good at, but also strengthens them. When you are apart you have to be honest about your feelings and fears. Most importantly you can’t be selfish when having a bad day, you have to put aside all your crap that you really want to unload about or put aside your desire not to talk to communicate with your partner.
It was separation that gave me the motivation to start this blog. It is often separation that encourages and motivates my culinary adventures as I whole heartedly believe in this quote and try to model our actions by it..
This first year has been an interesting journey as we discovered ourselves as a family, a wife, and a husband. But our adventures, laughter, and love have outweighed any of our stumbles or fights. It is a life long journey and I can only hope that we are still learning and growing when August 16th comes around each year.