Archives

16 Years? We Have Arrived! (Not really!)

10346373_10154428523370187_2136238812045424257_nWell, well, well. Congratulations to Mr. Dixon and me. We are “celebrating” 16 years of marriage today. If by celebrating, I mean working,making and eating dinner, and taking care of life. Apparently that’s how 16 years is done. Don’t worry though. We will mark this occasion with child free wanderings at 16 years and one day. That’s just the way it’s done around here. 

If you’ve read about our marriage, or heard about our marriage here, there, or elsewhere, you may be fooled into believing that we have a perfect marriage. This is so far from the truth that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. A wonderful marriage, yes, perfect, ha! Ha! And another HA for good measure. 

No one survives 16 years of marriage without a few roadblocks, pitfalls, and forks in the road. Oh, we have had issues. Ironically, those issues have given us the marriage we have today, right this minute. It’s like I told a friend lately, you don’t show up to the gym and get in shape. You not only have to show up, you have to work out. You have to put effort into what you are doing. Without the resistance of weights, you’ll leave the gym in the same condition in which you arrived at the gym. It’s a lot less work, but you’re already paying for the membership, you may as well put some effort into your workouts and improve yourself. 

So, much like showing up at the gym, having a great marriage is not just getting married. There is some work involved and if you just show up and expect to get the same results as someone showing up and working for it, you are going to be disappointed. In our marriage, our strength has been built by the resistance we have faced. Resistance from him, from me, from us, and from every day issues that come up. I’ll tell you the truth, there are days when I wake up and he just irritates the living daylights out of me. I can choose to react based on my feelings, or I can breathe deep and show grace. Feelings are not facts. When I choose to show grace, I grow stronger and so do we. (just don’t ask how often I am actually able to put that into practice, mmmmmkay?) 

So, yeah, of course we have problems. We have disagreements and arguments. I don’t talk about these, except with a few friends. There is no profit in me blasting him on Facebook or here on my blog. I would end up with the proverbial egg on my face anyway, because somehow I am usually in the wrong. (That’s my gift to you today, Mr. Dixon! Admission of wrong doing. You’re welcome. (he’s not reading this. I know it)) Anyway, it’s just wrong. No one wants to read my negativity and I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression about him, me, or us as a couple! 

So, today is our anniversary and marriage is wonderful. I really, truly love the guy. I love who he is and I do love him more each and every day. This love and marriage thing is an amazing journey, really. I don’t know what I was thinking the day I married him, but I know I’m beyond grateful today for the past 16 years and the next 25! 

How long have you been married? Can you sum up your marriage in 5 words? I sure can not! 

I show up for marriage and put the effort in…. now I should work on that showing up and working out at the gym thing. 

Advertisements

Five Mistakes I’ve made in Marriage

My most popular posts, by and large have been on the topic of marriage, followed closely by finances/ saving money. This is a bit ironic, since these two topics are near and dear to my heart. I am passionate about my marriage, your marriage and the marriages of people I barely or don’t know. I don’t have marriage figured out. I am far from the perfect wife. One, because the perfect wife doesn’t exist. Two, because I’m selfish, and self centered and I want what I want and I want what I want yesterday. Not in a few minutes, dear. 🙂 I am also pretty excited about finances and saving money. Maybe since these are the most widely read topics on my blog, that passion is coming through my words? 

I don’t know why God uses me for marriage or finances. I’m stumbling through these things just like anyone else. In fact, when it comes to marriage, I have screwed up just about every day. Sometimes I know I’ve screwed up. Other times it takes people hitting me with a 2 X 4 (ouch) to wake me up. 

Here are 5 mistakes I’ve made in marriage. 5 mistakes I’ve repeated in marriage and 5 mistakes I hope to never make again. Just to be clear, that’s 5 mistakes total, not 15. Ahem, I haven’t made quite that many. 😉

