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Marriage Myths: Things we’ve learned about marriage from being married

Jul 29, 2015 by

Marriage Myths: Things we’ve learned about marriage from being married

When I was a child my only concept of marriage came from Disney movies. I was convinced that a Cinderella story was most definitely in my future, glass slippers optional. Being an only child of a single parent I had no idea what marriage actually looked like and was used to seeing my extremely capable mother just do everything herself.

Fast forward to my 25-year old self. I was at the tail end of an eleven-year relationship that was not leading to marriage. My ideas about what marriage and life as an adult should be were starting to crumble and I was extremely discouraged. Even though he was an incredible guy, I was not clear about what our expectations for the relationship were. I was unhappy, and had resorted to giving my boyfriend ultimatums regarding our relationship and our future…. Ultimatums that he did not follow through on, and which left me single and moving back in with my mother.3 Things we learn about marriage from being married  | www.lovetheeveryday.com

I had, as many little girls do, imagined a life with my future husband. I had dreams of a white picket fence and a pretty little yard that my husband would mow on Saturday mornings. I supposed that I would become a good cook and keep my house clean, all while working full-time and raising well-behaved children.

Now, as a newlywed my perceptions of marriage have changed again. Click To Tweet Especially as a military spouse, where my husband was gone for more than half of our first year of marriage…and I find myself wondering what have I learned in my first year of marriage about what a marriage REALLY is? What have other people learned? So I went to the experts, and polled my married, Christian friends to see what inspiration and advice I could glean from them. **some names have been changed to protect the husbands of these fantastic ladies**


 

Marriage Myths: Things we’ve learned about marriage from being married.

 Myth #1: HE WILL ALWAYS KISS ME GOODNIGHT. (and we will have a beautifully painted little sign above the bed declaring it so).

 I really expected this one to be true, and then…. I married a soldier which means many nights I share the bed with just my two dogs. But even without the kisses good night I have learned, and so have all these other gals, that this is not the most important part. I also thought we would never go to bed angry…. The reality is that 2am is not the best time to sort out our feelings. (I may be a tiny bit irrational when I’m sleepy).

 

“If I can get him to not fart in the bed, then I consider that a win!” –Courtney S.

“I thought we’d kiss each other goodnight every night and morning. Reality is one of us falls asleep with the kids or on the couch. After marriage you learn that love looks different, I don’t need flowers, when he cleans the bathroom I love him even more. “ –Kim G.

“I think if I’m not snoring, he likes that just as much as kisses goodnight, maybe more.” –Liv G.

“He’s been deployed for 6 months (at least) of every year of our marriage so far…it makes me really appreciate those nights when he can kiss me goodnight. Heck, I even appreciate the nights he’s home to fight with me before bed. You learn to value the good moments, but even the not so good moments too.” –Sarah M.

3 Things we learn about marriage from being married  | www.lovetheeveryday.com

Myth #2: I WILL HAVE THE BEST MARRIAGE EVER and effortlessly live happily ever after with Prince Charming.

When I reconnected with my husband after we had been out of college for several years, I had this moment where I just KNEW I would marry this man. It was straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel…I started dreaming about how awesome we would be and never, ever thought about the moments when life maybe wouldn’t be so awesome. I never thought about how we would handle life’s hurdles, and had I, I probably would have assumed that we would just gracefully conquer anything life threw our way.

“Before the wedding I thought I had it all planned out, and then life happened.” –Kim G.

“I knew marriage would be hard and wonderful and totally something God would use. But in real (life) it is really hard to let your husband fail, or mess up so that the holy spirit can show him things and God can teach him things. It is much easier to jump in (to help) and play that role, but that is not how God designed it to work.” –Katie L.

“After my niece passed away it seemed like our family and our marriage was hit with one bad thing after another. A snowball effect. It was really hard for me to allow my husband to try to comfort me… I had never thought about that before. I guess I imagined that if he just brought home flowers or a bottle of wine that everything would feel fine.” –Sarah M.

“Oh gosh, we fight all. the. time….. but that means we get to make up all the time too.” –Courtney S.

 

Myth #3: MY SPOUSE IS MY ONE TRUE LOVE AND THUS WILL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT TO DO OR SAY TO MAKE ME HAPPY.

