Friday, October 06, 2006

Marriage

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary. My husband and I had been together for five years before we got married. Actually, he moved in with me a month after we began dating (children do not follow my example, not because it didn’t work out but because I had a teeny tiny bit of previous relational experience on which to base my decision.)

I married late, at the age of forty-three, my husband was forty-one. Neither of us had been married before, although neither of us were ever alone much. We got married because we felt committed to each other and we felt that commitment was eternal.

Yes, we loved each other; we still do. Yes, we lusted after each other; we still do. But in our opinions, these were not sufficient reasons to get married. They were reasons to live together, which we did.

I think people get married too quickly and for the wrong reasons. I don’t believe in divorce. Now, before all you divorced people or friends of divorced people jump down my throat, let me say I do not advocate people staying in abusive relationships. What I’m suggesting is that people should make the decision to marry in a more business like manner.

A good marriage requires that the couple have core beliefs in common. It requires a common outlook on the things the couple find most important to themselves. As Robin Williams character in Good Will Hunting says, “You're not perfect sport, and let me save you the suspense, this girl you've met she's not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you're perfect for each other.”

This is why good marriages look different on the surface. Two people can appear to be so different. My husband is an active, outdoorsy sort of guy. He likes golf, guns, fishing, trucks, beer, “The Guys,” boobs,
and straight talk. He has lived in this area all his life. He knows everyone. He has few thoughts about God. He has a high school degree. I like reading, writing, gin (I never drink beer), have few friends, moved around a lot, am reclusive, have a deep belief and knowledge of God and have several degrees. So, on the surface, we shouldn’t be right for eachother. But our core beliefs are the same.
We believe in eachother’s right to be who we are, marriage is forever, money is a mutual commodity, work for what you want, cash is good and credit is evil, family is a top priority, commitments are to be honored and not entered into lightly, our right to speak our minds regardless of how we disagree, and the fact that we are separate people who chose to be together knowing full well we’d survive alone (the other person is not our validation.)

In other words, we get along. We are friends with benefits, as my daughter would say.

My husband and I disagree about many things. He believes in the death penalty. I don’t. I believe in God, he’s not too sure. He thinks children should be seen and not heard, I think children are people, too. He is happiest when he has lots of people around him, I prefer quiet. You get the idea. We can talk and argue about these things, but for us they are not deal breakers. What would be for us? If he tried to force me to hang out with his friends or if I followed him to where he was hanging out with his friends, we’d never be together, because trust is fundamental for us. If he didn’t go to key family functions or if I forced him to go to my work Christmas parties, we’d have split years ago, because you must know what is truly important to the other person.

So anyway, we’re not perfect and I know many people who would not like to live the way we do, but we’re not married to them. I just suggest that the rose colored glasses are taken off before you decide to marry. Think about what is most important to you and take a realistic look at the person to whom you are thinking of committing yourself. Do you like this person? Do you think you can stick by this person if they quit their job? Can you talk to eachother about tough subjects? Can you conceive of forgiving this person if he disappoints you? Can you conceive of him disappointing you (because he will)? Do you think you can deal with it? Do you think there will be room for you each to change (because you will)? Love and lust will not sustain you during the hard times, only your commitment to each other as people will.

23 comments:

  1. I agree with all you've said, bazza and myself are friends as well as everything else we enjoy each others company and get on well very rarely have a cross word. been together 14 years married 7 so i think where doing ok.
    Happy Anniversary!

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  2. Happy Anniversary. Just wanted to say that I've been meaning to stop by as any time my son has seen your avatar, we have to chase it.

    That said, this is a beautiful post. You've hit the nail so wonderfully on the head. My husband will often say from the supine position in which he watches whatever sporting event - "face it, you're not a sports fan". To which I laughingly reply "Let me know when it's the playoffs". It's having a sense of self, yet a core belief system - whatever that may be and a mutual respect for each other that gets us through any of the tough times.

    Again - happy anniversary and thanks for sharing a wonderful perspective.

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  3. Happy 5th Anniversary! Thanks for a beautifully intimate look into the wheels and cogs of your relationship.

    And for the difficult questions.

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  4. Wonderful post, Goldennib. Tom and I found that you marry your friend. The one you wake up and CHOOSE every single day...regardless of the daily stresses and who left their dirty socks on the floor. It is about mutual respect and a choice you make together...every single day.

    Happy Anniversary, darlin'!

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  5. Happy 5th! We'll be married 5 years in December - and you could have written this about us! My husband and I are polar opposites, but have core values, morals, principals, etc.