  1. Expecting my husband to fill my every need. This is a pretty tall order. I have a lot of needs. Some of these expectations are known, but sometimes I want him to know what it is and fill it, because we are in love and people in love don’t have to be told what to do. They just know!!! Right? Yeah, I’ve learned, not so much. He’s human. I’m human and when we’re humans together, we mess things up. My husband is a man, not a God, but at times I’ve treated him as if he has failed because he hasn’t met my every need. Newsflash to me: he can’t. It’s just not possible. 
  2. Being too proud to apologize. Proud. Stubborn. Same thing in this case. I act like having to apologize for a misstep will paralyze me. What? Me? Admit to a mistake? Eh, eh, eh. Yeah. I’ll be honest with you. For years, I would drag my feet. I would mope. I would hope that my mistake would just be swept under the rug. Now, my husband is the forgive and forget type guy. He would forgive and forget sans apology, but last month, yes last month, for the first time ever I sincerely apologized to him. I knew I had screwed up. I knew I made a mistake. I found him, looked into his eyes and I apologized. When I asked for forgiveness, he said “of course”. He’s obviously a better human than me. The bonus is… it didn’t kill me. I LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT. I’m waiting for the shirt. I survived Apology 2014. Yes?
  3. My way or the highway. I’m pretty smart, so naturally I know how to do stuff better than my husband. Load the dishwasher, do laundry, discipline the children, pay the bills. I know it all! That attitude actually hasn’t served me well over the years. I’ve discredited my husband’s honor as a husband, a man, AND a dad. He felt like he was stupid a lot of the time, because I didn’t give any thought to his ideas or his way of doing things, but when I started listening to him, I realized “hey, um, wow! This guy is pretty smart. (he married me after all) Maybe I should listen to him more.” I’ve learned that a lot of times his ideas are much better than mine. 
  4. Not tonight, dear. 😉 I bought into the lie that once we were married, I never had to put out… unless I felt like it. Well, dude! I just never felt like it. I was tired, I had a headache, people have been touching me all day!!! If there was an excuse I could use it. But here’s the thing… I do things for people all the time that I don’t technically feel like doing. I do dishes when I don’t feel like doing them, because they need to be done. I help the kids with their homework when I don’t feel like it. So many things,but I neglected my husband and the things he needed, because I figured he was an adult, he could do those things himself. UGH. Really? So I stopped saying no. Hear me out, sometimes there is a good reason for saying no, but just because I can? That’s not a good enough reason in my  book. He’s not a dictator or an abuser, so I feel good about not saying no to him. I have found that even if I’m not in the mood when we start, I am when we get going. 😀
  5. I can do it myself. I’m pretty independent. I have learned how to do most things myself and I bristle at the thought of letting anyone help me. Even if I didn’t quite know how to do something, I would stumble through it. I think I have screwed up a few things this way. Over the years I have learned that it’s okay to accept help, and it’s okay to ask for help. I have learned that he likes it when I come to him for assistance with anything. It makes him feel good to be needed. It also lightens the load for me, because I have someone helping me! Win, win, and win. 

So, do you want to admit to your mistakes? I went first. It’s your turn. 

Edited to add: I’m really not as big of a jerk as I make myself sound. I promise! This is an accumulation of mistakes I have made over 16 years, so I think I get some grace in that regard. If my husband was speaking of me, he would never think these horrible things, much less say them. I tend to be harder on myself than anyone else is going to be. 

The Love Letter

I nearly jumped up. I wanted to rush out and show my husband what I had found. It was a love letter. It wasn’t to me, it was in a book, but it was exactly the kind of love letter I wanted to receive for myself. It had all the right words and all the best compliments. 

Something told me that I should maybe hold off on that a bit. I was tempted, so tempted. If he could just SEE the kind of letter I wanted him to write to me, surely he could come through on it. 

It was in a book I had checked out from the library. I can’t even remember the name of the book. I didn’t finish reading it, because from the first chapter and the synopsis of the book I knew that somebody died of cancer and I can. not. handle. death right now. So I returned the book. Unfortunately I can’t even give you a glimpse of what the letter said. 

I’ll be honest, I patted myself on the back for the restraint that I showed in not sharing it with my husband. I had a feeling that sharing what somebody else had written would be like rubbing my husband’s face in the fact that he doesn’t write those words or express those emotions. The kind of words and emotions other people receive and I desire. 

I am not always good at keeping my thoughts to myself. I think they need to be said, at any expense, so I was pretty proud that I had squelched the desire to jump up and show him exactly what I had just read. I almost told him that too, but again, something told me I should not share that information either. 

I’m not completely heartless. 🙂

The more I thought about it, the more thankful I was that I resisted. You know when your soul stirs and God starts asking you questions and you know it from the bottom of your heart? Yes. That. He asked me “how would you feel if your husband shared something with you that makes YOU feel like a failure? What if he told you that he wanted something that you weren’t capable of giving? Wouldn’t YOU be disappointed? Wouldn’t you think ‘but I do all this other stuff, because I love him and he isn’t happy because I can’t do. this. one. thing.'”

That made sense. 

My husband does things for me because he loves me. One night when we were driving to the store I asked him “How do you show your love to me?” and the first thing out of his mouth was “SEX” and I said “Yeah, okay, other than that! <laugh>” and he gave me a whole list of things that he does for me, because he loves me. And then he said “and I know your love language is words of affirmation and I know I am not very good at that. I am not good with words. I’m not good about leaving you a note. I’m not good about writing you letters. I know you need that”.

