“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness–and call it love–true love.”
– Robert Fulghum, True Love
David and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on the 4th May. Some days it feels like decades ago that we got married and other days it feels like just yesterday.
We have never just been David and I. We never had that period where it was just the two of us without kids. We did have a lot of kid-free time when were dating but when decided to make our relationship permanent, we instantly became a family of 4.
Blending a family is not easy. There are a lot of different dynamics that come in to play that make it challenging and because each family dynamic is different there is no solution that works for everyone so you have to just muddle you way through it.
But that is a topic for another blog post. This post is about marriage and what being married for 6 years has taught me about myself and relationships.
You need to laugh, at yourself, at each other and at life.
I think humor is a big part of survival of any relationship. We can’t take ourselves too seriously all the time otherwise it all just gets a little too overwhelming. We laugh a lot, as a couple and as a family. When we forget to look at the funny side life gets very heavy and a little sad.
Flexibility is not an option.
My best friend told me recently that I see life very black and white. She is not completely wrong. Ok, so maybe she is right. I see the gray areas, until I don’t but I have learnt that in a relationship, you have to be flexible. This does not mean you have to give in all the time or sacrifice everything, it just means you have to willing to do things a little different. Life with kids is never constant and very often even the best laid plans don’t work out. Flexibility, I have learnt, is not an option in a marriage.
Listen to hear.
I have terrible habit of interrupting people. It is one of the things I struggle with daily. I often do it without even thinking but that is not an excuse and it does mean I don’t always hear what the other person is saying. Listening is not an option when you are in a marriage. When you don’t listen you don’t hear what the other person is struggling with which means you can’t help them.
Team work is the only way
We do this really well. Our family functions really well as a team. I have noticed that bigger families generally have team work down because it is the only way the family unit can function, if everyone does their part. The bigger kids help with the younger kids, David and I tag team a lot. Everyone steps up when they have to and everyone understands a little sacrifice has to happen. In many areas David and I are complete opposites, which is more of an advantage that a disadvantage because his strengths play to my weaknesses and vice versa. I can be very combative and explosive and if David was the same I am not sure either one of us would still be alive right now.
Communication communication communication.
I think a lot of marriages break down because communication breaks down. Some conversations are hard to have and so we put them off, ignore them and then eventually you can’t ignore it anymore and when you do try talk about it, it is so much harder. Effective communication is essential to a good, happy relationship but it does take work, a lot of work. This is probably one of the hardest things for me and I have to work really hard on communicating what is bothering me.
While marriage is amazing and does involve a lot of happiness and sunshine, that is not all there is too it and going in you have to be real about the fact that you will, at some point, face tough times. If you have this glamorous idea of what marriage looks like, when the tough times hit you will be a little disappointed and could actually cause a major shift in your relationship.
Do you think relationships are supposed to be easy?
Some people say that if you are with the right person they are easy, but I am not sure that is correct. Just because you love each other and know you want to be together doesn’t mean you always effectively communicate or don’t get angry with each other. It takes a long time to really get to know someone and to learn how to deal with conflict.
I personally don’t think they are supposed to be easy. The difference is that when you are in a marriage you have committed to work through the hard parts.