Sunday, July 13, 2014

Til Death Do Us Part

Last weekend, my husband's family came down for a visit. I love his grandmother, Virginia. During the visit, it came to question how long we had been married. I was thinking about our next anniversary, not this one coming, so I said "5 years, Grandma." After thinking, she replied with "Wait, weren't you married in 2010?" Oh silly me.

My husband and I have been together 9 years. We started dating in 2005. It's not been easy. We had taken several breaks, had a couple of huge fights, and tons of disagreements. Some people didn't think we would stay together. We learned valuable lessons from all this, we learned to work together.

I am a free spirit. I go with the flow. I love spontaneity. I love being outdoors, reading, movies, friends. Live music, going to concerts, being with family.

My husband loves plans, order and being home. He too loves reading and movies. He loves music, but doesn't like going out to hear it live. He adores being with family.

Together, we sort of balance each other out. We have some common interests, but we also have differences and I love that about us. I love that we aren't exact replicas of each other, and that we do have silly arguments over what movie to watch, where to go on dates or even what to have for dinner!

Last year, we had some unfortunate circumstances that lead to us moving in with a friend, Cindy. Cindy adored us. She would tell me often how perfect Jeremy and I were for each other. She would hear us fuss and fight, but it usually ended in giggles and laughter. She said in all her years, she had never met a couple quite like us. We are silly, fun and helpful. I miss Cindy almost daily. We helped take care of her in her last months on this earth, and that too helped bring us together.

Marriage isn't easy. Whoever said that is a liar. Marriage is hard. It is very hard to live with someone else. Jeremy and I lived together 4 months before we were married, and that helped us out a bit, but not too much. We still were new to this whole concept.

Growing up, I thought marriage would solve all my problems. That is was so easy. You get a husband who cares for you, you can do what you want and you were both happy. Where the heck I came up with that one, I will never know! How naive was I?

One thing I have learned is that if you can't live together happily, a marriage certificate will not change that. Any relationship takes work. You both have to put in effort to make it work. You can't willfully hurt someone and expect them to still love you and treat you nicely. You can't just do what you want without thinking about the other person's feelings. You have to work together.

Someone, I am sure, will read this and think to themselves, "Oh, Aimee has it all figured out, she and Jeremy must have the most perfect marriage ever!" No, we do not. I screw up, a lot. More so than Jeremy. I am a free spirit, as I have stated before. It's hard work, and I am so glad to have the patient, loving man that I do. It's very scary how much I mess up, but he still loves me. I spend too much money sometimes, I go out with my friends a little too much, and sometimes I just forget to even ask how he feels about what I do. I just assume he will be okay with it all. I do mess up, almost daily. I do try, very hard, to make him happy. I make sure he's fed a couple times a day, I give him cuddles and let him play his video games without (much) complaints.

I am not saying he is perfect either. Sometimes he's grumpy for no reason, or he leaves WET towels on my bed, or even forgets to put his clothes in the hamper. He's not nearly as bad as me. He works very hard for us, he's very good with thinking a head, and he handles money well. He is a little messy, but what man isn't? I love him.

I think one of the most hilarious things I have heard yet was when my brother was visiting one day. My best friend, my brother and I were going to the beach. Jeremy is so not a sandy beach person, so he opted to stay home. My brother only had a pair of jeans, and asked Jeremy if he could borrow a pair of shorts to go swimming in. My husband, the sweet, silly, unintentional funny man that he is, looked my brother in the eye and said "I have no clue where my clothes are, you will have to ask your sister!"

I do have him spoiled. Not intentionally, however. I could tell him everyday for 3 years where his clothes are and he will still ask me. I know, this happened all the time when we lived in our tiny apartment. One dresser was his, one was mine. I even let him pick his dresser. Still didn't know. I have since given up, just laying out his work clothes, or finding his jeans when he asks. The only place he can navigate is the closet, mostly.

It's getting easier as we get older, but we still fuss about silly things. I still spend a little more than I should, but it's not nearly as often. He has loosened up a bit, going out of the house a little more, though I wish I could get him on the beach, or even to the pool.

Marriage is rewarding and great, if you work hard at it. Very few people I know actually have a great marriage without much, if any, disagreements. I am working hard on this with my husband. My great guru and co-worker is an inspiration in our marriage, at least to me. I see how her and her husband work.

Another thing some people tend to forgot, or maybe they do not realize, that once you are married, it's no longer just about you. It's not about what YOU want, or what YOU need. You now have a-whole-nother person to consider, to think about what they may want or need. This is something we still struggle with, but are improving. For instance, I used to go shopping and only think about what Aimee needed, or wanted. "Oh, shirts on sale for $2? Aimee needs some new ones!" "Oh, pants on clearance! Let's get some, most of mine are torn/ripped." Now, I check out the men's section for my husband. When I noticed pants or shirts on sale, I get some for him. Or if I see a little novelty item I think he will enjoy, I will nab it.

