Remember in Kindergarten, when sharing did not come naturally? When two people say the words, “I do…” they don’t always know exactly what they “do” agree to in that moment of bliss and celebration. A whole lot of sharing is involved to make a marriage work. It’s fun to share laughs, adventures, meals, and your bodies… But today’s tribute to my anniversary week is not about the happy, romantic, lovey-dovey stuff in marriage. In fact, I almost named this blog, “my love-hate relationship with marriage,” but that seemed a little extreme. I did come up with a list though, of the:
TOP TEN Hardest Things to Share in a Marriage
I’m sure there’s more, but these are the biggest challenges I came up with…
1. Sharing the closet.
In our case, we only have one. So his dress clothes take over and mine are rolling here and there… trying to sneak into the girls’ closet and in between his dress shirts. Sounds a little flirtatious… But it is honestly a pain!2. Sharing household chores.He maintains the cars. I make most of the meals. He mows the lawn. I do the bills. The girls are old enough to help with laundry and dishes. So thankful!! But even so, the system is far from perfect. There are plenty of days when cooking amnesiajust takes over and I wish he was home an hour ago to cure me [by making dinner!] He is a doctor after all!3. Sharing the budget.We don’t have my money/your money disagreements. Our squabbles are more often Him: “Let’s spend!” and Me: “Let’s save!” battles. Still working on finding that balance. Once heard that this makes for a perfect combo since it keeps a couple from going broke but makes sure they have fun! That’s mostly true! 🙂
4. Sharing the power.
Now two have a say in every big and even sometimes little decisions. Talking things over takes time. And sometimes you have to agree to disagree and go with the other person’s idea. It can be painful when you’re naturally opinionated or just have a propensity to express every opinion. Still working on that external processing button that surpasses hubby’s capacity to hear it many a day.
5. Sharing a bed.
This might sound funny, but when we first got married, I lost a lot of sleep. Fourteen years later, and I’m pretty comfortable on my side, but I feel bad for nights when I toss and turn and he’s on the other side waiting patiently for my brain to shut off so I can stop causing an earthquake under the covers.
6. Sharing your problems.
Especially if your spouse feels like he or she needs to solve, fix or cure them. So often, we’re just looking for someone to listen to us. But at times when both spouses are experiencing unusually high levels of stress, deadlines, setbacks etc., it can be hard to empathize with your spouse when you feel needy at the same time. That’s why I can’t imagine my life without my girlfriends. My sister and my best friend! They are my sounding boards when hubby has reached his max from what he often coins, “Days when everyone wants a piece of me!”
7. Sharing each other’s dreams.
Don’t get me wrong. Every married person ideally wants to see their spouse pursue his or her dreams, but I can attest to the fact that just cuz you’d like to see your hubby or wife reach their goals, does not mean the journey will be easy. I married a med student. Not a doctor. So we pummeled through the tough years of med school and the grueling years of residency together. And now, almost fourteen years into the race, the tables are turned and hubby is working with my new schedule that involves evenings and weekends as I pursue my dream to be an author. The support is there. We’ve been each other’s cheerleaders all along. But some days it’s just hard. Wishing hubby wasn’t on call. Or that I was home watching a movie with him rather than pumping out pages at Starbucks.
8. Sharing your interests.
Because over time, everyone changes. And so often during the journey of life, our interests change, evolve and sometimes disappear. When we first got married, we both loved playing basketball together, but then kids came along, and only one of us could leave the house to play. So eventually, I joined a gym. Got into swimming and fun stuff like “tabatas.” I still love to play ball, but the opportunity isn’t there like it used to be. So I had to make a decision. To not hold the my hubby hostage for still playing ball. By finding my own niche. That worked with my schedule and life with young children. So I work out early in the morning when the kids are getting ready for school and hubby hasn’t left for work yet.
If an interest is not critical to the integrity of the marriage, it’s okay to have some individual pursuits and who knows? Sometimes that difference in activity can lead to something special in your life that is just yours. A little me-time is healthy and refreshing.
9. Sharing the truth.
Especially when you’ve messed up. Being honest in a relationship is the number one ingredient (coupled with grace) that I believe provides the glue that gels a couple together with that lasting bond that weaves your heart to his. Being vulnerable can be terrifying, even with the person you’ve been married to for years. But hiding is synonymous with poison in a relationship. We’ve both confessed some painful truths to each other over the years. We’re human. Neither of us is going to get it right every single day. Every single time. But I love what hubby said to me back when we were dating:
“My life is an open book to you. And yours to me. Not that I ever have to read the chapters or pages in the past. But knowing that I have an option to ask and that you’ll tell me the truth is enough. And the same applies to my past. And
So we share pretty much everything. I can honestly say that no one knows me better than Santhosh. It’s a strange phenomenon when a person knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. And loves you anyway. The marriage becomes the safest, sweetest, and most freeing place to be.
10. Sharing Grace.
I think even for this grace-lover/grace-seeker, giving grace and forgiveness daily can overwhelm even the soundest of relationships. If you keep count. So don’t. Because without Grace, marriage just doesn’t happen. Yeah, you might stick together. But you won’t grow together. Learn together. And I’m convinced more than ever that grace is the key ingredient to experiencing true love for each other. Because Grace catches your fall. Helps you up. And gives you permission to fly again. And we need that when we feel deflated by our weaknesses, stumbles, and wrong turns.
Love Grace. Depend on Grace. Can’t imagine my marriage without Grace.
Grace affirms wedding vows through our actions.
Grace whispers, sings, and sometimes shouts:
“I will not give up on you.”Thanks for not giving up on me Sunshine.And for the record, I ain’t giving up on you. Either.
To fourteen years of sharing. And by God’s grace…many more to come!
Rajdeep Paulus studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and spent over a decade as an English Teacher and SAT Tutor, during which she married her best friend from Chicago whom she then followed to the island of Dominica where he began medical school. Fourteen years, four daughters, and a little house on a hill in the quaint town of Locust Valley, New York later, she now blogs weekly and writes masala-marinated, Y.A. fiction.When Raj is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She blogs at www.insearchofwaterfalls.com and secretly hopes someday she’ll own a laptop that functions under water.
Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature "Girl Talk" about sex and marriage. And she's written 8 books. About sex and marriage. See a theme here? Plus she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.