Monday, January 21, 2013

Housework Holiday and A Marriage Unbroken

Today is Martin Luther King Day and I have the day off work, so I'm taking it!

Finishing up my birthday bash by going to the movie today - but I'm using it as a reward for cleaning the house. It's been overdue since I was sick last week. Time for some good ole' elbow grease!

Recently, it's come to my attention that a good handful of my friends are 'keeping up appearances'. My heart bleeds for them. I've been-there-done-that. I remember well hiding the anxiety, insecurity, and the shame that my "happily ever after" actually wasn't. I have very little advice for these friends, other than 'Build your own happiness, and you bring a happier person to the relationship,' and 'Treat each other with respect always.'  It's making me feel like my mom a bit, but I'm guessing that's a good thing. Married 41 years and counting, my parents are obviously doing something right, and I'm happy to take a page out of their playbook. My Sailor and I aren't perfect, but we're really good friends and genuinely like each other. That doesn't mean we don't occasionally stomp on each other's feelings, exchange a harsh word, or disappoint each other. That's just part of being in a relationship (any relationship) with another human. That just means we're not fooling ourselves or putting a good face on things that sometimes legitimately suck.

 But love always seems to win out.

Quitting isn't an option - and doing things to sabotage this aren't an option either. We're as we've always been - in the trenches of life together, and we're always a work in progress (individually and as a couple). There is always something to learn.

My heart bleeds when I hear "Should I fight to save my marriage?" My advice seems inadequate, but is always this: "Define fight."

 If that definition includes doing your level best to change your spouse, you're going to lose that battle. No one likes being told what to do, when to do it, who to be friends with, how to feel, etc. It's largely met with rebellion rather than change, especially when you're already on the defensive.

But if "fighting" means things like being open to change and growth, showing love freely and openly, forgiving and learning to apologize sincerely, getting help if you need it, and developing healthy boundaries, then by all means - FIGHT.  Even if the marriage ends, you'll have learned some value skills to take with you into the future. That kind of fighting makes you a better person no matter the outcome.

The tales of woe have really made me appreciate the dynamics in my marriage on a whole new level. Yes, I remember what it was like to be unhappily married in my early 20's.  It was short lived, and full of heartbreak and anxiety - for that I'm grateful though. I wouldn't be me if it weren't for that experience. But no, I don't worry about My Sailor in a tin can under the ocean w/ female sailors. I trust him. I know that if he does get a rare port call, I HOPE he's able to get some much deserved R&R! A decade ago, I wasn't that secure either.

We trust each other to take care of ourselves and our marriage. End of Line. It saves a HUGE amount of head/heartaches.

Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, it's time to get some serious soap scum out of the way!

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