Fact: My husband is not a mind reader…drats. I’ve had a tough time with this one, communication is not my strong suit. But I’m getting better, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one.

“One of the hardest things for me to do as a newlywed, ok, and still now, is realize that I have to tell ________ what I want, what I think, what I need from him. I had this idea that if I had to tell him to do it then it didn’t mean as much.” – Courtney S.

“Communication is hard. Like…. Hard hard.” –Sarah M.

“Sometimes its hard to remember that guys are just different from girls. He doesn’t always know the right thing to say and there are some things he can just never understand. I think the important part is realizing that early on in the relationship.” –Liv G.

 

So what’s the take away from all of this? What have all these ladies and I learned about marriage from being married? What’s the best part?

Me? I have learned that one person cannot possibly fulfill all of my needs. Even though he is my best friend, I still need some gal pals to talk about tampons and chick flicks with. It was totally irrational of me to expect that just because we said ‘I Do” meant we’d never let each other down ever again. God has been teaching me a lot lately about expectations and life, I’m just thankful that I have my hubby to lean on through that…. And the best part? Having someone to do life with. Someone to count on. Even if he does make fart noises with his mouth sometimes.

“I have learned that a good marriage doesn’t just happen, you have to work hard every day to make it work……The best part is I married my best friend. He is always there for me and no matter what I can count on him. He makes life fun, exciting and I get to continue learning to love him more every day.” –Kim G.

“I have learned that marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do but the best decision you will ever make….The best part about being married to my spouse is that every night we get to lay our heads down in the same bed. There is something so comforting and awesome about that. “ Katie L.

“I have learned that I’m not perfect and neither is he. Click To Tweet

“I have learned that I’m not perfect and neither is he, that’s what makes us human and what makes life fun…. The best part, is that I don’t have to tackle that imperfection by myself, I have God’s help and my husbands to handle life together.” –Sarah M.

 

What about you? What have you learned about marriage from being married?

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Avoiding alcoholism while surviving pre-deployment

Jul 16, 2015 by

Avoiding alcoholism while surviving pre-deployment

Just googled “How to not strangle your husband in the weeks leading up to deployment”. No results.

We’ve been here before, in this limbo before leaving, and it makes us both a bit crazy. One would imagine that you’d start to get used to it, when you’re preparing for trip #4 in a three year time frame, but it doesn’t get any easier even when you know what to expect. It usually begins right when your brain realizes that your spouse is getting ready to leave in 11 weeks, 10 weeks, 9, 8, 7…..the mental countdown that you can’t admit out loud you are already hearing in your heart. Then, you realize you only have so many more weekends, so many more nights in the same bed, so many more date nights and walks with the dog and you want each and every one of those moments to be as perfect and love-filled as possible.  (Spoiler Alert: That perfect and love filled part doesn’t happen.)

Emotions can be unpredictable during this time. I don’t know what it is about preparing for deployment that makes my brain explode, but at the moment, every time I see my soldier I want to sock him square in the face with my fist…or something harder. Everything he does right now is the definition of annoying. (I know what you’re thinking: “How can she be like that with her husband about to leave to risk his life for American freedoms and she thinks he’s annoying!? What is wrong with her!?) The truth of the matter is, that counting down to the inevitable separation is horrible. His things are tossed all over the house in various stages of packing, lists are being made of the way too many things left to do before he’s gone, the stress is immeasurable. So yes, sometimes I do have the strong desire to high-five my hubby, in the face….. but other times I just want to hold on to him and never let him go. Pre-deployment angst is making me nuts.

The short version is: knowing that the love of your life is about to leave for the other side of the world is really, incredibly, emotionally difficult. No matter how many times you’ve endured it before. And he’s no ray of golden sunshine either. The emotions he faces as he gets ready to leave are equally daunting and cause some serious behavioral and personality changes in him as well.

I spoke to a few of my milspouse friends recently about it, just briefly mentioning that we were a tiny bit stressed at our house, to which they all replied “it’s normal”,  and “just hang in there”…well, it may be normal, but it still sucks, ok?

But I remember the last time, and I do know that if I “just hang in there” this phase will pass. Because it seems to come and go in phases.

