Marriage Ramblings – One Lady’s Perspective

Ladies, your marriage connection is as much your responsibility as it is your husband’s. Whoa, I said it. I have had some notes that I wrote out almost a year ago that I wanted to hash out and I feel like today might be that day.

Being married 17 years to my husband hasn’t been all roses and chocolate. In fact, if I wanted to I could dish and make it seem like my husband is far from perfect, but I won’t. You know why? Well, besides being rude to him (and humiliating to me; I chose him in the first place, mind you 🙂 ), I would never want him to dish about me. I am so far from perfect (who isn’t);I am so glad that he chooses to respect me and our marriage and love me even with my glaring imperfections. But, you see, if I dwelt on my husband’s failings to me, if I talked about it with everyone I came in contact with, even as a “joking” manner, that seed of discontent would grow up inside me to become a noxious weed that could take many forms.

I am close to 40 years old now and I have had the pleasure of seeing many of my friends married at their lovely ceremonies back in our twenties and now, I have had the sadness and grief of seeing more than a few of my friends go through divorce. Do I bring this up to make anyone who has gone through a divorce feel any guilt and shame, no way!! I bring this up, because I am talking to myself about my marriage and any others who are married, too (including if it’s your second or more marriage). Heck, I’m even talking to you single people out there, just in case you do choose to get married some day.

Let me tell you a secret that I have found to happiness: happiness is not based on the choice of your life partner, but on your own ability to take a hold of your own contentment. My heart must be guarded (I must be careful), the Bible verse in Proverbs 4:23, Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life comes to my mind. Is it a question of the chicken and the egg…did I choose someone to respect me, because I respected myself (guarded my heart) or did I teach him the way to treat me (also by guarding my heart)? I’m not sure about that and it kind of gets into circular reasoning that scrambles my brain a bit, so I will move on.

I guess I think about these types of marriage and relationship issues often, because I have 4 children who may get married one day and may have children. I would really like them to have a good and happy relationship and would like to help them to prepare their own minds to choose happiness themselves, not wait for someone else to “give” happiness to them (which I don’t think is even possible or fair to expect from someone).

We ladies need to take care of ourselves; physically and mentally we push ourselves to the brink and fall (no wonder, because we are so close to the edge)…the fall at first feels freeing. We need to give ourselves margin in all areas of our life and admit where we need a rest.

Emotionally, we need connection…and we think that our husbands will “get” what we need like those guys in the movies do. Well, those guys are reading a script ladies. Here’s my view on my husband (who is a very smart person), he’s like a little guy. Would I expect my 8 year old son to read my mind? Of course not! Then why would I expect my husband to read my mind? He can’t. I’m guessing your husband can’t read yours either…of course, they learn to try to figure it out, they just want us to be happy. Yep, that’s all they wanted when they first married us, for us to be happy. Depending on how your husband has been treated over these years (he may be like a little dog who has been kicked all his life and will have a hard time trusting again) he may respond quicker than another husband, so I am not saying this is a cure-all. But, we need to treat them with gentleness and kindness, you know…how you treat a little puppy (or how you should). Yes, I have learned that part the hard way, my husband had a hard time trusting me for awhile, because of the way I would respond to him (or not respond) when he wanted to share his heart…I need to be plugged in to recognize when that is happening; there isn’t a neon sign that goes off to realize that his “sharing of his day” is actually him sharing his feeling of stress or something like that underlying the mundane details.

If we aren’t careful while needing that emotional connection, we may think that we might be able to find it in a new relationship, the one that will most assuredly bring that “woo” feeling at first. If we don’t take the time and talk with our husband about our hurts (and listen to their hurts as well, the street goes both ways), our feelings will bottle up, until there is such a gap between us emotionally, it’s as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. And while looking at that expanse with a hammer in our hands to build a bridge, a nice man walks by and flirts with us. Guard your heart. Reality is hard work, escapism is everywhere…even in relationships. Even in my mind and thoughts, I could think about an escape, but I must guard my heart.

As a biology major, I do believe the biological process courses through women’s bodies and minds in much the same way as a man’s. But, women have a different “pull” and I have never heard it discussed before (and won’t go into greatly here and now). I have heard talks and seen many books that discuss the guarding that a man must place on his heart and mind. A woman deals with the same type of stuff, but different. It seems like it may be some biological reasons that contribute to a woman’s choice to escape (even mentally), but I am not making an excuse either. I just think that at this age and seeing the divorces all around and knowing some of my own anecdotes, maybe biology could be an explanation and it’s definitely something to be careful to watch out for in our own lives. I know that I need to take care and keep margins in my life, so that I am careful not to fall off the edge.