Marriage thoughts have been stirring inside my brain for quite some time, but last week we attended a beautiful wedding in Martha’s Vineyard and it pushed a few things to the forefront.
I have debated marriage a lot in my life. Whether everyone in my family agrees this is positive or not, my parents marriage has always been a testament to the “marriage is hard, but you can make it work” mentality. I take it as a positive. It has given me a no-quitter attitude towards marriage.
On the other hand, it, and other marriages I either hear or read about, have also made me consistently worried that marriage is always going to be hard. Just ask Tyler. I joke with him frequently about the day when we’ll be sick of each other’s habits, and instead of wishing to spend all our time together can’t wait to be alone. He continually counters by saying that doesn’t always happen to people. I’m still not sure if I believe him.
What I do believe is that, on the off chance I am right, we can still make it through if we promise to not be quitters. Yes, I understand that not all people who get divorced are quitters. And I’m not judging anyone’s decision. That’s not the situation I’m in and have no ability to fully understand that perspective. But what I am saying, for my future self, is that I don’t want to be one of those people who gets sick of someone so much marriage becomes a chore.
Which usually brings me to wonder where the bliss in marriage disappears to. At this point, we still have it. And yes, I realize that we’ve only been married two years, but I want to keep it going. So my next thought it usually, what’s the secret to holding on to it? How do I keep bypassing potential little things that irk me and hold on to all the positive qualities I saw from the start?
Because, while I understand marriage is a lot of things, I feel like that might be a big key: sifting though the imperfections because the amazing things outweigh them. Or muddling through hard times because you can feel comfortable trusting this person is awesome enough to be right there with you.
So back to the wedding this weekend. They had a book for everyone to write wishes and thoughts about marriage for the couple. And since this topic was hazily swimming around my mind, it forced me to put at least a little bit into words how I’ve kept the bliss so far (and hope my future self can be reminded of constantly).
First, I make it about me.
I think about how imperfect I am, and how Tyler loves me anyway. I try to remember what it might be like to deal with my mild neuroses about recycling paper or reorganizing the apartment. I recognize there are times when I’m overtired and grumpy, or I forget things I need to do – and that Tyler allows me to be human and typically lets it pass without pointing it out.
And I realize that I want to be like that in return. We’re all different, that’s just how we are. I chose to accept Tyler as he is: an imperfect being just like myself. Someone with his own habits, likes and dislikes. So for as many times as I find a half eaten Snickers bar in his bag, or a melted string cheese next to his computer, and feel completely disgusted by his food choices (sorry, Tyler, it’s true), I try to remember that he doesn’t call me out on my adult Spaghettio’s consumption.
Because right there is a lot of what love is: acceptance. Not settling for something I feel is below my ideal, but accepting traits as well as their flaws. And accepting that it’s up to me to recognize the traits over the flaws. (Plus, bringing it back to me again, I have enough flaws of my own I could be worrying about.)
So there you have it future self. Stop worrying about the small imperfections and hold on to that newlywed bliss. Because if Tyler can do it, so can you.
Wedding photo cred: Isaac Wu Photography.