My husband, Scott, and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this week. As I remember the beginning of our engagement and first couple of years of marriage, I am amazed at how different we are now. Scott and I met in optometry school in Boston, dated towards the end of my residence on the East Coast, and had a long distance relationship. I was in Chicago, and he lived in upstate New York. He relocated to Chicago after we got engaged, and we did have to adjust to being together permanently. Here are a few things that we have learned throughout the years.
You don’t always need to be right Wow, did we argue when we first got married. Mind you, we are two high performing individuals that are also first born children. I remember an argument that I clearly was not correct, however, I kept fighting as to not lose. I probably brought up some previous random argument where he reluctantly conceded OR we were both exhausted from fighting.
We couldn’t put together a desk from IKEA without screaming at each other, could not install the ice maker on our first refrigerator without water spraying everywhere, nor hang art up on the wall to both of our satisfaction.
We do not argue much anymore. We realize that the events of the day that we spent separately can put us in a mood, and there is a respect of trying not to bring the bad mood home. We’ve also realized that there are times we’d like to talk about things with each other, and times that we do not. So we do not press each other. We spend a lot more time listening now too.
Pick your battles There are definitely differences between us. I don’t know if I thought that he should live up to my expectations, but I do know that I did nag him. But as we got to know each other better, we learned to choose what was more important. He doesn’t not put things away right away, and it drives me crazy when I have items out. However, I have implemented a rule to myself that I do not say anything until his item(s) have been left out for 10 days. By that time, yes, it is time to put it away.
We were recently invited to a dinner that I thought we should go to, and he did not want to go. He did agree to go, and it wasn’t the best event. Afterwards, he didn’t complain or make me feel horrible. We just both agreed that we it was a unique experience and we don’t have to do it again.
We are strong individually, but stronger together Marriage is not easy. We have seen many couples separate and divorce, and know the statistics. Our lives are very different than what we expected – we have had a change in profession, the addition of a child, our world of entrepreneurship, & learning new skills. I see where a shift can cause struggle in a relationship.
But I have seen the positive side of marriage. I believe we matured together, and I believe we have navigated our lives successfully together. We are best friends, companions, as well as each other’s challengers to do more and to do better. We have opened our eyes together to culture, travel, parenthood, finances, politics, and community.
Finally, we are committed to us. We are our priority. While we know how to expertly push each other’s buttons, we also know how to make each other laugh. And this is the reason we celebrate us.