Until now, I would never have thought of marriage as an evolution. But one day, recently, I was struck by how much hubs and I – and our marriage – have changed over the years.
Even though right from the beginning, I knew that this man would hold my attention for the rest of my life, I also knew that I had met my match. He was and is still an amazingly likeable person. But he is one person who I could not push around. If I was going to have a relationship with him, then I was going to have to work at it. I couldn’t run away when things got tough, or I wanted my way and wasn’t getting it. And I couldn’t beg, “pretty, please,” and expect that I would get what I wanted either. Like any successful relationship, I was going to have to put some solid thinking into it. I was going to have to grow up. I was twenty-four years old after all.
During our first year of marriage, I noticed hubs wasn’t always taking care of the trash. This shouldn’t be a big thing, but it became just that in my mind. Instead of asking him right away why he wasn’t handling “his part” of the chores, I became resentful. With every bag I tied and placed in the bin, I became even more so. One day, after months (not years, thankfully…but it felt that way), I asked him why he wasn’t pulling his weight with the chores and failing to handle trash duty.
You might be surprised what he told me. I know it surprised me, for sure. He told me that growing up, being part of a farming family and the boys always doing farm chores like plowing and feeding animals, his sisters did anything related to the house including the dishes, laundry, cooking, and the trash. Plus, more, I’m sure. Hearing it from hubs’ point of view, it sure did make sense.
This was, however, the exact opposite of my upbringing. Growing up, my parents divided mine and my siblings’ chores into what was considered inside and outside chores. The girls did inside chores – dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, making of beds, cooking, and so on. The boys did outside chores – yardwork, gardening, and the trash – because the trash was taken to a certain area outdoors – and anything else related to the great outdoors. You might see now why I might relate trash duty to being a guy thing.
After some thinking, I resolved that it wasn’t going to hurt me to handle the trash on days when hubs was too busy or tired from work. And hubs resolved that he would pitch in and help with the trash when work wasn’t too taxing on him.
From that experience, I learned to think things out and consider if there might be valid reasons for hubs and I not to see eye to eye on certain things. And it has happened again from time to time, after thirty-three plus years being married. Although, we have always given one another our own space. He will watch football and I will sew, or he will tinker in his shop and I will read or write.
The challenging part, now that he is retired and I am not working out of the home again yet, will come when he or I will need the other to help with something right when we are in the middle of something else. Just like yesterday, when I was trying to finish my blog post, and he was pulling down huge, dead trees around the property. I easily assessed that my blog post could wait as hubs’ safety was a priority and more important to me.
And so, our marriage – like any other marriage that has lasted a while – has undergone numerous transformations. We have had good times, difficult times, fun times, challenging times, happy times, and disappointing times. Yet, here we are. After six major moves and four smaller ones (plus two “tiny” ones to go), we have evolved from two young people in starry-eyed love into a wise, passion-filled team. Not always in agreement, but quicker to talk over scenarios, calmly, and resolve misunderstandings without getting feelings hurt or on the defensive.
Thankfully, we have learned that marriage is about two people living together as one, yet maintaining their own identities, not about one person outdoing the other. Our marriage has been filled with love, forgiveness, and the ability to move on. We choose to work as a team. We start each day new. This means we do not hold things against each other, but seek to find understanding, compassion, and love for each other despite differences in thinking – whether values or opinions. And, when the going gets tough, such as it has been over the past few months, we chip in and help each other out – even when we are dead tired.
I hope, like us, your marriage has made it from the starry-eyed years, through the mountainous terrains, and are now enjoying the twilight years with your partner in a rewarding and loving relationship.
What are some things that helped have us get from there to here? Well, I cannot speak for hubs, but during the most stressful times, I have always remembered why I fell in love with him. I have remembered the reasons I believed he was the man for me. I have known how miserable I would be if things did not work out for some very odd reason – like because I was just being too stubborn.
At the end of the day, hubs is the one who can make me laugh even when I don’t want to, the one who loves me more than I love him (or so he tells me, lol), and the one who believes in me even when I have a hard time believing in myself. Our marriage, thankfully, has been an evolution (rather than a revolution). Not once did I expect our marriage to turn out the way it has, but I am certainly very happy where we are at this stage,… this moment,… this accomplishment.
On this note, I am sharing that this is my last blog post on marriage for a while. Also, I am taking a few weeks off from blogging each second weekend to spend more time writing on my second book. Once I return in the new year, I will be replacing this blog time slot with blog posts about my new life in the country.
At this point in time, I will continue my other blogs: Wellness (third weekend); Social Media (fourth weekend); and On Writing (first weekend).
See you this weekend for my Wellness Blog with a focus on body image and health. Until then, all the best to your and yours….
For information about my published book and work-in-progress, please visit my books page.
And for daily updates, follow me on Instagram, @virginia.alice.crawford.