After nine years of marriage, I don’t know if I’ve learned a whole lot. I knew it was going to be difficult. I knew it would be a challenge. I also knew it had the potential to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.
As a kid, I didn’t really have a decent example of marital bliss since I was raised primarily by my single father. He always made sure we had a maternal figure around, but consistency wasn’t a part of my upbringing. No worries – I probably wouldn’t have had it any other way [except keeping in contact with our mother].
Nine years makes me acknowledge this is by far the longest, most significant, and meaningful relationship I’ve been in. As much as we still may ponder about our exes from time to time, it really pales in comparison. Many of us live in a world of what if’s and what could have been. I’m glad I am not one of those people and a lot of that is directly tied to my upbringing. Once we moved from one city to another, we moved – the old city was the past. Once a new maternal figure was out of the picture, she was gone – not to be spoken to or of again. She was the past.
The future has little room for your past.
I think more about my marriage’s future. We’ve been through a lot together and I’d like to think we’ve both learned a lot together as well. Looking forward, it’s clear we still have quite a bit of ways to go.
Our communication skills still need fine tuning. We have always made it a point to never blatantly and verbally disrespect the other. There’s never been a night of cussing out the other. Not that it couldn’t happen, it just hasn’t because we’ve made it a point not to use reality TV as our benchmark of marital behavior.
Sometimes this controlled method of response to one another’s perceived ills can lead to a slew of unsaid words, which also isn’t the healthiest. So we shut down. My wife and I have had a tendency to live life in the silence, or worse yet, in the outspoken meaninglessness.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromise on subjects which we feel are concrete. Religion, faith, monogamy, parenthood, friendships, self-discovery, exploration, sex, words that shouldn’t be spoken aloud and so forth. Therein lies one of most difficult parts of marriage – how do you bend to someone without breaking yourself?
Most people don’t know the extent of their own malleability. We’re unaware of the limits on our own temperature gauge.
Many of us learn during marriage.
Interestingly enough, I think that’s the turning point for most marriages [once it’s had enough time to run it’s natural course], is when you understand that it’s not so much about what the other person does or doesn’t do, but rather a lot more to do with how you choose to react on a consistent basis.
Life itselfs continues to be a consistent teacher.
I don’t think I was ready for marriage when we first recited our vows. I was too young. We were too new to each other. I think we chose each other for not the best reasons and even some of those reasons turned out to be misrepresentations of the other. Much of this is evidenced by our sudden separation driven by me.
On our 9th anniversary, as I write this in Kansas City International Airport, waiting to see my wife and son upon my return this evening, I believe we’re in a totally different space. We’re ready to move forward on a much more productive path with a commitment to focus on the other in ways which have eluded us in the past. I’m looking forward to living out the results of our increased efforts in one another.
Too many women marry for the title and for the validation they believe it will bring. Many others marry for the ceremony and to the be the object of attention for a few short-lived hours. Some even still going through the rituals of matrimony to manipulate a man into giving them a perceived deserved lifelong lifestyle.
Too many men marry because they have been brainwashed by nights of passionate seduction. Other men so they can have a woman’s body at their perceived beck and call on demand. More men even still tying the knot simply to exert some sort of alpha male dominance over her or worse yet, one of her exes.
Many more simply believe they’re in love and are afraid of losing that feeling.
Needless to say – all terrible reasons.
A spouse is your partner through this experience called life. After nine years, I finally found mine.
In that case, perhaps I’ve learned a lot.