Saturday, August 6, 2011

Matters of the Heart

 As a little girl we watch a lot of Disney movies, then as a teen romantic comedies, we watch classic Gidget movies where her toes curl backward when she's kissed by the right man (or person). So many movies telling the tale of some adversity in the middle of the movie but then by the end all is resolved and they live (Say it all  together) "Happily Ever After"
    Then we grow up, get bitch slapped by reality, hate Disney, put on our big girl panties and realize that love is not always enough to sustain and there is not always a Happily Ever After and we have to have real skills to navigate through rough waters that can (and probably will) be a long term relationship.
  While I am in no way a relationship expert or Dr. Phil, I have been with my darling husband for almost 7 years and married for 4 years with a separation stuffed right smack in the middle of it. So I figured in addition to sharing my pearls of parenting wisdom I'd share some relationship wisdom Ive learned (and am still learning) along the way

#1 Love is not all you need
Sorry folks, I'm a huge Beatles fan but they were wrong on this one. Love, determination, strength, will.. THOSE are the things you need. A relationship is hard work. You might think something like love shouldn't be this hard, but then you should remind yourself that nothing in this life worth having ever comes easy. You have to be willing to fight for it. I think we are so jaded to that prospect because its so mainstream to get a divorce. I was married previously before I married J. I got married young and married someone that was way better as a friend in my life than a husband. So I'm not in any way bashing divorce I am saying to think about how much more picky we would be in choosing a spouse or how much harder would we work at it if divorce wasn't an easy option? Think about diving into a relationship that way. Be choosy, wait for your twin flame (soul mate) and once you have them never ever let go. Your soul mate will not abuse or degrade you. They are by far not anymore perfect than you are and they will most likely hurt you or even break your heart at some point but they wont abuse you or demean you. If that's the type of relationship you're in, find help and get out safely. Love is not abuse and those are not the types of relationships you fight for. You also want to think about if you have kids and what message you're sending to them, as a girl are you telling them that they aren't worth true love and love comes in the form of a fist or a boy learning that its ok to abuse his significant other? Or are you teaching them mistakes happen, we pick the wrong people sometimes but you are strong enough and worth enough to walk out and take them with you.. And that leads me into my 2nd point.

#2 Children change EVERYTHING.
Let me repeat this for all those young (or old) and naive hearts out there that think in the midst of difficulty in your relationship having a kid will bond you together forever in love.. WRONG! They change everything about you, your life, your relationships with everyone and how you see the world. Its completely different. It better and amazing in every way. The sleepless nights, the constant work, all of it, completely worth it. However the change will undoubtedly put a strain on even the most stable of relationships. Its an immediate change that no books or person can properly prepare you for and hopefully you're in it together. But the stress of being a parent to a new baby will test your relationship fully. Stay in communication with each other, if you aren't good at communicating then now is a perfect time to head to counseling for some ideas or grab a marriage book. You must show a unified front to your children, they're like sharks and can sense separation and fear and will attack and bring on an argument. Not because they are malicious but because they are exploring their boundaries. Communication is key.

#3 You can "date" for years, but you will never really know a true test of your relationship until you live together.

Face it anyone can put their best foot forward during the dating phase. Hair, make-up, fresh breath, nicely dressed etc. You really know about how much you love someone when she's make up less, hair in pony tail, PMS acne everywhere, eating everything in sight complaining about cramps and randomly crying. Same goes for dudes.. You know its love when you're still attracted to him after waking up for a 3am pee and seeing him asleep, mouth open, drooling, snoring and hair a mess. Lets not even go into the amount of love it takes to put up with whatever his many time consuming obsessions are or his talks about his last poop.. Even more so your love will be tested through paying bills, working, hardly seeing each other, household chores, arguments, kids, pets, extended family etc. The reality is that Disney never made Princess movie about what happens after they get married, have kids, do laundry, dishes, work, yell because Prince Charming forgot to put his clothes away or the dish in the sink AGAIN. It all seems perfect and lovely until you seen someone for who they really are, in the morning light, and bare. You know its real when you see it and love them anyway because you realize you are not complete without them despite the bullshit.

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