I would be wrong if I let August end without saying a little something about August 5th. You see Dumplin, your Dad and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on that day. Yay us! I think about where we were 9 years ago and what a difference 9 years make. Not only were you not born, but we weren’t home owners yet. I hadn’t graduated college. Your Dad didn’t have his master’s degree yet either. We’ve come a long way! Talking to other married girlfriends, and thinking about people who got married around the same time we did or later, not everyone is still married. It’s crazy! Some people are fully divorced, some people are separated, and some people are hanging on in rough marriages. It got me thinking.
Love is not enough to make a marriage last. All marriages go through ups and downs. All marriages go through rough patches. It’s just life. Family issues come up and loved ones pass away. Loss of job, change of job, heck a bad sports season can affect how a married couple interacts with one another. If a couple does not have a strong support system that may include both family and a spiritual foundation, those challenges become even harder. I’ve watched Couple’s Therapy on TV. Many times people are struggling to stay together and they aren’t even married yet! I watch the married couples and often times they feel so abused by one another because they don’t have an outlet or the tools to properly communicate their issues to one another. People carry so much stuff around. Their minds are overwhelmed and their hearts are heavy. Day-to-day activities feel bombarding and overwhelming.
So what’s my point? I feel exceptionally blessed to have a marriage that has lasted 9 years. With God’s help, it will last until one of us is in the ground and goes to meet the Creator. I don’t write about my marriage specifically because your Dad is not on social media, or a blogger, and he is a very private man. But know this, I do have some strong beliefs about marriage and there are a few things I think help to lead toward a successful relationship. Keep in mind nothing can guarantee a successful marriage. Both Husband and Wife have to put in the work and genuinely want their relationship to last and be healthy.
Here are a few of my thoughts on things that make the marriage journey easier:
- Both a man and a woman should have a strong spiritual foundation when they get married. Don’t wait until you are married to look for God. Know God and know Him well.
- Women should have their own identity before they get married. If you don’t know who you are when you get married, you have no idea if you really like and are compatible with the man you are attracted to at the moment. If you change, your thoughts on men may change too.
- A woman should have her own money. I know some people have more traditional beliefs about the roles in a marriage and that’s fine. My opinion is that a man is a human being too. A human that is capable of human error, losing his job, getting sick, being unable to work, losing money, gambling, and on and on and on I could go. God forbid someone’s husband dies. What should the woman do then? Shrivel up and die as well? Absolutely not. Have your own money. Find something you are passionate about and find a way to make money at it. If the money is not needed in your household, put it away for a rainy day. You may need it one day, or your children may need it one day.
- Talk about the hard stuff BEFORE you get married. Do you want kids? Does he? Do you want to be a stay at home mom if you do have children? Do you want to move to a different state? What are your financial expectations? What are his? What type of house would you like to live in? Do you want to live in the city or the suburbs? Do you want to live in a house with your in-laws or do you love privacy? At what age do you want to retire? How do you plan to accomplish that? What are your career goals? What are his? How do you plan to balance the household? What does he expect you to do? What are deal breakers? The list goes on. It’s impossible to think of everything but it helps if some things are discussed in advance. Don’t just think of the now. Think of the future.
- See the world. You never know what you will end up loving or hating until you do it. The more you’ve done and seen, the more you will know what makes you happy. Marriage should make you feel good. It should be a safe space, not a war zone. It should be the quiet place you go to when the world is going insane.
- Be whole before you get married. Another person absolutely cannot make you whole. Only you and God can make you whole. If you feel broken, and are using marriage to fill an empty space, you are in trouble. Get whole first.
All of my thoughts absolutely DO NOT mean my marriage is perfect. No marriage is perfect. Your Dad and I work hard at staying connected. Sometimes we are successful and sometimes we aren’t. I will say we are committed to not giving up and I think that has given us an edge. And you know what? You have made us stronger. Having a c-section and not being able to get around has been one of the most challenging things I have ever gone through. I’m extremely independent and I had to learn to ask for help. It was a huge challenge for me and for us as a couple. Looking at you, and knowing you will benefit the most from a healthy Mom and Dad, help us keep things in perspective. This isn’t to say that your Dad does not get on my nerves at times. He does! And I know I get on his! But it’s ok because we’re in this together. Nine years later, we still love each other. Thank you God.