I reached across and held his hand and said “no. I want that, but you are doing just fine. Thank you.”

Sometimes I am so focused on what I want that I fail to see what I already have. At that moment, I vowed to start noticing the ways he shows his love to me. The way he dances with me in the kitchen, or how he grabs my butt when he thinks the kids aren’t looking, or when he gets my  water for me after we have already laid down for the night, because I am SO THIRSTY and there is a kid on my arm and I don’t want to move. He loves me, he really does, and he shows it in a million different ways and I am so blessed and why do I complain about the one thing he doesn’t or can’t do, like EVER? 

I’m learning. 😉

I feel okay posting this. He might see it, but he hasn’t read the last 200 posts of mine, so I think I’m safe, but just in case…. I LOVE YOU, honey! 

My Marriage… On line

I have been married for 14 years. In those 14 years, we have been through a lot. Isn’t that what EVERYBODY says? “We’ve been through a lot”. Well it’s true. 😉 If you looked on my facebook page, you would probably figure that it’s been 14 years of perfection. We came into marriage knowing what it’s all about, we have it figured it out, we never (EVER) argue, fight or have any issues.

Not.

We do. We have a lot of issues. I get irritated with him. Sometimes it’s justified. Many times I am just being me. There are days I want to shoot off to my blog or Facebook and let. him. have. it. Not so much because I think it will work. More because in those moments I want to be heard and understood and  what better place for this than on-line? I surround myself with people that usually like me, so I wouldn’t have a shortage of people to back me up or agree with me!

Somehow, no matter how strong the urge, I resist. Why? Why do I do this, even in my moments of insanity justified reactions?

I don’t do it, because I respect my husband, our marriage and our privacy. I recognize that there are some things that should just be between us. Many things, once they are put on-line, can  not be taken back. I think I am responsible for the image that my family and friends have of my husband. If I go online and bash him, what does that do to the image people have of him? How silly will I look when we kiss and make up and  I start gushing out lovey dovey pukey wookey things about him?

This is not to say that I don’t talk about issues with ANYONE. I always have my lovey dovey pukey wookey husband. I have a journal. I have one a few good friends, who I can tell  anything to, without the worry that it will change her their perspective of my husband. I don’t generally tell my mom, acquaintances, his friends, our mutual friends.

If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that my husband is a pretty darn good guy. He takes out the garbage, he cleans out the cat box, he loves me when I least deserve it. If there is a time he is acting HUMAN, it’s because he’s HUMAN or because my perspective of the situation is totally skewed. It’s not because he is a bad guy that needs to be kicked while he is down.

There is so much negativity on-line and in marriages, I really want to do my part to not contribute to that negativity.

How about you?

 

Hearing Intuition

This past Saturday was one of “those” days. I was kind of pissy with my husband, and had been for two days. He hadn’t really DONE anything, I was just feeling unloved and felt like it was ALL HIS FAULT! Unfortunately, or fortunately, we still have to converse and do things together on the weekends. 😉  

One of those things we did was take the kids to Goodwill to scope out Halloween outfits. I happen to know that my neighbor just spent $60 on outfits and I wasn’t willing to do that. Halloween isn’t even a day I particularly like, but my kids love friends and candy, so I pretty much indulge them… on my budget. 

When we got there, I directed the kids and the husband, who I was mad at, to the Halloween outfits and I bee-lined it for maternity. My 13 year old joined me shortly after, said two of the kids were fighting and she had just decided to wear something from home. I glanced over and saw my husband with the other kids and went back to perusing maternity.

When  my 7 year old joined me in maternity and said she didn’t know where daddy went, I took her back over to the Halloween outfits and helped her find a few things to try on. We tried those on and then I said “We have to find your dad, NOW”. 

I knew that something wasn’t right. Call it intuition, a sixth sense, something in the air… it was time to find him. 

The store was really busy. The two girls and I started looking up and down the aisles. Finally, a few aisles in, I saw him walking towards me. He was stumbling and looked seconds from passing out. I said “Omigosh. You are NOT okay”. I rummaged through my purse, thankful we had just been at Walgreens and I had asked him to pick up an orange juice for me. I was even more thankful that I had only taken a sip out of it and then stuck it in my purse. I handed him the OJ and said “drink this now”, but he was beyond comprehension. 

