There are so many things that I have been trying to work out and say in this space, things that I have been quietly working through and obsessing over. I am only human, and this human loves to compare myself to other bloggers, friends, family members, random people I see at the mall or park or on the street. And it seems as though I am always, always comparing my relationship with Sean to what theirs appear to be on the surface. And they all appear pretty goddamn perfect.
Growing up, I was always looking and hoping for my Prince Charming. I thought that if you really truly loved some one, spending your life together would always be fun and would always be easy. Nobody told me that even Prince Charming farts, picks his nose, poops, and leaves his socks and underwear on the floor despite my constant nagging. I never thought that marriage would be so much work.
The truth is, those obsessive ''sparks'' that you feel for some one always fade, and reality sets in. You stop thinking about them every second of every day, you stop trying to look your best every time you see each other, and if you aren't careful... you start to take advantage of them. And I think that for a while now, I have been mourning the loss of those sparks. And in doing this, I have failed to really and truly appreciate the real thing that I have found with Sean.
Marriage is honestly the hardest thing I have ever been apart of. That isn't to say that it hasn't been worth it. In a few days, I will have been married to Sean for three years. And together for a grand total of ten. And did I mention that I'm only 25? This means that I have been with the same person for almost 1/2 of my entire life. And for over-thinkers and commitment-phobes like myself, this can be scary at times.
And by scary, I mean hard to digest that so much time and effort has been wrapped up into one relationship. That no matter what you want to believe, that person can always leave you heart broken and alone if they want to. That the truth is, normal 14 year olds aren't lucky enough to meet their soul mates so young... and when they do, they hardly realize how amazing and special that is.
If you hear nothing else from my tiny little microscopic corner of cyberspace, please hear this: Marriage is hard work, and please do not jump in unless you are ready to work and fight for and protect your partner. Every day.
When you get married straight out of college, you have to learn how to be an adult and a wife all at once. And when you finally get your ''big girl job,'' you have to figure out how to make it stretch between rent, bills, student loans, food, and basically everything classified as not fun. You don't get to spend it all on clothes like one may or may not have done in high school, and you soon come to believe that your last vacation ever was your honeymoon.
Oh, and the part about learning how to be a wife when you are still in a really selfish learning phase... that's often the hardest part.
The only thing that makes this easier, is having a partner that always has your back. Even when there are times you want to leave, to call it quits for good. Because maybe I'm making a huge assumption here, but I don't really deep down believe when people say that they don't argue with their partners. Sometimes I argue with Sean simply because I'm bored, pissed about work, pissed that the dogs crapped on the floor yet again, or any other stupid excuse to just bitch. Sometimes he deserves it though, and sometimes I deserve it. We're human, remember?
So this is what I have learned, and by no means am I the expert. But I will say this: that these things have really helped me recently to appreciate Sean and appreciate the fact that I am really freakin lucky to have the husband that I have. That I found some one who doesn't bail when things get hard, and who has really worked hard to make our life together fulfilling and to meet all of my needs.
Getting up early for coffee, cereal, and cartoons with your spouse before work is always worth it. Even if you don't say much, those extra moments together are vital.
Making dinner together and talking about your day is a much better decision than tuning him out while mindlessly catching up on the past few re-runs of The Hills or The Real Housewives. And please, turn off your cell phone. Facebook will be there tomorrow.
Weekly date nights actually do help. And you can figure out how to save $15-20 so that they can happen every week. Hold hands, laugh, and never stop learning more about your partner.
Plan vacations together, even if they involve getting a cheap hotel room and exploring free museum or venues. With the stressors of everyday, you owe it to eachother to share some fun times together at least twice a year. It's all a lesson in budgeting your money and putting it towards things that really matter.
Say I love you every morning before you leave and say it again whenever you get the chance. You can never hear it enough from your spouse. And while you're at it, kiss and hug and hold hands often. The best feeling in the entire universe is feeling loved by your spouse.
Compromise about everything. Talk about everything. Try and put yourself in your spouses shoes every once in a while, and also take notice in the emotions your spouse is experiencing. Rather than jumping to conclusions, always give them the benefit of the doubt. Look for the good and for christsake, stop focusing on the negative.
Be best friends first and foremost, and treat them accordingly.
But most importantly, in my opinion, is be careful not to lose yourself in them. It's okay if one of you gets hit on at the bar, because let's face it... they are hot and young and deserve to feel that way. It's really important to feel, sometimes, that others find you attractive (even though you're now an old married couple ;). Flirting is harmless.
And don't give up your hobbies, if your spouse doesn't enjoy doing something that you love then take time every week to do them with a friend. And while we're talking about friends, save time to go out with and without your partner every week. You're married, not dead. And you'll have more things to talk about and laugh about if you keep on living your life while balancing your marriage.
I just think it's important to know that marriage takes a whole lot of work, and our country's divorce rate isn't as high as it is for no reason. Marriage isn't for those looking for the easy way out. You have to work together, communicate, and always remember why you got together in the first place.
And, as hard as it is, stop comparing your relationship to others. It's not healthy and it's childish. My marriage isn't perfect, but nobody's is. Not if they're honest with themselves. But I will say, if we're being honest, that I appreciate Sean and love him more than anyone or anything else past or present. And we will keep working on our relationship together for as long as we are able, because it's worth it.