    I think it's the marrying later that does it. You have to have some growth, and somceexperiences behind you. The first time I married I was just a baby - and of course, thought it was forever.

    This time I was 52 years old - and KNEW it was forever. I was crying so hard when the minister was marrying us, that he kept stopping and asking if I was alright! I was just totally overwhelmed with the commitment I was making....this time knowing that it was until death parted us, for the rest of my entire life. BIG deal. I wasn't there when I was younger.

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  6. This post is eloquent, loving and sensible all at once. It should be required reading for all engaged couples.

    Happy Anniversary, and many, many more.

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  7. Happy 5th Anniversary! I think that God intentionlly puts opposites together, because He knows that you can learn from each other & just maybe understand why others behave the way they do. My husband and children are very different from me. It can be frustrating at times, but also pushes me to try things that normally wouldn't appeal to me and even occasionally enjoy them.

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  8. Here here to all of the above. Well written and sensible advice for all. May you live long and prosper in your love!
    Peace, Tom

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  9. i broke up with my boyfriend last week because i didnt (dont) feel like im in love with him anymore he didnt and stil doesnt get it. but im happy, and just hoping that he can be happy again too :)

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  10. Beautifully written!

    "Happy anniversary to you both!"

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  11. This is so moving. I had to come back. Would you mind sending me a copy of this to glimpsesintangible@hotmail.com
    I would never use it without your name. I think this would be wonderful for a woman's retreat program that is coming up. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable in e-mailing this to me I fully understand; no apologies or excuses are necessary. Once again "Happy Anniversary!"

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  12. Tina: Friendship is very important. Congrats on your longevity, too.

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  13. G: Thanks for stopping by. That sounds like us. I'll sit in the room while he's watching his game and I'll be reading. I'll touch base with the game just to see what he's excited about, but I don't really participate until The Party.

    Jay: I suspect that despite your silliness, you and NM have the same thing.

    Cindra Jo: Exactly. You must be willing to make that decision all of the time.

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  14. happy fifth wedding anniversary...apparently it's "wood" this is way too easy...did he give you wood?

    word verification: hidjd

    Me: Did he give you wood?
    You: Hidjd.

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  15. Happy Anniversary Nessa. Reading something like this convinces me that I will never be married because I tire of anyone being in my personal space for too long.

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  16. Jackie: I agree. I think marrying later does help. Pre-Happy Anniversary to you.

    Quilly: Thanks.

    Sarah: Yes. I know I’m learning loads, trying new things and getting out of my safe zones because of him.

    Tom: Thanks. (Like the Star Trek reference.)

    CECCG: I’m sorry you broke up with your boyfriend. The ending of any relationship is sad, regardless of the reasons. I’m glad you are good with your choice, though.

    Pauline: Thanks. And I am touched that you find it useful enough to pass along. I will email it to you. I am honored.

    Guggs: You make me giggle. We both love wood.

    Jenn: Take heart, dearest, mine. Before my husband, my longest relationships only lasted six months or so. I bore easily and quickly and couldn’t stand my home occupied by others, only visits. And I still only allow very limited people in my personal space.

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  17. I give you guys a century, at best...

    It all depends on how a person defines 'Marriage.' And I think, like just about everything else, that the definition changes as your life trundles by. Can you believe that I once thought that Marriage was just an excuse to have sex? What would Karl Marx have said about marriage?

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  18. Congrats on your fifth wedding anniversery, Nessa. You pointed out some great things to consider when getting married. I don't know if I have the patience for it, but I intend to overcome that feeling.

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  19. Happy anniversary,! Hubby and I lived together before we got married to, and I also endorse it.

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  20. Mr. Logo and I hit 16 years not too long ago, I got married at 19.
    I think you hit on alot of the critical issues right there.
    There have been hard, tough times, but we decided we were sticking 'em out.
    Love, lust and commitment, all three are critical.
    Good post!
    Happy Anniversary, hon.

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  21. Bert: One must be flexible. How did that sex concept work out for you? Get lots? Was Karl Marx married?

    Grunty: Thanks. All in good time. Ladies, I think he’s a good catch. All serious takers give Grunty a holler.

    Sar: Thanks. Nothing like getting to know someone first.

    Logo: I think you hit on the absolute key. One must be willing to commit.

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  22. belated happy....
    lovely post.
    just loved the bit "we are separate people who chose to be together knowing full well we’d survive alone (the other person is not our validation.) "
    its so easy to get confused on this

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  23. Lemon: That is hard. I forgot it plenty of times.

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