Back with another one-year anniversary post - aren't you the luckiest readers? ;-)
While we were stopped at our favorite pub/restaurant in Troy on our way back home from our anniversary trip to Vermont (the UBER-LONG VT post will be ready soon...I hope!), the conversation naturally led itself to our marriage. In all honesty, the discussion was brief; I mean, how philosophical can one get over a flight of 6 (beer samples) and a pint of pumpkin ale? (I'm sure some people can get QUITE philosophical over such, but I was anxious to get back to the three fuzzy ones at home and Dave was just enjoying his flavor selection. We ain't too classy sometimes.)
Instead of focusing on the numerous improvements we need to work on with the marriage, or all that we've done wrong (either as a couple or individually), I decided to ask - "What've we done RIGHT and good?" We're painfully aware of what we need to fix (although it's not really much), so there's no need to dwell on the negative. The anniversary weekend was ALL about fun and positivity.
Here are a few of the answers that I jotted down on the beer-splattered napkin:
- Forgiveness. We're both stubborn, and I own my Irish temper - it is what it is. Arguments are inevitable. I once read that more marriages fail when the individuals involved DON'T know how to argue correctly - either by keeping it all inside and holding unspoken grudges (never fighting) or by getting verbally abusive or harmful. We've learned to fight about the issue at hand, not drudge up long-dead issues or past faults just to win the upper hand in an argument. Simultaneously, we're not out to HURT each other. (Isn't it true that we always hurt the ones we love? And the jerks that we work with or deal with outside the home get away with being, well, jerks? It shouldn't be that way.)
So, we've learned to fight properly, but most importantly, we forgive and move on. One of us is usually able to calm down before the other, and remind the other of the love we share. Oh, and since, through trial and error, we've learned about forgiveness and how to fight properly, we fight a lot less. We didn't fight much in the first place, but when we did, it wasn't pleasant. Now, every issue doesn't turn into a fight; more often than not, it turns into a conversation.
- Communication, or, as Mr. Hubs put it, "We talk more." We suuuuuuuure do! Like I said, even when we're annoyed or mad, we lay our cards on the table and explain it. Sometimes we don't even know that the other is upset, or we need an explanation. It's a lot easier not to get mad back and to try to bring some calm levity to the discussion when you know what the other person's going through. Because of this, the number of "I just wanna be alone" or downright SILENT fights (you know what I'm talking about, married folks) has diminished.
- Remembering to Regroup. We're a busy couple. Between theater duties and practices, Dave's particularly rough work schedule, caring for the cats (that doesn't sound like much, but it's something!), and trying to find time for friends and family (which we only wish we could do more). It could be worse, but it's easy to get home, exhausted, only to sit eating without connecting. I've more than once laid down in bed to say, "I don't remember talking to you today." I know we'd spoken, but I don't remember a word of it. It's like phantom driving, that dangerous habit of pulling sleepily into one's driveway not remembering driving.
So, we remember our occasional Cooperstown trips, or put aside a Saturday to focus on what WE want to do. It's often not about "us", like a date day or what have you, but we enjoy the process of whatever we're doing, together. Shopping at the farmers' market (or even the grocery store), working on a little house project, making breakfast and actually eating it together - it helps us regroup. And, the strangest thing is, we both get the urge when it's needed. It could be a random Wednesday night conversation during which we realize that we had both been struck with the "This Saturday, we should go to the farmers' market" mood during the day. And, when we're on the same page (95% of the time) and SPEND time together, it FEELS like a date. We appreciate the time together all the more and really enjoy each other.
Mind you, there are those times (like the weekend prior to our anniversary weekend) that a simple, slightly-too-expensive date night makes you feel like a princess. Those rock, too. ;-)
- Support and understanding. While it's not like we didn't support OR understand each other before we got married, it seems we get better at this the more time we spend together. Everyday I learn more about the stresses that he deals with at work; everyday he learns more about my hopes and dreams and wishes and frustrations. Every time I don't blow up that he has to work late, for example, I show that I'm learning how to support him better. Every time he compliments my talents, he shows that he supports my creative outlets (sometimes even more than I do). Every way that I can show him support for his writing and understanding for the bumps in the road, I try to find. Heck, even making the occasional pot of soup seems to boost him up; whatever I can do. We're stronger than we were a year ago, and not everyone can say that; I hope this continues for decades!
-Goals. We both have an idea of where we'd like to head in life. These ideas may or may not be different than they were a year ago, but we're still completely connected as to the importance of supporting (see above) one another while traveling our paths, whether those paths be what we expected or not. I was always concerned about human's inclination to change - hey, what would life be if we just lived in ruts for good? But, I was worried that the idea of marriage opposed a person's will to change, leading to ultimate doom (the dreaded "D" word that marks the end of a marriage). Now, however, I'm feeling much more confident that people (Dave and I, in particular) can change and grow - even if they're moving at different speeds or in different directions - as long as it's together and with open communication throughout. It can be an uplifting thing, really. Quite unexpected!
An extra non-napkin note that I'd like to add is one that I haven't mentioned to Dave. Something that means A LOT to me is that he's turned into my cheer-up person. There was a time that I'd be in a bad mood about something and he'd be completely hands-off about it. It wasn't for lack of caring; he just didn't know that my needs are different than his needs, and I need some support. (I guess you could "see above" again about that.)
Recently, I was working on the aforementioned looooong VT blog post and was having major problems posting 50 pictures using Windows Live Writer. (Any suggestions GREATLY appreciated!) I finally had to face the music: I was going to have to upload them directly to often-fussy Blogger. I was discouraged and downright upset, and Dave knew it. He boosted up my mood by being super sweet, bringing me tea, supporting a project I decided to do instead, and organizing my kitchen cabinets. It. Was. Incredible. Even a year ago (yep, newlywedland), he wouldn't have handled it this well.
I used to have a certain friend or movie or other activity to help boost me when I was feeling low. Now, my husband fulfills that role. Not bad for a one-year anniversary; just think where we'll be in five years!