I do. And I’d do it all over again.
There are lots of things no one tells you about marriage: It’s hard. It’s frustrating, at times. It can be lonely … and sometimes boring. But it can also be infinitely rewarding.
Today is Steve’s and my 21st anniversary. I’m very lucky that—above all else—my years with Steve have been infinitely rewarding. But I’ve also made some heartbreaking mistakes, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.
In the (extremely remote) possibility that I’ve stumbled upon some Undiscussed Universal Truth about marriage, today I offer some of those lessons in hindsight.
Go to bed angry. Few problems can be solved by shouting (or blubbering) at 3 a.m. Plus, your problems will likely seem smaller in the morning.
Sweat the small stuff. Flowers and diamonds are lovely. But what your spouse really wants is yogurt … clean sheets … cold beer … whatever. The small, unexpected gestures speak volumes.
Sweat the small stuff, Part 2. The little things can make—but also break—a marriage. So if you know your spouse dislikes something, stop doing it. Or at least try.
Give in. Marriage can be summed up in one word: compromise. You can’t always have your way. Sometimes you can negotiate. But sometimes you just have to give in.
Stick together. There will be times when you’ll feel exceptionally close, and others when you’ll feel painfully distanced and lonely. Both come and go. Hang in there through the latter.
Be apart. Khalil Gibran said it best: “… let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” Spend time apart. It will enrich your time together.
Expect change. But accept that it won’t happen in quite the way you expect.
Dream about the future. It gives you something to work toward together.
Don’t sweat the past. You’ll both make mistakes. You’ll accidentally hurt each other. It’s inevitable … and it’s OK. It’s in the past.
Be grateful. Every day is a gift. And if you’re exceptionally lucky—as I’ve been—you’ll be able to look back after 21 years and say, “I’d do it all over again.”
Happy anniversary, my love. Here’s to the next 21!
Filed under: Friends and family, Minnesota, On this day in history, Psychology | 7 Comments
Tags: Khalil Gibran, Marriage, milestones, postaday2011, Psychology, Steve, wedding anniversary