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Ten Little Things & Then Some.

I think about marriage a lot: what it entails, what makes it work, what it means. I think about it so often because it's the single most important relationship, the single most important anything, in my life. And also because I royally fucked ours up several years back... almost to the point of losing it. To be fair my husband assisted in said fucking-up, but I know that the majority of it rested squarely upon my shoulders. In the end it took a lot of work on both our parts - but - like any great fairytale story, (which I believe we have), the dragons we slayed were worth fighting. The end of that nightmarish story was really just the beginning of our happily-ever-after.

I'll not go into sordid details about that time in our lives out of respect for my husband and his privacy, but I will say that the experience garnered us both a mountain of wisdom regarding marriage. And I'll tell you what we've discovered about it:

Love is not enough.
Devotion is not enough.
Trust is not enough.
Acceptance is not enough.
Communication is not enough.
Attraction is not enough.
Compatibility is not enough.
Respect is not enough.
Loyalty is not enough.
Friendship is not enough.

It's everything.

If you don't give every single one of those things to your spouse and if you don't receive every single one of those things from your spouse, then you're doomed. Don't hate me for saying that. It's the truth. Oh, and by the way, those ten little things are still not enough, even when given and received wholly... 

...because there are things within each couple's unique relationship that are deal-breakers, right? Ahh but here's the caveat: You can't have deal-breakers if you intend to stay married for life. You just can't. When you say, "Well if he/she ever..." you are setting yourselves up for failure. Again, don't get mad. It's just the way it is.

We don't have deal-breakers in our relationship. Pretty amazing, huh? It didn't used to be that way. We used to have a shit-ton of deal breakers and our relationship wasn't very good. But now we don't have deal-breakers... because we fix the broken things within ourselves that could break the deal in the first place. In other words: I fix me and he fixes him. Let me say it again: We fix the issues within ourselves that have the potential to bring catastrophe, or even minute discord, into our marriage. Ok, one last time: I see a problem within myself and I work on it. He sees a problem within himself and he works on it. Sometimes we point out problems we see in one another, and guess what? You got it... we fix our individual issues ourselves. (I just can't stress this part enough...) He doesn't try to fix me and I don't try to fix him. I fix me. He fixes himself. Got it? Good.

So after all that rambling... here's the condensed recipe for a happy marriage:

I show him love, he shows me love. I stay devoted to him, he stays devoted to me. I trust him, he trusts me. I accept him, he accepts me. I communicate with him, he communicates with me. I'm attracted to him and I keep myself attractive for him. He's attracted to me and he keeps himself attractive for me. I take part in his interests, he takes part in my interests. I respect him, he respects me. I'm loyal to him, he's loyal to me. He is my best friend, I am his best friend. I fix me, he fixes himself.

If you take even one piece out of that gigantic equation above, it unequivocally fails. You will either divorce or be miserable. Both of which, honestly, are failures of a marriage.

Do you know how fucking long it took us to figure all this out?? Way.Too.Long. That's why I'm sharing this with y'all... so you don't have to spend 10 years wading through bullshit heartache to reach the same conclusion. 

If all else fails, drink a beer.
Pic by: Your Truly

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