It is funny how marriage comes across in the Hollywood spotlight. We, women, throwing ourselves into the perfect ending romance novels. Dragging our husbands to every Nicholas Sparks movie, hinting at the picture perfect relationship between the lead roles. Leaving us believing that our own personal relationships and marriage need to be what we see in the movies or read in our novels. Our daughters wanting to be princesses and marrying their prince charming. Giving our daughters this illusion that when you get married it will be this great fairytale and you will live "happily ever after". When in reality, marriage is not always a happily every after.
I always believed I would only be married once. I always told myself I would never divorce, I would do everything to make it work. I dreamt of being that old couple that would be celebrating their "50th" wedding anniversary. Being one of the ones that made it through everything. After all, I grew up around many couples that had been together for at least twenty years. So it was only natural that I would hope for the same in my future marriage.
Eleven and a half years ago, I said "I do" at just barely nineteen years old. Married two weeks after the birth of my first son to his father, I thought I knew what I was doing. I was naive. It was not the fairytale I thought it would be. I learned quickly that marriage is not all rainbows and fairytales. It is not running off into the sunset with one another and it is automatically a "happily ever after". It was not at all what I imagined growing up, but that is because no one really talks about the hard parts of marriage. Do not get me wrong, my first marriage had its good moments. I am not saying it was all bad. For so long, I tried so hard to be the perfect wife. Doing everything to please everyone, putting everyone else's needs above my own. Somewhere along the line, we lost the communication or was it ever truly there? The respect just wasn't there. The trust wasn't there. The commitment wasn't there. All the necessary items that build a long lasting marriage and relationship foundation, just were not there. I wondered countless times if it would even work, if we were just too broken to truly work. Several times we would "separate" for a few months and then come back together trying to work it out. Only to realize that nothing really changed in the first place and we'd end up on the endless cycle of separation and getting back together. A vicious cycle that would come to an end ten years later.
There is a saying, "Marriage is 50/50". Well, I have to say I disagree to that saying. Marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100. You both have to give a hundred percent for it to work. If one person is giving their all and the other isn't, it will never work. You both have to want it and both be dedicated and committed to the marriage. In my first, it was not that way. The truth is neither one of us was truly prepared for what we had said "I do" to.
Do I regret my first marriage? Not at all. We have three beautiful children from the decision we made, which will never be a regret of mine. After my divorce, I thought I would never marry again. The divorce was so emotional and seriously was a life changer for myself. (Which is a whole different blog post for another day on why).
I had it in my head that I would not want to put myself through all the heartache again by marrying someone else and having it all happen again. It wasn't until I met Jarad, it all changed. Even just my perspective on a relationship completely changed. Jarad and I are big advocates for communication in our marriage. Because honestly, if you aren't communicating then what are you doing? Are we perfect at it, not at all. However, we both know how important it is to communicate to one another on how we are feeling. We completely lay it all on the table, if there is a problem, we say it. Is it always easy to do? Not at all. Sometimes we have to pry it out of one another, but at least it happens and we are better than ever afterwards.
Trust and honesty. They go hand in and hand. If you can't trust your spouse, then what is the point of being together? If you are constantly wondering where they are or who are they talking to, is that really healthy? Is that really going to give you that "fairytale"? The other day, I received a message on Snapchat from someone I went to high school with a degrading comment due to a "selfie" I posted and a caption stating "I can't wait for date night with my husband". Needless to say, I advised the guy to not write me again and that I was happily married. I made sure to block him on all social media and advised my husband what was said. Could I have just blocked it and not said anything? I could have, but I find it highly important for my husband and I to be open and honest with one another. I put myself in his shoes, and I would want to know if someone messaged him such things. This allows us to be able to trust one another and know we can come to one another with anything and everything.
Honesty is such an important aspect in a relationship and lays the foundation for many other important aspects, such as trust and communication. Honesty is important in plans for children, knowing one another's feelings, and things like finances. If there is a lack of honesty, do you really know that person truly? Would you want to marry someone or carry on a relationship with someone you could not trust? Honesty is like a house foundation. It can hold up great and be really sturdy, but if it starts to lack any of that foundation. You can repair it, but it will never be the same and may even need constant repairs.
Trust. Trust can be mentally damaging if broken. Broken trust can cause you to damage yourself mentally and become unhealthy. It will cause you to always wonder if the other person is doing something they are not suppose to. Is he really out with the guys? Is she texting another guy? Is it really an extra hour at work for work? Is he really going to watch football or seeing his favorite waitress? You start playing detective and driving yourself crazy. Your mind starts spinning and it doesn't stop. It begins to cause fights and causes you to disconnect from one another, which is why trusting one another is so important.
Appreciation and praise. Daily routine can sometimes get "too routine" and cause us not slow down and appreciate one another. Jarad does so much for our family. Since I work until four and it can take me almost forty-five mins to an hour to get home, he is the one that picks up the boys from school. He is the one helping them with homework and starting dinner, so that by the time that I get home from work and picking up Kinsley, I do not have to stress about so much. He is always putting the children and I before himself. I try to tell him and show him how appreciative I am for everything he does for us, by surprising him with breakfast in bed or making a really delicious dinner for him. Even though my little things I do for him, may not be big, I know he truly appreciates that I am showing how appreciative I am for him. So take the time and show your loved one, how much you appreciate everything they do. It does not have to be anything extravagant, it could be just simply making dinner, doing laundry so they don't have to, or showing up to their work with lunch or a coffee (hubby likes to show up with coffee as a surprise for me!)
Praise- just text one another during the day. A random quick and simple "I love you", can completely make your spouse's day. Jarad and I are constantly texting one another throughout the day saying how much we love one another and how thankful we are for each other. Honestly, after nine months together, it never gets old. He actually called me earlier today, just to leave me a voicemail stating how much he is in love with me and appreciates that I am his wife and lots of other mushy stuff that I absolutely love. It truly brought tears to my eyes because this is the kind of love and marriage I have always dreamed of.
God. Our faith in God, truly has brought us closer together. Praying together and worshiping God together truly brings you closer together spiritually and mentally.
At the end of the day, no marriage or relationship will be a fairytale like your novels or the Nicholas Sparks movies. However, you can come pretty darn close to your own kind of fairytale with dedication, commitment, communication, trust, honesty, appreciation, and praise. Let's face it, no marriage is perfect, but we can certainly try for our own kind of perfect "happily ever after". After all, it is working for us :)