Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

Keep Your Own List ~ Rae

on July 24, 2013


July 27th marks my 17th wedding anniversary. Amazing right? Let me tell you the secret to our marriage success:

…… um ya….. there is no magic secret.

In fact, when I think about it, it’s frankly incredible that we have stayed married this long. I have done just about everything all the marriage advice books say one should not.

I have:

lied, cried, held grudges, yelled, ignored, fought in front of the children, played games, went to bed angry, walked out, threw things, been whiney, been grumpy, been mean, put myself first, been inflexible, been lazy, been crazy ect…

I know – I know – I suck, but before you start filling out the divorce papers for my husband know that he has his own list of mistakes and flaws as well.

In other words we have both been HUMAN, imperfect, and full of issues.

It’s kind of ironic. We will accept faults from our parents, our siblings, and our children without hesitation and forgive them almost anything. On the other hand, many people will not do the same for their spouses. I remember a time when I was a teenager that my dad was dealing with a horrible boss. He came home from work irritable, angry, and mad. He yelled a lot during that period of time. However, I never once considered “leaving” my dad. I accepted him, prayed for him and waited out the storm. People do not pick their parents. People do not pick their siblings. People do not pick their children. And for the most part we accept them as they are – shortcomings, idiosyncrasies and all. Conversely, the trend in our world lately is to be hypercritical of the one person we do pick! In today’s American society no one is forced to marry. YOU picked your spouse!!! YOU alone.

I wonder what happens after people get married. Do they think it’s going to be all roses and sunshine forever? The story books lied to us. There is no “Happily Ever After”. There is real life with its good times and bad. PLUS the one thing that most people do not realize is that much of adult life is going to be routine- neither extremely bad nor extremely good. Just day in and day out: get up, take care of business, and go to bed. BORING!!!!

This is when I think many of us start to judge our spouses harshly. We make a list of all their imperfections and deficiencies. We internally mutter, “what about my needs”; “I love him/her, but I’m not IN love with him/her”; “we are like roommates”. This is when we start to think the grass will be greener somewhere else. BUT guess what, if you choose a new relationship, realize that person too is imperfect and life will eventually turn routine.

I think a saving grace in my marriage is that I am fully aware of my own lists of failings. For everything thing that drives me nuts about my husband, there is something about me that equally drives him insane. We have both, I am sure, thought briefly about “what if we ended this”. I can readily make a list of his faults and throw them in his face. It would be easy. It would likewise be easy for him to call me out on my list, but it would also be very counterproductive. There have been times when my husband has asked me what I would like him to work on, but truthfully I cannot change him. Only he can change himself; only I can change myself and ONLY if we both take responsibility for our own lists. That is where the “magic” of marriage happens. I accept RESPONSIBILITY for myself. I realize I bring as much baggage to the relationship as he does. I accept that we are both human and will never be perfect. I keep my own list and I work on it. Instead of keeping score, I keep my own list. Most of all I try remember that Love is a VERB not an abstract concept.

And I know- my veil was EPIC!

DISCLAIMER: Of course none of this applies to an abusive relationship. If your spouse is abusive- LEAVE!!!!

One response to “Keep Your Own List ~ Rae

  1. Shan says:

    This is the truth, straight up. And it’s a lesson that has taken me a long time to begin to grasp, but I’m getting there.


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