Just a few days ago, Racer and celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Not long in the grande scheme of life, love and marriage, but each year is a bigger deal for me. Why? Well, because in my first marriage, I didn’t even make it to five. So each year Racer and I celebrate, I reflect on how much I’ve learned and what I’ve done differently and what we are doing right together.
I know that we don’t have the answer to a perfect marriage. We do a lot of things wrong. Here are a few things I’ve learned – about myself and marriage – along the way.
1. Having a shared faith is first. While Racer and I may disagree on certain aspects and fine details of christianity, what has been so important for us is a common reliance on God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our foundation is the same. Having the same foundation makes it a lot easier to move forward in building our marriage and our family.
2. I really don’t need, nor do I want, to be right all of the time. It’s too much pressure to feel like I have to always have the answers.
3. If I am missing my spouse and feeling lonely, I need to work harder at connecting with him. In my first marriage, there were times that I felt lonely, bored and disconnected. Instead of reaching out to my spouse, I filled that void with activities – more work, dance class, Limp Bizkut fan sites… silly stuff really. These days, I’ve learned enough to talk to Racer about feeling disconnected and lonely. While we may not agree on how to go about fixing that, at least we are communicating and that is an improvement.
4. Spouses need to talk about money. Even though it’s really hard and can lead to a lot of disagreements, money talks have to happen. Spouses need to be working toward the same financial goals.
5. I need a level, even-keel partner who can balance my emotions. I tend to get hot-headed, overly emotional and on my soap box. Racer is able to listen, breath, take the hit and then move on. Most of the time, he can recognize that it has nothing to do with him and that I need a venting place and a strong place to let it all out.
6. Marriage is hard work. It’s not easy. It isn’t the rainbows, roses and happy endings you get in books, tv and the movies. Marriage is full of compromises and hurdles and stumbles and screw up and failures. What really matters, however, is how you deal with all of that. I’ve learned that my greatest ally in making it through is the man who I have beside me. (And sometimes I actually follow him!)
Racer and I aren’t perfect. Our marriage is a work in progress. We’re learning and loving and growing together. To me, that is the most beautiful thing of all.