MY 8 UNSPOKEN MARRIAGE RULES
Since I shared a blog post last month about going to a Tony Robbins personal development events with my husband and how it impacted my marriage, the #1 question I’ve been getting lately has been about my thoughts on marriage and how we make it work. So this weeks “Hey Jessie” is all about what works for us and our unspoken marriage rules.
Let me lead with, I’ve done a lot of freaking awesome things in my life that I am super proud of but none compare to the pride I have of not just making my marriage work but making it flourish.
I mean seriously, for perspective….
I’ve jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 40,000 feet to feel just a little bit closer to my dad that I lost at age 11. It was all that and more… a courageous leap of faith witnessing the unfathomable beauty created for us on this earth.
I’ve birthed 4 giant babies out my ‘hoo’ha” (3 without medication) because being a mom was one of my lifelong dreams and growing up I wanted to be just like ‘She-ra’, brave and strong and one kick ass woman because girls can do everything men can do BUT better. I’m not really an over the top feminist but I have felt inferior to men several times in my life and the truth is, nothing says ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ more than the beautiful but savage act of bringing a child into this world. Truly a miracle.
I earned a college degree just so I could say I got a college degree. (Believe me, that almost didn’t happen but it did so I’m proud)
And, I raced 300 mph race cars down some of the worst drag strips in the US narrowly avoiding a few major mishaps just because I wanted to finally be good at something so why not just do what everyone I knew in my whole life had never done and most likely would never do. The fact that I retain the title as the winningest driver in Jet Dragster category is still something that makes me pinch myself.
I told you, I’ve done some awesome things but the one that I deem as my greatest accomplishment in life is and always will be, MY MARRIAGE.
Yup. HOLY CAMOLY… marriage is freaking hard. Can I get an amen, sister?
But what I’ve learned is, things that are hard aren’t really hard when you remember what your values are. Remember those vows you said? Yeah, those vows to me are a standard, a set of values that we committed to abide by.
This month, my husband and I are celebrating our 8th and best year of marriage yet and over 14 years together. It never ceases to amaze me how much I love this man more every day. But it hasn’t come without it’s fair share of rough patches. And it’s these UNSPOKEN MARRIAGE RULES that I believe were vital and encouraged our commitment and dedication to growing stronger as a couple.
At my bridal shower, the guests passed around a scrap book where they shared their best advice for building a strong, healthy, loving and lasting marriage. There were some great suggestions in there but I remember thinking at the time as I read them, that we didn’t need the advice because WE… WE would be different…. Our love would always be enough. Hahaha. Yea right! If you’ve been married for more than a minute, you know that ain’t true!
What I took most from that scrapbook was that what they shared weren’t big things. They were little things. And I’m a firm believer that the best way to make positive progress at anything in life, isn’t in the big things… It’s in showing up consistently doing the little things that add up over time and produce massive results. Which by the way, it should go without saying that I’m talking about doing the little POSITIVE things even when your first instinct is to do the negative. Again, if you approach every response, reaction or decision with the mindset of keeping your values at the forefront, you will most likely have a strong marriage.
I don’t have all the right answers, I haven’t figured it all out and I’m still learning daily but I’ll share with you the “little things” that have strengthened my marriage:
- Spoil him – Say “yes” more than you say no (you know what I’m talking about), make him dinner, rub his feet, hand him the paper. Do the extras even when you’re too tired, or feeling fluffy (that is a term I like to use over bloated or fat). It’s not just sex or being his maid – it’s connection and respect and if a man has those two things, I promise you, he’ll spoil you as well. And if he doesn’t, then (in my opinion) he’s not worthy of you.
- Listen first, speak second and as Elsa says, sometimes just “Let it go” – In every moment of every day, you always have three decisions that determine the outcome of your life… What am I going to focus on, What does this mean, and what am I going to do? They say where your focus goes, your energy flows. You hear and see what the other person is saying or doing but imagine if instead of feeling attacked, disgusted or just tuning them out, you saw a lesson to be learned or all the love he has for you which is at the base of this issue. Use those moments to listen, evaluate where it is coming from, don’t react but speak only if you see an opportunity to grow stronger, more powerful or more successful in the future alone and together.
- Don’t take charge all the time – early on in our relationship my husband told someone he viewed us as a team. Ever since then, I realized that would be key to our success. Yes, I do more laundry than he does and writes out the checks to pay the bills but for the most part, we agree to do it that way and we ask each other for input. And furthermore, if he’s not helping when I think he should, I don’t demand he do something. I ask if he could give me a hand. Approach is 90% of that battle and I win every time when I come at it like we’re a team.
- Never use the D word. (Divorce, duh) – Even in the heat of the moment, avoid ever threatening divorce. The hurt alone when that word is used will put a big strain on a marriage which increases the probability of separation. The D word needs to remain on the D list (‘Do not go there’).
- Disconnect to connect – Remember above when I said, where your focus goes, you energy flows? Well, that rings true here too. In a tech based world it’s easy to get lost scrolling on FB or texting friends or editing your photos on an app. So, set ground rules – no phones after dinner time or gadget free weekends. Quality present time with each other is priceless.
- Date night – THIS is VERY important. It’s something that we have let slide in our busy seasons and it’s always when we have the most tension. So schedule it in, make it a priority. We can’t always get away from the kids so sometimes it’s as simple as date night at home once the kids are in bed or sometimes it’s just an easy grab and go dinner in the car or grocery shopping together. But it’s time together which is what’s important. We usually try to use date night as an opportunity to go that extra step for one another. So put on the good perfume, that new blouse, some eyeliner or a pair of heels and hold his hand, look into his eyes, listen, laugh, whatever but don’t just talk about the kids or problems or work. Once in a while reminisce about “that time when”… go back to basics and remind each other of how it all started.
- Don’t bring up past arguments – The reason most bring up the past is because they never resolved it. So make it a point to work through the problems and don’t let them fester. Find a resolution and even agree to disagree if you have to but leave it there and respect each others opinion.
- He’s my #1, ALWAYS – And I have no doubt that I’m his. I’ve seen many people get lost in life… their kids, work, their friends, etc. And years later they don’t even know who each other are. That’s not the case with us. No matter what we have each others back and we get through all of life’s chaos together. He is my rock and I’m his and we set the example for our kids of what a loving marriage should look like, not perfect but full of love, respect and honor.