I don’t think I’ve written explicitly about marriage before. Funny enough I’m often asked to speak about dating at midlife or asked to give advice to single women on the dating scene. I get why, I wrote a book about single motherhood. This blog was originally called Single Mom Chic for goodness sake. So even though I understand it, the truth is I rarely give dating advice now because I’ve been out of the dating game for almost a decade. I’ve been in a committed relationship for over 9 years and married for almost 6. So with that being said, it might make more sense for me to talk about marriage.
But here’s why I hesitate. It’s going to sound silly. I mean I’m not an overly superstitious person. I’ve broken mirrors without bemoaning my 7-year fate and I’ve stepped on cracks without any concern for my mother’s back but there was this one time…
A few years ago I posted a picture of a bowl of cherries and cleverly (I’m joking here) titled it “Life is like a bowl of cherries”. Not because I’m so creative obviously but because… well at that time it was. Life was finally going along swimmingly and it had been really really hard at times during my single mom journey. So I was relishing in the fact that all seemed right in the world.
Now don’t get me wrong I loved my independence as a single woman and actually enjoyed my life but was it was tough? Absolutely, but I just happen to believe that I can do hard things!
But at the time of the posting I was married to an amazing guy (still am of course) my youngest had graduated from high school and my oldest was in law school. Things were much much easier! So, I posted that photo and then…things got really really hard.
A few weeks later my family would be rocked by cancer and after that, I decided not to boast about how well anything is going because it’s going well….until it’s not. But my daughter reminded me recently that although things do sometimes fall apart that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate them while they’re going well. Like the meme says-we should vent about our joys as well as our frustrations!
My marriage brings me joy and while I do believe marriage is personal and not one size fits all here are My Top Three Thoughts On Making a Marriage Work (surprisingly they’re the same thoughts on dating back in the day).
- While opposites might attract it helps to have similar core beliefs- we don’t always agree on which movies to see and I’m not into sports like he is, but when it comes to family, politics, and morality we’re on the same page. We focus on our similarities, not our differences. I care a whole lot more about how he feels about women’s rights than how many Marvel movies he wants to see. Whatever matters most to you seek to find a way to get on one accord.
- You have to make time for couple-care just like you do for self-care. It’s easy to get caught up in taking care of work, kids, family members, and even yourself (none of which are a bad thing) but couple time matters too. I know for those with young families this can be harder but nothing is harder on a marriage than going through a divorce. Be intentional. I see my daughter and son in law-making this happen and they have two under two. You can do it!
- Your happiness is your responsibility-this is the beginning, the middle and the end. You cannot expect another person to make you happy. Every person who has ever expressed (to me) that they wanted to end a marriage has ultimately claimed a general feeling of unhappiness as one of the main reasons (myself included at the end of my first one) But the real honest truth is happiness is an inside job and it doesn’t usually just fall from the sky, you must be intentional about cultivating your own happiness. It makes you a better mother, spouse, co-worker, boss, you name it. Get yourself some happiness. I love how the singer Lizzo talks about marrying herself! Whether you’re single or married you have to love and make yourself happy too!
My husband would probably add to have a short memory. Though you need to speak up about things that really matter. You can’t hold on to everything. Some things you have to let go in the wash. It’s not a competition so don’t keep score.
Those are my thoughts on marriage. I’d love to hear yours! And if you yourself are married cheers to many more years!
Until Next Post,
xo Tonya Parker