Riley and I have been married for almost two years now. I'll go with the over used "time is flying and I can't believe it" expression because isn't that the truth. Our time together has been the best part of my entire life. To be honest though, for some reason I shy away from telling others how amazing this is.
Maybe because I think people will write me off as a newlywed. Maybe because I feel badly when I hear so many stories of unhealthy relationships. Maybe because so many people I know have sadly ended their marriages in divorce. But I've realized recently that shying away from the truth isn't going to help anyone. Riley and I have our disagreements, of course. We have gotten through difficulties together, we have navigated stressors between our families, finances, moving, jobs etc. We aren't in any kind of eutopia and I never want to paint that picture, because that actually could be harmful to others in a comparison trap.
What I do want to share is that, on a daily basis, we are respectful. We found that yes, there are some things that cause arguments, and there always will be. But the petty stuff, the "why can't you put your clothes in the hamper?!" type of arguments just don't happen. I can't imagine draining my happiness for something as stupid as socks on the floor. I actually have this simple way of raising yourself above those type of feelings. When you see something that they "didn't do," imagine their reason for it. For example, socks on the floor. I actually imagine that he worked so hard, he came home exhausted, wanted to spend quality time with me, and rushed to get out of his work clothes to come have dinner together. In other words, I focus on what he did do for me. I also say, either in my head or out loud, "I love you" when I am doing something for my husband that isn't so "fun." Laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, you know.
There are so many examples of drama in relationships, on tv shows, in books, huge fights and then make ups look emotional and exciting, and for some reason people seek this, and create it. Happiness, in countless small ways, is a choice. I could tell him everything he didn't do when he walks in the door, or I can run up and hug him, ask him how his day was, smile, and be happy. Life is so much easier when you choose to make it that way. On a tv show, we would be the most "boring" relationship to watch, and that's just how I like it.
I remember, during marriage prep, we were paired with a middle aged couple who had been married for about 20 years. We went to a coffee shop with them, and I still clearly remember one thing that the woman said. "No matter what, there will be peaks and valleys." My immediate thought about that was with fighting, and making up in cycles, like I have heard about. But then I realized that I can change the peaks and valleys. I can be different. I'm going to let the valleys be anything that is out of my control, health, loss, heartbreak etc. And I am going to choose to make the peaks all of my decisions to just love him. "happy wife, happy life" is real, but not in the selfish or joking way that it is thrown around. Spouses feed off of each other, emotions are contagious. When I am happy, excited, grateful that he came home safely from work, his mood reflects that. Happy wife, happy life.
I was a nurse for seven years, so I have seen my fair share of relationships at all kinds of crossroads. I have had conversations with dying patients, and I have taught brand new parents how to bathe and diaper their baby on day 1 of life. I've asked questions to so many people, about life, relationships, marriage, having kids that I came to the easiest conclusion and the best way to live.
Live every single day as if it is your last. Or his last. I'm sorry for the sad thought, but our days are numbered. This thought alone could truly transform how you treat each other. I don't want regrets, I don't want sour last words, I want a life full of love, happiness, and good memories with the man that I chose. Respect goes a long way, understanding and forgiveness go a long way. Practicing gratitude for what you have is the best mindset you could possibly have.
Live well and love well <3