Married at 25
Married at 22 – the first blog post that I published that went viral. Seems like lifetimes ago. I remember sitting at my kitchen table drinking wine and laughing with my best friend Kelsey. We were making fun of how her husband was trying to train her to be a runner. It wasn’t quite working out the way he intended it to.
Pausing now to smirk and think…You have to walk before you run.
We came up with this amazing idea of what marriage was really like for us and wrote about it ---and wow the response was amazing. Of course, with the polarity of this world we received some not so awesome feedback as well. It stung a little bit. At 22 I had been married for 3 years and many of you “longer”— as if it were a contest – married women shamed me for not knowing “anything”.
Well. Reflecting 3 years later… some of you were right. I hadn’t had some of the experiences you had yet. Life has such a weird way of throwing you challenges that either grow you together or break you apart.
Again, you have to walk before you run.
So, I am sitting here at 25. My best friend has moved across the country. I grew a 6-figure business. Finished my Psychology degree . Dustin had 2 promotions! We Dave Ramseyed our asses out of living paycheck to paycheck. Dustin had back surgery. We’ve spent time apart, and so much time together. We have traveled. We have loved. We have lost. We have almost 6 years of marriage under our belt… but we are still learning as we go. We have three cats, own a home, have careers that we built, and I am proud of it ALL. We have worked hard.
And then I lost my mother. And everything in my life came to a pause. The house, the cars, my career, the expenses, the trips, this busy lifestyle all came crumbling down around me. No amount of money or hard work or designer bag could bring my mother back. As I was so focused on my pursuit of success – I lacked depth in my compassion for others. I didn’t appreciate anything I had because I was always moving towards the next best thing.
When my mother died, my husband stepped up. He was my rock. He was the only person who could get me through those darkest days. And I realized that in being so caught up in the pursuit of my own success that I wasn’t reciprocating the unconditional love he deserved back to him.
So, I began to appreciate him more, and lift him up always. I poured compassion into our marriage. And laughed more with him and listened more attentively. I leave the office before dinner time and we sit down and have dinner at the table we made. I pay attention. I show up. I love him unconditionally even when he makes me mad. You see – I found that the love I wanted so badly, I had. I just needed to nurture it. And…. IT IS HARD! but worth it.
Perspective is everything.
So here is what Marriage at 25 is like right for us at this very second.
There are less arguments over dinners and more nights in on the couch!!! There are plenty more conversations talking about our bowel movements. (we’re not weird, you’re weird if you don’t talk about your poop)! There are more flowers, and more time spent outdoors. It’s the opportunity to be in the same room doing two completely different activities, but still feeling each other’s presence. It’s laughing real belly laughs over the dumbest things like our made-up word, “dicksgusting”.
Its pointing out characters in movies that remind you of your spouse and then saying, “OMG, that’s so you!”
It’s arguing over which pet loves you more – we both know they love me the most DUSTIN!
It’s eating dry chicken and telling them it’s good because it makes them happy. Its walks, if you don’t walk with your spouse you should, some of our favorite brainstorming conversations happen on our walks. It’s sacrifice, knowing sometimes they have to leave but understanding they will always come back to you. It’s holding each other when that’s all there is left to do. It’s going to bed early and high fiving about it in the morning. It’s him giving you all of his pizza crust. It’s “gently” nudging him when he’s snoring. It’s leaning on each other through depression, insomnia, anxiety and knowing that if they can just be there, it helps. It’s vulnerability, and venting, and arguing and saying mean things but then apologizing sincerely. Then working with everything you have to change that behavior. It’s finding each other and finding yourself all at the same time. It’s holding tight and never letting go through the loss of a loved one.
It’s giving your spouse the space to run when they have a new creative idea. It’s less Christmas gifts, but more Christmas mornings. It’s making him coffee in the morning or tag teaming dinner.
Its grocery shopping together, it takes WAY longer… but you get more food. It’s less sex but infinitely deeper intimacy. It’s compassion. It’s nurturing each other when you are down. It’s forehead kisses. It’s doing something that the other person loves, like collecting shells, and then falling in love with that thing yourself. It’s ice cream after dinner because you can. It’s holding hands and seeing who can squeeze tighter (usually him and then I get mad). It’s getting up early and doing it all again.
It’s the I love you good morning text, and the I love you… turn to your side, don’t touch me, and go to sleep ritual.
It’s all that and so much more. It’s a journey and the destination at the same time. Remember that marriage is always about being the true listener. If you can listen intuitively and not let your ego get in the way, you’ll be just fine. My marriage thrives on unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, individuality, joy, and strength.