Just kidding! Christopher and I were married four years ago today in Treviso, Italy. I was a fresh, sweet 20 year old in college and he was a handsome, driven 24 year old beginning his graduate school training. We were young, naive and full of so much love. We’ve grown an incredible amount over these past 4 years, and we’d love to share some of our experiences.
First, let me say that this growth has been incredibly painful at times. There were certainly days there where we both wondered if we’d make it until tomorrow. But we always did. Next, let me warn that we are very different people. Christopher is very organized, structured and responsible. He’s the money saving, home organizing, “let’s put a label on that” type. Whereas I’m the more uninhibited, organized chaos, “let’s use the labels for an art project” type. This has actually been really good for us. We’ve found that we balance one another out, and are able to portray a healthy mixture of both for our son. BUT, sometimes it can be pretty frustrating when I want to spend a Sunday lounging and he wants to spend the day re-organizing the junk drawer (that’s a real thing in our home…no kidding).
Something we’ve learned to do is embrace the differences in one another. This isn’t something we always jump on, but it’s been really good for us. It makes me feel loved when he tries things my way, and he feels loved when I try things his way. Something else that has been really valuable for our marriage is understanding one another’s love language. I highly recommend taking this online quiz to understand how you give and receive love. It was a startling experience for Christopher to realize that performing acts of service didn’t make me feel as loved as he intended. When he learned that I receive love through quality time, he was able to love me better, or love me in my own language. And this translated the same way for how I loved Christopher.
One other thing we have learned is that the health of a relationship is not defined by the absence of arguing, but by the way you argue. We’ve always argued, but we came to realize that this was a skill. It all came down to how we communicated. We always tried to keep close to “I” statements and things of that sort, but somehow statements like “I feel…like you’re being a _____” still snuck into the conversation. This really wasn’t constructive, no surprise. Now we try to always recognize that when we’re angry at one another, it’s not just anger. We try to identify the root of the anger and go from there (while also recognizing that we’re angry, because that’s valid too). A lot of the time, we’re angry because we feel hurt or mistreated. But the hurt was what came first and then turned into anger as we reacted and attempted to protect ourselves from future hurt. This has been really helpful in healing the pain we create, and also safeguarding against layering hurtful comments on what has already been said.
This is just a little bit of what’s been helpful for us, but there of course is a whole, lot more. We have an incredible amount of respect for those who fight for their love. It’s not an easy battle, but it’s nice to know that we’re all doing it together.
Thanks for reading about what’s been good in our marriage. Here’s to another year of love and learning.