Yesterday the Hubster and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.
Even though I hear myself saying “eight years” and I know it’s true, I’m having a hard time believing it. Where on earth has the time gone? I swear we were just students enjoying our leisurely university life, surviving on hamburger helper and OSAP money.
We’ve come a long way in those eight years. For those who have been here with me for a while, you know that The Hubster and I had a whirlwind seven week romance before getting engaged, and we were married just five short months after that. I’m pretty sure that just about everyone who knew us thought we were crazy, and I’m sure there were some skeptics out there who were concerned we wouldn’t last.
And yet, here we are, eight years later. A little older, a little wiser, but we’re still best friends in love who are happy to be married.
To each other. ha
Over dinner last night, I commented to the Hubster that my views on marriage have changed over the years. As we’ve grown and progressed through our own marriage, I feel like I’ve learned a few valuable lessons along the way that are helping me better understand exactly what a marriage is.
I’m still learning, but I’ve picked up a few gems along the way. In no particular order:
1) Men are not mind readers, nor should we expect them to be. I am not always good at communicating to the Hubster what I’m thinking or feeling, especially if it’s something that has upset me. Instead I stew and sit on things for far too long until I reach a breaking point. (Vicious, vicious cycle.) I’m getting better at it, but he doesn’t know what it is that’s bothering me unless I tell him. Who knew? Communication is so important. Make time to talk, especially about those things. Before they get big. And induce massive cry-fests.
2) What you put in is what you’ll get out. Marriage is a two-way street. Period. It’s about partnership and teamwork. Occasionally one partner may need a little help and you can carry the load, but both partners need to be putting in equal efforts to make the marriage successful. Date nights. Talk to each other. Support one another. Encourage each other. It shouldn’t always be one person doing this for the other, it needs to go both ways.
3) It takes work. Sometimes being married is hard. Between work, kids, church and other obligations it’s easy to take your relationship for granted and push it to the back burner. Date nights don’t just happen, especially after kids. You have to plan them, and make time for them. Talk about more than just what your kid ate for lunch that day–take an interest in your partner’s interests. Work hard to never forget what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place, and keep falling in love. Don’t stop.
4) Marriage is a roller coaster. This is the best analogy I can think of to compare a marriage to. In the beginning, everything is exciting and new and you climb together in your new life. And then, life will throw a curve or two at you and your roller coaster will dip and spin and throw you for a loop. You just need to remember that the lows don’t last–if you hang on you’ll climb again. The most important part is to enjoy the ride and hang on together, and take it for what it is. Life is always changing, but if you keep holding hands you’ll make it through the tough bits.
5) Laugh. Often. Marriage shouldn’t be all work. I am married to my best friend. We don’t always agree on everything, but we compromise and talk it out. And then we laugh. My home is a home full of laughter and fun, and I love that.
6) We don’t always agree, and that’s okay. At one of my bridal showers, everyone in attendance wrote down a piece of marital advice for me that I had to read out to the group. Most were pretty standard, and then I came to one that I didn’t understand for a long time. It read, “Buy diet pepsi and diet coke“. The person who wrote it chuckled and told me she and her husband like different things, and that’s okay. I was a little perplexed by this advice, and (at the all-knowledgeable age of 19) I was convinced that this advice wouldn’t apply to us. After all, we were going to be married! That’s like, becoming the same person. We would totally like all the same things.
Except that I soon discovered that we didn’t. The Hubster and I chose not to live together before we were married, so there was a certain… discovery period after we moved in together. When I began realizing that we were two very different people, I caught myself wondering–is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? Why don’t we agree on everything??!
Yup. So, it took me a little while to learn this lesson. The Hubster and I are not the same person. In fact, we are very different. We have different interests, different approaches to things, and come from different backgrounds. I struggled with this for a long time… but eventually I learned that our differences don’t divide us or make us separate, they are what make us special. We are two different people who love being together. Sure, we have things in common, but the reality is, we like different things.
And that’s okay. He likes grapefruit (ew) and I love apples. He likes to stay very active, and I love to curl up with a book. He likes Root Beer, and I like 7UP.
(I finally learned to buy two kinds of pop.)
Even though we are interested in different things, we try and explore what the other person loves about a particular thing. For example, the Hubster loves playing and watching hockey. I had been indifferent to the sport for years, but I was never an avid fan. When he started following a team, I began sitting with him and watching a few minutes of a game, or looking for news articles about them that I could chat with him about. Well, as it turns out, those few minutes of watching blossomed into a die-hard love of the game. I love that we have a team that we watch together, and I look forward to hockey night every Saturday.
In turn, he has long known of my love for all things musical, and has grown to appreciate and enjoy attending musicals with me. He will look up shows and discuss them with me, and most of my recent presents have been date nights out to go and see a show. (Les Mis in September!!!!)
So, we’re different. Not only is that okay, it’s what I’ve come to love about us. It gives us balance. We even each other out and form a strong partnership. Win.
I feel like we’ve come a long way in our eight years. We finished university together, found our first real jobs, moved to two new cities where we didn’t know a soul, bought a house and started our family. Adding Ruby to the mix certainly changed things, but we love having her on our roller coaster with us.
It hasn’t always been easy–life has thrown us a curve ball or two–but I feel very blessed. I was lucky enough to find a boy I loved like crazy when I was just 19, and he has grown into the man of my dreams. He is not perfect (neither am I), but he is a wonderful partner, a terrific dad, and I’m still falling in love with him. We’ve worked hard to get where we are, and I’m happy to say that we’re still having fun and I’m still enjoying the ride.
I love you, Hubster. Here’s to year nine!