I remembered seeing chairs by the shoe department and my daughter dragged one over for him. He finally drank the OJ, but I could tell it wasn’t enough. I had my older daughter grab a juice out of the cooler in the front that I had just seen 5 minutes before finding him. 

He sat for a while, we got his blood sugar back to normal and then I thanked God that I had listened to my intuition. My intuition to find him, my intuition to have him purchase an orange juice that I didn’t drink. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t listened. 

In retrospect, he said the store was much less confusing when he didn’t have double vision, and I said that people probably thought he was just another drunk in Goodwill. 😉 

And that anger I harbored towards him? It went away with the low blood sugar. Suddenly, it didn’t matter anymore. 

Thank God. 

14 Things in 14 Years

I am sure you are tired of hearing me shouting from the mountain tops “I’ve been married 14 years!!!”. Can you stand it just one more time? I mean, now I have been married 14 years and one day, after all. 🙂

It’s almost impossible to be married this long without learning a few things. Marriage has taught me much more than patience and grace (kidding honey!). (having kids teaches you that). Here are 14 things I have learned about marriage, in honor of 14 years of marriage!

1. I’m not always right. I’m just not. This is where my husband learns patience and grace. It can’t be easy being married to someone who thinks she can’t ever be wrong.

2. If my husband looks at what I’m buying and says “maybe you should try it on” or “I think you would get the bigger one”, LISTEN! I should not drive home 2 ours and realize it is a bit too small for my growing belly. It automatically becomes your Pre-teen’s, then.

3. When he says the speed limit on that road is 35, it really is. You don’t need to “prove” it because you will look like a fool.

4. Pregnancy after 14 years of marriage is much different than at one year of marriage. It doesn’t come with the same drama. Patience and grace have been accumulated and are much easier to give.

5. If there is something he doesn’t like to do (change diapers), I just do it. It’s not a big deal, even if everyone around tells me “don’t let him get away with that”. I’m thankful that I just do it, especially when one of the kids throws up all over and he cleans it up without hesitation, because he knows I hate it. (or will cry and throw up too)

6. Saying “I’m sorry” will not kill me. It makes me a bit humble too.

7. Marriages can be saved. It started when I took that advice and prayed for God to change ME.

8. The habits I think are “bad” are a part of him. Nobody is perfect and I have a few bad habits of my own.

9. It’s easier for him to be honest with me when I LET him. If he knows I am going to freak out over what he tells me, he is less likely to be forthcoming with the truth.

10. He is not a typical guy. He chose me.

11. When I changed how I talked about him to others, it changed how I felt about him.

12. Respecting him really does make him love me the way I want to be loved.

13. When he brought home flowers at the beginning of our marriage, I shouldn’t have worried about the cost. I also should not have said anything. It was a long, long time before he did it again… And it was my fault.

14. I would do this all again. Every single part of it. The good, the not so good. It’s worth it.

are you married? What has marriage taught you?

Love and Marriage

We met in 1995. We dated for three years. We married in 1998. We moved in together one week after we married. Well, we did have a honeymoon to go on. 😉 In two weeks, we will have been married for 14 years. 14. YEARS. Let that sink in, because I certainly have to shake my head sometimes and say “when did that happen? How did that happen?”. Yet, I’m glad it did.

Our oldest daughter has a fairy tale view of marriage. She seriously thinks it’s all romance, love chocolate, roses, dancing and smooching. It never seems to dawn on her that her dad and I are NOT like that. I honestly think that she must think we are doing it wrong. One day I said “you know, I love your dad. I’m glad I married him, but there are days I look at him and I think ‘what the hell?”.

Just keeping it real here. I do love him, but our marriage ebbs and flows. There are days I am over the moon in love with him. He is my best friend and there is no one else I would rather spend my days with. I can not get enough of him. Then there are days I think “What. The. Hell?”. What was I thinking? How did I get in this mess? How much longer is forever?

We have had our share of really good times, good times, okay times, and um, this really sucks times. Always, always, always we have the “we are in this for life” times and “I’m not going anywhere”. (and if you think you are going somewhere, you take the kids. Cheers!) 14 years ago, we promised, PROMISED, him, me, forever. No matter what. No matter how bad things get, we remember that promise. No matter what, we remember our marriage prayer:

Lord, help us to remember when we first met, and the strong love that grew between us… To work that love into practical things, so nothing can divide us. We ask for words, both kind and loving and hearts always ready to ask forgiveness, as well as forgive. Into your hands, we commit our marriage.

There is no one I would rather be with. There is no one I would rather wake up to. If there are days I am going to think “what the hell?”, I want it to be him I think it with. In the good times, and the bad… Together, always.

20120809-222809.jpg