Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Best Advice

Back in September, Layne and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I honestly can't believe that it has been three years already! I feel like every day I'm just hanging out with my best friend and the weeks, months, and years are just flying by in waves of laughter and really good food.

I guess three years is enough time for people to assume we have the hang of this thing. It's true that I have been sad to see some of my friend's marriages fall away in less time, and while we certainly haven't always had smooth sailing and wedded bliss, we've managed to pull through even the darkest hours. And honestly, we're happier than ever because of it. We're more open with each other and truly understand each other. We take care of each other, and we can do so because we know what the other person needs.

The other day, a newlywed asked me for my best marriage advice. It was the first time someone had deliberately asked me for general advice on a happy marriage, and it took a while for me to articulate my thoughts. I definitely feel that every couple is different and everyone learns something unique to them at different times.

That being said, the biggest lesson Layne and I have learned over our time together is to throw away the expectations for a white picket fence. Accept the other person for who they are right now, today. Not who they have the potential to be someday, or who you want them to be for you. The most you can expect from your significant other is that they continually try their best to love you and you do the same in return. You're a team, and you're both trying your best. Life can be really hard sometimes. Dreaming of a better tomorrow will only get you so far. You have to learn to be happy with your present, and you have to work as a team. Isn't it better to have a shoulder to lean on than to just have someone to point the finger of blame at?

Not to trivialize it, but Layne's first instinct will most likely never be to put his dish in the dishwasher right away. Love him to death, but it's just not his priority. It's mine, because I have major OCD that necessitates a clean house. And Layne knows that, and so he'll try to put his dishes away or at least bring them to the sink from the table.  And it's my job in turn to not flip my lid as I clear dirty dishes from the table day in and day out, potentially year in and year out. I have to trust that he's working on it, and he deserves to trust that I will give him that benefit of the doubt.

This has taught us both so much patience, so much acceptance, and heightened our abilities to forgive. It has allowed us to discuss the things we need to work on without feeling judged or getting defensive, which only leads to fights. Every day I get to focus on the progress we have made as a couple. I feel supported and cared for. And if (when) I mess up and I'm careless and I hurt him, I know that tomorrow we'll start over and he will already have forgiven me and let me try again.

So now I'm curious - how long have you been married, and what's your best advice from what you've learned in that time? If you're not married, what have your past relationships taught you?


  1. The dirty dish thing made me laugh because Preston is the same way. We are basically as opposite as two people can be, and yeah, that can be really hard sometimes. But it's also made us so strong. We each have something different to offer, and once we realized that, it made everything so much easier. I completely agree with your advice. True love is loving someome with all their faults and imperfections. Love is the only thing that will bring someone closer to the person they want to become. It's the only thing that will heal us and allow us to progress. Happy three years! We've been married just over two years, and it feels like SO much has happened in that short amount of time!

  2. Isn't it crazy to think of how much you have grown in so short a time? I feel like an entirely different person than I even knew I could be. Once you figure out how to love someone, your growth is exponential!


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