Fr. John and my 15th Anniversary was this week. I sat down to think about what I’ve learned, figuring I could come up with 15 things and make an awesome blog post. But what ended up happening is that I realized that I. Know. Nothing. I mentioned that to my husband, and he said, “Well, maybe that’s your #1 then.” I suppose he’s right. So here’s the random “nothing” bits of wisdom that I’ve picked up over the past 15 years. May God grant that in the coming 15 (or 50!), I gain a few more
I don’t know anything about marriage.
Okay, I suppose that’s not entirely true. I do know a lot about being married to Fr. John. But marriage in general? Uh, no.
Our marriage is not 50/50.
It’s dangerous to say, “Okay, I’ve done half the work today, now you pick up the slack.” It’s just not possible. There are days when I am emotionally unable to handle more than keeping my kids alive, and Fr. John has to pick up all the slack and keep us going. Then there are the other days when his work and ministry sap his energy, and it’s my job to bolster us. If either one of us quit when we hit our “halfway” mark, we’d never run at 100%.
Laughter is important.
Being able to laugh even at little things keeps us going when the days are hard and the nights are long. Thank God we have hilarious children.
Don’t be so busy being parents that you forget to be married.
There are times when being a parent takes over everything. When our son was in the hospital a couple of years ago, I remember telling a friend that my marriage hadn’t just taken a backseat, it had fallen out the trunk and was behind us on the highway. But that crisis passed, thank God. It’s the day-to-day that I have to be careful of, not being so caught up in my “mom-ness” that I forget that I was a wife first.
Make each other a priority.
Our kids go to bed at 8 (okay, 9 in the summer), and once they’re down, the daily work comes to a screeching halt. That’s OUR time. If the dishes aren’t done before bedtime, they’re not getting done after. Sometimes, all we have the energy to do is watch a little TV, but we’re doing it together.
Be at home in one another’s love.
There’s a Dave Matthews song that I love, and the chorus is “I do know that where you go, is where I want to be.” Home is where Fr. John is.
Be each other’s first line of defense.
I am the keeper of the family calendar. I am also married to an introvert. There are times when my husband needs a day (or a weekend) to recharge from life, and you had better believe that I will cancel and reschedule things to give him that time to charge his batteries. He is the first one to say to me, “I don’t want you to have to do this; I will go and take care of it” at times when a situation is becoming more than I can handle. It is a gift that I do not take lightly, knowing that I can count on him to protect me not only physically, but emotionally as well.
One of the best things we did was going to premarital counseling, where our priest taught us how to communicate with each other. It has been a great tool and blessing to us over the last decade and a half.
Enjoy spending time together.
When we got married, we danced to a Pearl Jam song called Long Road. The chorus of that song is “I have wished for so long, how I’ve wished for you today.” That’s how I felt about my husband the day I married him, and how I feel about him today.
Create your own family together.
Blending families is hard work. I grew up with certain ways of doing things, and Fr. John grew up with his own. We had some long discussions about things we wanted to do or not do from our own childhoods and family traditions. Some things were no brainers (like, “this is how my Mom taught me to fold towels and by golly, this is how we are going to fold towels”), and others were a little harder. We’ve ended up with our own family dynamic that we’re happy with, but boy did it take us some time to get there.
I hate budgeting, dealing with money, etc. etc. etc. This has been a recent lesson (as in, just this year). We’ve been taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class, and it’s been invaluable as we go through our finances together. I wish we’d done it a long time ago.
Do the little things for each other.
Fr. John doesn’t like one of my favorite dinners, so whenever I make it, I always make sure to make him his own plate of something else. Last Saturday, he spent his quiet day at home doing the dishes and cleaning the house, knowing that I can’t stand it when it’s dirty. We each have that one (or two) TV show that the other doesn’t like, so we wait to watch them on evenings when we’re home alone. They’re little things, but they add up.
Forgive one another.
A lot.The more you love someone, the more hurt you are when something goes wrong between you. Forgiveness is essential. Ask forgiveness, give forgiveness, and do them both often.
Pray for each other.
When Fr. John was a Deacon, his favorite thing to say in the Liturgy was at the end of each Litany–“commending ourselves and each other unto Christ our God.” That is what we have to do, constantly give ourselves and each other to Christ. It’s never a one time thing, but over and over and over for as long as we draw breath.
Love each other.
I adore my husband, and he knows it. He thinks I’m the greatest, and I know it. There are no conditions, ifs, ands, or buts. I fight for him, and he fights for me. He loves me enough to say hard things, to push me to be better, and he knows I’ll do the same for him.
Happy fifteenth anniversary, hon. Here’s to 15 more.