In honor of my 4 year wedding anniversary coming up in a little less than one week, I have decided to let the world know exactly what marriage means to me. Even though we have only been married for 4 years, we have been together for over 9 years. Anyone who is married, has been married, is or ever has been in a serious relationship knows that it is not all sunshine and roses. Relationships require a lot of dedication and hard work, especially marriage. Unfortunately, in today’s society, relationships and marriages are becoming more disposable. The minute things get tough or don’t go the way people envisioned, they run with their tail between their legs. People get married with the thought process, “If it doesn’t work out, we can just get divorced.” This thought process is what has devalued marriage amongst society. Some may say it’s same sex marriage and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, to each their own. I think if two people love one another than that is all that matters. I personally feel the individuals who take marriage lightly are the ones who have taken away from the significance of it.
I am the product of divorced parents. My dad has been married 4 times and my mom has been married 3 times. If there is one vital thing I learned from their mistakes, it’s that I only want to be married once in my life time. When David and I met and started dating, it was like all relationships are in the beginning; sunshine & roses. While our sunshine & roses phase didn’t last forever, if you told me back then that our relationship would face some very trying times, I would have never believed you. While I was no stranger to unsuccessful relationships, I was very headstrong and knew what I wanted my life and marriage to be like. I do not want to take away from all of the amazing memories we have made over the years, however when you put two stubborn people together, it’s bound to be a little chaotic. People close to us did not think we would last because we bickered constantly.
David and I went almost 9 years with a dysfunctional relationship. How we survived it, I’m not really sure but we did. Some of you may even wonder why we got married knowing how dysfunctional we were. We would bury issues in our relationship and never work through them causing us to ‘cry over spilled milk’. No, I don’t really mean crying over spilled milk, now that would be just silly. I mean that by not working through our bigger issues, when smaller issues would arise, they seemed even bigger. Our relationship had become very toxic and it was not only affecting us, it was affecting our daughter. Just last year it had reached a point where we were on the verge of going our separate ways. In fact, we actually did take a break for a few weeks.
It was time to fight or flight. We decided to fight. We seeked help from an outside source and it was absolutely one of the best decisions we made. We were able to overcome problems we had buried for years. We learned a lot about ourselves as individuals as well as our relationship and the breakdown of our marriage. We had both come from broken homes and that alone stacked the odds against us. Believe it or not, most of our issues stemmed from our family of origin. In a lot of relationships and marriages, family of origin plays a big role in how we handle certain issues.
David and I had reached a point in our relationship where we were tearing each other down rather than lifting each other up. We spent more time working against each other rather than working as a team. In therapy, we were given the tools we need for a successful marriage. We shed a lot of tears through out the process and it took a lot of hard work and determination to get back on track. It required us to open up in ways we never had in the 8 and half years we had been together.
Most people in our situation would have taken the easy way out. Divorce. Could we have taken that route? Sure.. But what would we have learned. Not much. Chances are our problems would have followed us into any future relationships because the reality of it is that the issues we had were with ourselves as individuals and not necessarily with one another. We had to face issues within ourselves before we could face any issues in our marriage. Throwing in the towel was not an option for us. I am so glad that we didn’t.
So, what does marriage mean to me? Marriage to me means loving unconditionally and seeing past each others flaws. Marriage requires not two perfect individuals but two very good forgivers. It requires for you to swallow your pride at times. It is having the courage to say “I’m sorry.” It is choosing to love the same person every day for the rest of your life. It takes hard work and dedication. Marriage is lifting one another up and being a good support system. It must be built on a foundation of love, trust, honesty, respect and friendship. It does not require huge grand gestures. It is the little things that count. To be honest, marriage is messy and unpredictable. Our marriage is proof of that. With that being said, without the bad times, I could have never learned to appreciate all of the amazing times. It is true what they say, sometimes you just need to learn to dance in the rain. If you can weather the storm, I’d say that is a pretty good foundation.