Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lasting Love

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” 


~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~


The statistics are grim: the divorce rate in America is hovering around 41% for couples in their first marriage. Nate and I both have personal experiences with divorce; both sets of parents in fact. We understand that it was all for the best and that all parties involved are much happier now because of this decision, but it has left us both a little gun shy in the marriage department. We struggled with the idea of a lasting relationship and what it truly takes from both sides to be in a happy marriage. As a result, our expectations for one another in the early stages of our relationship were high reaching to put it lightly. Of course, we are human, thus we fell short of each other's unrealistic wants; naturally, disappointment ensued. 


It was the little things that unraveled us, the WAY he said something or perhaps he left his wet towel on the floor, which I was convinced was a testament to the overall health of our relationship. Or perhaps it was the terse manner in which I said something that came across as a little too harsh, or the bobby pins that seem to infiltrate every corner of his apartment. None of these things were a big deal in themselves, but because we didn't tell each other it was bothering us, it became a big problem.


Now here's the good news; we are not who we were four years ago. Are we all knowing and ever wise when it comes to making our relationship work?, No way jose! But I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately, what with that little thing called OUR WEDDING coming up, and I've come to a conclusion. Our marriage is gonna last, and here's why I know this to be true.


~We fight and yell. . and that's ok


{Source}


I'm not going to sugar coat it, fighting with the person you love the most sucks. You feel anger, guilt, and in my case, an overwhelming desire to be stubborn at all costs. Why is this good for us?


Because it's communication. If we are angry, we let each other know. If one has hurt the other's feelings, we let each other know. If we are feeling like we are being pushed down the priority list in the other person's life, we let each other know. Some may argue that yelling and fights in a relationship are unhealthy, but I make a case for the opposite. Yes, if all you do is fight and nothing healthy comes of it, that is bad. However, if you can express your emotions to one another in an honest manner, make progress, find a solution and move on, that is so so good.


~It's not what we are doing, it's the fact that we are doing it together


{Source}


Folding laundry is the bane of my existence. I avoid it all costs. Right now there is a huge pile of clothes sitting on the couch just waiting to be folded; it's taunting me. You know what makes folding laundry suck less? Folding laundry with Nate. 


It doesn't matter if we are having a night out on the town or cuddled up on the couch absorbed completely in our Macs (nerd alert!), it's better because we are doing it together. We enjoy the simple things that daily life brings, because we are experiencing it together. Him making his scrambled egg whites in the morning (as I look on in complete and utter disgust). Wandering the isles at the grocery store, and inevitably spending a good chunk of our time in the wine aisle. Taking a walk through our neighborhood as evening settles in and the sun sinks below the tree line . . it's the little things that make up a life together, it's the little things that make it all worthwhile.


~We never go a day without saying "I love you"


{Source}




Even if it sounds repetitive, even if what's really going through your mind is "wow they are really getting on my last nerve", say it anyway. We try never to assume that the other person knows how we feel, because assuming has never worked out well for us. So we say it, and we say it every day from a place of honesty and sincereness. Nate is so much better at telling me this than I to him. I need to tell him even more.


~We make goals, and we accomplish them together


{It's good to have goals}




I'm trying to get in better shape for the wedding and Nate offered to be my workout buddy cause I need some serious motivation that never seems to appear when I exercise alone. Strange. . .
We are both itching to go on a trip to Scotland. It probably won't pan out to go for the honeymoon, but we are saving up a little at the time so that someday we can both realize a dream. Even last week, after we had finished dinner, we peered into the kitchen to find that a mysterious kitchen elf had come in and trashed the whole place! Not to be defeated by mischievous elfin behavior, we gave ourselves the goal of cleaning up the kitchen, and rewarding our gallant efforts with a trip to Starbucks. Amazing, you throw coffee in the mix and it's crazy how much you can accomplish in such a short period of time. Goal. Met.


~We compromise, and learned to say "I'm sorry"


{Source}


Say it with me, "I'm sssss. . .I'm ssssss. . .I'm sss. ." ARRRGGG! Why are these two simple words so freaking hard to say!? I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and six feet deep; it is BAD. Admitting my wrongs is one of the hardest things I have ever had to tackle. I hate admitting I'm wrong, it feels like an admission of failure. It's also a very humbling experience. 


But sometimes, I just know that I have screwed up. I said something hurtful, I dismissed his feelings, and it makes me feel cruddy. So I screw up the courage, take a deep breath, and spit it out, "I'm sorry". Whew, wow the sky didn't fall? That's not so bad.


Not only have we learned new vocabulary, but we have also learned to take a step in the other's direction. That is, we have to compromise. Sorry Burger King, oftentimes in a relationship, you can in fact, NOT have it your way. More often than not, it is not about you at all. It is about the other person, and how much their happiness means to you. I may be less than thrilled about the creepy tiki mask that Nate insisted be hung in our apartment, and he may be less than stoked about my choice to cook with copious amounts of butter and salt (I'm southern! It's in our genes!), but we smile, shake our head, and move on. 


 This is not a soap box preaching on how perfect our relationship is (quite the opposite!)It is a hard learned lesson and the message is this:


 A lasting love is not one that is perfect, love is after all, not a feeling, but a commitment. Acknowledging each other's flaws, and loving them all the more for it. A commitment to appreciate one another, support each other, and most importantly, laugh as much as possible. 

4 comments:

  1. Did you delete my last comment?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Burger King let's you have it your way. McDonald's is loving it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thank you for the correction Mike, changes have been made, and no I did not delete your previous comment.

    ReplyDelete