|September 3, 2006|
Yesterday was me and Lauren's wedding anniversary. In a way, I can't believe we've been married for six years. What's even more amazing is that not only have we not killed each other (to really appreciate this feat, you need to be around me when I'm all-emotion-and-no-logic or Lauren when he's all-logic-and-no-emotion), but we still like each other, still have tons of fun together, and still are so much in love. ("Awwww," right?)
You always hear people talk about the "honeymoon" phase of a marriage and how afterwards, things take the migrating bird route and fly south a bit. I suppose we're one of the non-migrating couples then, because our marriage is still pretty amazing (even with the added stress of an infant who Lauren can't reason with). Last night we were reminiscing about marriage and what makes it work. Below are the keys to our happy marriage... and a few that can be extended to all couples. Feel free to chime in with your own lessons and advice (for instance, I know my dad would add "never put up wallpaper together" to the list!).
Never, ever, EVER play the card game "Casino" together.
We both agree that this is top on the list. When we lived in Indiana, we were miles away from any friends (and civilization in general for that matter... come on, it's Indiana!). We needed something to pass the time, so we looked up two-person card games. The game we found seemed pretty fun at first ...and then it started showing its demon horns. Seriously. That game is probably the fastest way to get a divorce known to man. We had to stop playing for the sake of our marriage. The entire game is built on the premise that you screw the other person over. So there you are, building up these cards and doing all these great things to get all these points. And then WHAM - you're dearly beloved steals everything from you and just begs to be punched. The punching never happened in our house, but there still exists a Casino scorecard somewhere that stops short of the 21 points needed to win the game and states "K threw fit." Yep. I yelled, I screamed and I threw the cards at Lauren and stormed off. Do. Not. Play. This. Game. I know you want to Google the rules, but I'm telling you - it's not a good idea.
Understand what the other person needs in any given situation.
This was Lauren's big contribution to the conversation last night. The example he gave was that if he and I are in a fight, he should never ever laugh (or make any sound that sounds remotely like a chuckle). The seeming appearance of him laughing at me ruffles my feathers like no other. And he knows this. Over the years, he has learned certain things that make me tick and how to deal with them. And in return, I know that if a sappy commercial comes on TV, as much as I want to look over and see if Lauren is crying (because nine times out of ten, he will be), I should NOT do it. I fight all my urges to witness my husband's odd sensitivity and pretend like nothing is happening. Occasionally, I can't help it and (still facing the TV) just start laughing. To which I get a few expletives tossed in my direction. But you know, they don't mean as much coming from someone who is crying because an old man in a car commercial is playing catch with his son.
Remind the other person that they are special. And be considerate.
Okay, this is sort of two things, but they're related. They're both "little" or everyday things. And you know, little things are what make up big things. So when you give drive-by hugs and send random "thinking of you" text messages, the other person feels validated. When you make your husband's favorite pie when you hear he's having a bad day, or when you do a silly dance to cheer up a grumpy wife, it means a lot. It makes the other person feel special and loved. And love is sort of important in a marriage.
Show up no matter what.
It took us a long time to understand the idea that a marriage is a team. Once you take that approach, problems are so much easier to solve. A team and a marriage doesn't work unless both people show up and cooperate. Always have the other person's back and be there to support them. Don't abandon the team, even just for a day.
Our marriage would be pretty boring if Lauren didn't make up sexually explicit nursery rhymes or if I didn't use fondue forks as "bull-hooks" to chase my stubborn husband around the house to get him to do what I want. If you can't have fun together, what's the point? We have some absolutely absurd stories. We routinely laugh until one of us cries... and it's one of my favorite thing about our marriage. It is never without joy, smiles or laughter.