Phase 1: Imaginary Normal

This is where we pretend that there is no trip looming on the horizon. We may know the approximate dates and maybe even have a quick conversation about how we really ought to get the deck stained before he leaves, but we go on pretending that nothing has changed. Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I even pretend that there was a little mistake and someone ELSE was supposed to get those orders…imaginary. This is the easy part. The part where you brain can go on believing that life isn’t about to change again.

Phase 2: Anxiety, Angst, and Homicidal Feelings

This is where we are now. When there is no more pretending. There’s stupid arguments and stress. There’s an empty tuff box in the living room waiting to be filled, and the idea of the impending loneliness is constantly in the back of our minds. We fight a little more than we are used to, and spend quiet alone time, maybe preparing ourselves for the alone time that we know is about to come. I can’t help the thoughts that creep into my head at all hours of the night, keeping me awake: “How is this happening again so soon? I don’t want to do this.”

Phase 3: List Making

This comes next and often much closer to the actual leaving day. (Maybe we should start it now though because it really does help us both to manage some of the anxiety).  We both start to make separate lists. I usually have two: Things that need to get done or be purchased before he leaves, and Things that I will do after he has gone. He generally makes packing lists. We dive head first into these lists with single-minded determination, believing that as long as every item gets checked off the list then everything else is going to be fine.

Phase 4: The Guilt Ridden Horrible Wife Days

You know what I’m going to say here, I know you do. “The sooner he’s gone the sooner he can come back”…. “I wish he’d just get out of here so I can get on with my life.”….”If he would just leave already then I could figure out how to cope with this.”  I get to the point where the endless waiting gets the best of me and I truly just want him to leave. (NO OF COURSE I DON’T ACTUALLY WANT HIM TO LEAVE!) (Ok, maybe sometimes I do.) I can create a good and solid routine for my life when he’s deployed, but these long days waiting for him to deploy are painful and crazy and once he’s gone life will get back to normal. And then, I catch myself thinking those things and I am overcome with guilt.  And I feel so guilty that I cook him his favorite meals and I dig out the sexy night gowns and I try really hard to be positive and happy… and I know he feels guilty too, because he secretly wants to get on with his mission as well. I know this because he buys the super sized bags of dog food and carries them in for me so that I won’t have to while he’s gone.

7 Phases of PreDeployment   www.lovetheeveryday.com

 

Phase 5: The Honeymoon

Somewhere in there, in the last few days before he leaves we always have one really awesome day. I call it the last best day, I think I read that in a book somewhere. (You never know when the last best day is going to be so you don’t get to admire this day until after he’s left).  We remind each other that we are on the same team and that we can do this. We hold hands and kiss a lot. And it’s nice. I like to look back on this day when I’m feeling particularly self-piteous in the next phase.

Phase 6: Wallowing

This phase comes after. After the goodbyes and the hugs and the dropping off. This starts for me the moment I turn the door knob into my now eerily empty home. This is important, because if I’m not careful I will start to wallow before he even leaves. I’ll find myself feeling bad for myself about his leaving, and he’ll still be sitting there on the couch with me. (Don’t do this). I give myself a week to wallow, to drink too much and to eat ice cream right out of the carton for dinner, or breakfast, or whatever. I let myself wear his t-shirts to bed and I cry. Then, it’s game one.

Phase 7: Rock it

I realize that this is not technically pre-deployment but as we struggle through these pre-deployment weeks it is important for me to remember that this phase is on the horizon. This is the phase where I become a superhero, rock star and kick Deployment’s butt. My super-hero-ness isn’t polished like some of the amazing milspouses I know, but it’s pretty damn good. This is the part where you suddenly are able to do everything that needs to be done, which used to take two people, but now can be done (awesomely) by one. This is where I learn how to balance life again, make it to Ladies Night, attend church on a regular schedule, head to the gym, kick butt at work and remember to pay the mortgage on time. (Of course there will be those moments when you forget to take out the trash on trash day that reduce you to tears, but that’s for another post, this one is about being a rock star).

 

Because it is hard to deal with the snapping at each other, which seems to get worse with every passing day...but I am an Army Wife, and I can do this. (And so can you.) Click To Tweet

I have faith that God will see us through this trying time, as well as guide us through the impending deployment…but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it. I’m imperfect. I struggle to be a good wife and to be an encouragement to my husband during this time. This is a learning process, no matter how many times we’ve been through it before.

 


You can find this post linked up here and here. Check out the links for access to some really excellent bloggers. <3

 

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