I took a little bit of a blogging-hiatus this past week. I have a good excuse though! My little family and I took a *much* needed vacay! Also, remember that countdown on my blog?? Well, the day finally arrived and my little sister got married!! Amazing how quickly time goes by…
On the day of her wedding, I was asked to give a speech. True to my procrastinating nature, I waited until the very last minute to put a speech together. It didn’t really matter though, since script or no script, I have no doubt that the tears that were shed during my time on the mic would have interrupted even the best of speeches!
So, I take to this very public forum to share some of the things that I wish I would have said:
-Marriage is an amazing adventure. There is no truer test of patience, character, understanding, sharing…the list is endless. Know that no two people are perfect with regard to any of these virtues. You won’t always be the perfect partner, but what will matter is that you try; that for the rest of your life, you make an effort to be the best version of you. Be happy with who you are, who you are with your partner, and the rest will fall into place.
-Don’t let others influence how you see or feel about your partner. You chose your partner with your heart and mind, possibly entirely with your heart, and not at all with your mind. 🙂 Regardless, YOU chose that person. YOU had your reasons. Remember them every time anyone makes you doubt your choice.
-Never stop dating. This I tell you from experience. My hubby and I got busy with work, kids, life, etc. over the years. This past week, we took our first solo vacation (kids stayed with my parents) in nearly 10 years!! I cannot express how nice it was to spend time alone, away from home, and reconnect. We realized we had stopped dating. We had started to think of each other merely as partners, mother and father, roommates, even. Not thinking of each other as man and woman…two individuals who could still lust after each other; who could still date; who at one point in time, could think of nothing else but each other. Take the time to go back to the ‘butterfly’s in the stomach’ phase of your relationship…it will make all the difference.
-Yes, you are married. Yes, you will initially want to spend every waking moment with your new partner in life. But, also, yes…you do still have friends. Don’t forget about them. Much like experts recommend that one put their spouse before children, as one day, the kids will leave the nest, and you will be left with each other…hopefully not as strangers, but still in love and very much friends, I recommend that you don’t forget about your friends. I am guilty of this… That said, continue to call/text/FB/etc your friends with the same frequency (or as close to it) as you did before your marriage. One day, you won’t want to spend every waking moment with your partner (Trust me, it will happen…even if you can’t fathom the thought…it will happen!), and you will want/need friends to be there for you. You need to nurture those friendships and not let them fall to the way-side.
-Don’t lose sight of who you are. I am still working on this one. I used to ballroom dance…still, it has been a year or two since I took my last lesson. Kids and work have made it hard to maintain this hobby. My hubby knows how much I enjoy it though, so he’s supportive of my activity; despite the fact that he doesn’t ballroom dance himself. So, whether you dance, run, hang out with friends…whatever your hobby may be or whatever it is that you feel defines you, stay true to it and fight to maintain it moving forward in your marriage.
-Leave jealousy out of your marriage. Ugh, I wasted so much of my younger years as an insecure, jealous girlfriend/fiancée/wife. It is not worth it. I don’t know what happened when I had my first child, but all the jealousy went out the window. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed my relationship more! Trust, be confident, and leave the jealousy out of it.
-Don’t make comparisons. Every marriage is different. Every husband and wife is different from other husbands and wives. What works in one marriage may not necessarily work in another. Do what makes the two of you better, and remember that the goal is to be happy. The goal is not to be better than the Joneses.
-Be your partner’s biggest supporter. At the end of the day, you want each other to succeed. Each one of you will have bad days. Be there for the lows. Yes, sometimes your partner’s lows may be infuriating, frustrating, possibly even disappointing. Be there. As humans, we are flawed, and we all make mistakes. Try to be understanding, try to keep perspective. Often, you will find that the lows are what lead to the highs. I often think that my support during the bad times, during the ‘lows’, is what has led my hubby to his best ‘highs’…to his greatest successes. Just, be there.
Above all else, do you. Be confident that the choices you make are what is best for you and your new partnership. I am no expert, nor is this list comprehensive of all that you should consider when entering a new partnership…a marriage. They are kernels of wisdom from one who has nearly 10 years of marriage under her belt. Take what works for you, and leave the rest for others to consider. Remember always, “The value of free advice is often what you pay for it.”
Congratulations baby sister…may life bring your marriage much happiness, love, and success!