Monday, July 30, 2012

Climbing up on that high horse of mine

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, no matter how badly people want to portray theirs as such.  There are, however, some  pretty rockin' marriages & I'm happy to claim to be 1/2 of one of those.  I don't say this b/c I'm a boastful person, b/c I don't think that I am.  I say it b/c I am proud of my husband & of the marriage we have.  This is especially exciting for me since we've both been married once before & I have not witnessed many functional relationships.  In fact, I can count them on one hand without using up all my fingers.  Frankly, that makes me sad, but also that much more grateful for having found my own version of the modern-day fairy tale.

In the day-to-day, I see & hear a lot of relationships that are struggling & most of it I can relate to.  As I said, I was married once before and that 8 years of wedded misery taught me a lot.  For example, I learned that you can't force something that isn't meant to be.  And trust me: if you're honest w/ yourself, you know the difference between a relationship that is built to last & one that is doomed to fail.  There isn't a lot of confusion between the two. It's our own desires that keeps us struggling in a relationship that we know is unhealthy.  Most of the time it's b/c we don't want to admit defeat or we're so ridiculously co-dependent that we'd rather be w/ someone who's bad for us than be alone.  Been there, done that y'all.  It only gets harder as time goes on.  Then one day you're getting ready for a fun New Year's night w/ a friend & your plans get reduced to a pile of rubble as an argument ensues w/ your spouse & you can't figure out one good reason why you should put up with them for another second.  2 weeks later you're starting over, but you  have to do it w/ a child in tow & the decisions are harder to make b/c you have to ensure you're making them out of genuine concern for your child's well-being, not b/c you're pissed off at your ex.  (There is such a fine line between the two, that it often gets blurred.)

The good news is that sometimes we're wise enough to learn from our mistakes & compile a mental list of "deal-breakers" & areas of compromise so as not to end up in the same situation again.  My deal-breakers are pretty straightforward:

1) No cheating.
2) No beating. (Myself or my child.)
3) No emotional warfare.

I am flexible enough to compromise on basically all other aspects of a relationship, but those are 3 that are zero-tolerance.  Life is too short to put up w/ foolishness & my self-esteem is far too weak to handle betrayal or abuse.  Once again: been there, done that.  Why do it again when I know how it ends?  And even more importantly: why put my kid through that?!  The relationships she witnesses are going to shape her idea of what's acceptable & not.  How can I allow myself to distort her ideals in such a way that only sets her up for failure & pain?  It's not fair to her or any other child growing up in a house where there is constant discord between parents.  It's selfish & stupid. Period!

On the flip side of the coin, a lot of people give up too easily.  If it were easy, we'd all get it right the first time.  But if a relationship is built on mutual respect, it's not difficult to avoid the slippery slopes that wear you down over time.  It's the good moments that are there to carry you through the rough ones.  And there are ALWAYS rough times, no matter how in love two people are.  It's not magical unicorns & rose petals.  Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves & dig in some deep bullshit.  But if it's right, it's worth it.

I consider myself very fortunate b/c while I was preparing for a lengthy phase of single white womanhood, my JJ Dyn-o-mite basically fell right into my lap & laid waste to all my previous notions of men & marriage.  He ruined all my plans, but in the best possible way.  He's been patient through all my craziness, and has seen me at some of my lowest points.  When I've expected him to disappoint me, and almost pushed him to do so, he has proven that it's just not going to happen.  Not all folks are so lucky.  Does he drive me bonkers sometimes? Absolutely! I don't run around like June Cleaver w/ a smile pasted on my face, particularly not when I'm picking up dirty clothes off the floor that are literally 2 feet from the hamper.  He's amazing in so many ways, but he doesn't shit solid gold, people. So yes, I do get irritated & bitchy on occasion and yes, we argue.  It happens.  What doesn't happen is name-calling, back-biting, or any other spirit-crushing hyphenates.  Those behaviors are always born out of some deep-seeded disdain and if you truly love someone, while you may get angry at them, there isn't room for nastiness. (Well, that kind of nastiness anyway. There is always room for the fun nastiness. *wink, wink*)  I am NOT an easy woman to live with, so I give huge props to Justin for making it look so effortless.

The point is that I'm grateful.  I appreciate the bad experiences b/c they have taught me some lessons I really needed to learn.  Also, having seen the ugly side of relationships,  I feel as if that qualifies me to post entries like this one.  I know very well that we all have to come to these conclusions on our own & no amount of pontificating on my part will directly affect anyone's life.  I just like to share what little wisdom I can claim & express my deep appreciation for the awesomeness that is my husband & our marriage.  (Especially after seeing so many relationships crumble recently.)

Now then, this soapbox is getting a little high, so I'm gonna step down before I fall on my face.

My drawing skills are unmatched!!

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