Forgiveness is a big part in marriage. People make mistakes, people screw up. I know, I do both, and frequently. This passed February, times were hard in my life. That was when Cindy took a turn for the worse, and it was straining me. I had little to no help from her family, and Jeremy was working all the time. I felt I had no time for myself. My place of business had burned down that October, so I was just a homemaker and caretaker. I felt like I was loosing touch with reality. I felt I needed a break. I felt like Jeremy and I argued constantly, that no one understood. I only felt sorry for myself. I didn't stop to think how this was affecting Jeremy or Colton [Cindy's son] I was only concerned with how I was feeling.

One night, I went out with a friend of mine. We went out drinking, partying and I was trying to forget all my problems. I was turning into what I didn't want too. I was drinking constantly at this point, it was a dark time for me. It now hurts thinking about what I was doing. I can see the damage that was done to my marriage, and I am thankful for a husband who didn't let this time ruin what we have, when he could have so easily walked away, and left me to destroy myself more. One evening, that February, I was out with a few friends, drowning my problems away in alcohol. After about midnight or so, I don't remember much of what happened. I just remember that I didn't make it home until 11 the next day.

I had driven our car to Front Street and parked it, and went in a local bar to start the night off. Then my friends and I loaded up in one of their cars and drove to Pawleys Island to finish off the night, and I drank my problems, and memory, away. At some point my cell phone had died. I woke to my friend yelling that I needed to get up, and she took me to my car where I drove home. Jeremy was livid, and I don't blame him. I was gone the entire night, and with no explanation.

I never stopped to think about him, about how he felt. He worked long, hard days, to come home and help me out with Cindy. It was worse on him, because sometimes she needed us in the middle of the night as well. Looking back, I was very selfish. I can't believe how bad I was, how I didn't even try to picture how the others felt. Only myself. That is not what marriage is about.

I believe Jeremy has forgiven me for that. I don't feel I deserve it, I feel like I left him in his time of need as well. I was emotionally lost for a few months, and that was damaging. I just feel so lucky to have Jeremy. I am a train wreck sometimes, but he is still here. That is what marriage is about.

There is much more to marriage than a legal piece of paper. So many aspects, and since our marriage is still so young, it's very difficult to imagine all of them. And everyone is different. I just know that you need emotional support, as well as physical. I do believe laughter is a giant part of it. As I have stated before, most of our arguments and fights end in laughter. I am beyond blessed to have Jeremy in my life.

We learned a lot from his father, Kent and his girlfriend, Robin. Now, we have all had our disagreements in life, but part of being an adult, and being married, is still forgiveness. Humans are not perfect. I am a big screwball, and I am learning to get it under control.

Over the years, I have had several talks with Robin about Jeremy, the family, and life in general. We don't always see eye to eye on things, and I still do things that Robin doesn't like, but I see things from her point of view. I have become a better person. No offense to my own mother, but our family isn't the best example of what I want my marriage to become.

I love my parents, but living through their marriage has taught me some things.
1. Don't get married just because you are pregnant.
Now, I know mom swears that's not the reason, I am 80% sure it was. I love them for trying, but I wonder how much different our childhood would have been had they not gotten married.

2. Just because you don't argue much doesn't mean you are on the same page.
I think arguments are good in a marriage. I think it shows you care, and it also helps you work through your problems instead of avoiding them. Or letting them build until you explode, and that never ends well. J & I learned this early on.

A few other lessons I have learned from my family are as follows. They come from families members off both sides.

3. Having a baby won't help if things are damaged or broken.
In fact, it can make them worse. A child is a HUGE responsibility, and should not be taken lightly. If things are bad, a baby can make them worse, because that in itself is very hard work.

4. Marriage isn't a joke.
Some people think it's a fad, or a joke. It's not. You should never get married if you think it's not a big deal. Ever. Just shack up for a while.

5. Having separate rooms doesn't mean you don't love each other.
When I was younger, my grandparents had different bedrooms. I thought they were going to divorce. I was terrified. I loved them so much, and didn't want them to be divorced. I later found out that my granddaddy was a kicker in his sleep. Him and Grandma still loved each other, they just couldn't share a bed. A similar situation happened on my husband's side as well. They still loved each other, too.

6. Every marriage is different.
No two marriages will be the same. Something that might work in Sally & Joe's marriage won't work for J & I, or vise versa. Some wives, for example, might not mind if their husband's go to Strip Clubs, and other definitely mind. It doesn't mean your marriage is wrong, it just means you guys work together better.

I believe each couple has the right to create their own rules. I believe Carrie in Sex in the City 2 has that right. As long is it's not negatively effecting anyone, you should be allowed to do that you and your spouse agree on. It's not going to be easy. It will be rocky.

The biggest thing I have learned it that things that are worth having are worth working hard for. Jeremy and I are not perfect, but I do believe we are perfect for each other. We are still learning and growing, but we are doing this together.

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