My Wife and I have been Married for 14 Years
Let’s talk about that.
14 years ago my wife and I got hitched, as the saying goes. And as I look back, a lot of things are coming across the mind. Memories. Moments. How incredibly long that sounds. And yet… if our marriage is 14 years old, that means it’s just coming into puberty. Hormones — yikes!
If you are generally concerned about mushy talk, don’t worry, I don’t think this will be too much of that. I’m too literal for that, most likely. But first things first…
I married a strong woman and that’s a good thing.
There’s a prevalent feeling in our society, probably the whole world, that if you marry a strong (female) wife, then you must be some sort of weakling male. Well, that’s hogwash. And wouldn’t a strong male be stronger when accompanied by a strong female? The whole idea rests on the idea that the two genders are at odds or warring against each other.
Crystal, my wife, and I do not war against each other. And that’s good, too. If you are warring against your partner, that’s not good.
My wife is strong, as I said. She was before I met her. She’s only gotten stronger with age and maturity. Strong physically, strong mentally. Strong emotionally. Strong.
We should all want strong people at our sides. It makes us better people. Stronger people.
As I sat down to write this piece for my wife and the world, I dug up some music. I wanted to listen to something that would resonate with the time of our marriage. Oddly enough, I found an album of the top 20 hits of The Mamas and the Papas and I found a song that worked. All of the songs took me back to that first year of marriage.
But why The Mamas and the Papas?
A dear friend of mine, Becky Perry, had sent along a care package (as she couldn’t make the wedding), and inside it was several goodies. Our first set of letters for the fridge, some other things, and The Mamas and the Papas.
I can remember listening to that album a lot within that first year of marriage. It got a lot of spins in the car, especially when I was delivering pizzas for the Hut. It broadened my knowledge of their music and several of their pieces have become life soundtrack pieces for me.
And as I began to write, I turned on single-track repeat for the song Make your own kind of Music, as it seemed to hit a theme for our marriage.
Nobody can tell you there’s only one song worth singing. They may try and sell you, because it hangs them up to see someone like you. But you gotta make your own kind of music, sing your own special song. Make your own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along. — The Mamas and the Papas
It seems like we’ve been making our own kind of music for a long time now. Fourteen years, in fact.
No, this isn’t a Pinterest board. No marriage recipes. A lot of marriages struggle, stumble, stick it out, or fail. We’ve had bumps, of course. Like everyone. I think one of the most important keys for us has been putting down a blueprint in front of us and trying to stick to it. Here are a few things we discussed before marriage and implemented upon tying the metaphorical knot…
We fill each other’s gaps.
One thing we used to joke about, even before we got married, was that we were complete opposites. Years later we proved that theory scientifically with the Briggs test confirming that we were in fact — opposites.
I had a theory, our opposite-ness was a good thing. She was introverted. I was extroverted. Situations where she would recoil, I would step up and have no problem. And vice-versa. And so, the idea seemed simple… my weaknesses were her strengths, and her weaknesses were my strengths. And it worked.
We filled each other’s gaps. Like two hands coming together, the fingers wrapping between each perfectly.
There was always the ability for one of us to say, “I got this.”
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
This above text is from Ephesians 4:26 of the Bible. And it was something I really wanted us to apply to our marriage in a very literal sense.
In witnessing various marriages around me suffer, decay, and sometimes fail, I noticed one constant in all of them. One, or both, of the partners in the marriage had an amazing memory. There were always little things that could be brought up on a whim, little slights that had been made some two months ago — three years ago — ten years ago. There were even situations where I witnessed a partner legitimately confused, until it was explained the situation in question was from some many years ago.
Not forgiving each other, letting the “sun go down” upon that anger and remembering it the next day or the next or the next thirty years was not healthy for the relationship. You can’t have resentment or hold grudges, if you’ve forgiven and moved beyond the wrongs along the way.
So, I thought it would be cool to take, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” and use it in a very literal sense. We were going to always — always — try our hardest to resolve matters, our anger, before the sun went down.
Does it mean there have been times where we were laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, and the other is like, “Ahem.” And you’re like, “What?” And they’re like, “This isn’t over yet, is it?” And you roll over and say, “Oh, I thought it was over.” And you talk, sleepily, for another thirty minutes — trying desperately to get to the resolution, so you can get some sleep. Does it mean that this sometimes happens? Yes. This sometimes happens. But it’s been important. It’s been good.
Talking it out and dealing with things in real-time, instead of putting them off and trying to bring them up in some weird “on-demand” scenario ten years down the road is not helpful. It fosters resentment. It fosters grudges. Getting beyond the pain and finding the resolution should be the desire. And getting it done as quickly as possible should be priority.
Nobody’s perfect. And that’s cool. Perfect people are morons. But, when two people decide to work together and live together, it can really make for a lifetime of happiness and memories. And even kids, sometimes.
So, in conclusion, honey… I love yas. You were amazing 14 years ago and you’re still amazing 14 years later. Let’s keep on rocking ‘em.