The hubs and I are celebrating 7 years of marriage next week. I can’t believe we’re coming up on year 7. Sometimes I feel we’re an old married couple and then I meet those who have been married 25 years, 40, 50, etc. and I feel like a total rookie. I have to admit I’m a teeny bit scared of year 7. Friends and family have shared the myth of the “7 year itch”. There’s a whole movie about it that stars Marilyn Monroe in the iconic white dress. Although, for different reasons than what the movie implies, it’s a little scary to know we’re getting ready to enter a year that has been tough for many and has such a negative connotation.
When reflecting back on the time since our wedding day in 2008, I started to draft a blog post and called it the 7 lessons I’ve learned so far in marriage. I wrote about the first 7 things/advice (off the cuff) I could think of and then I thought…nah…..people probably don’t want to read about that.
I asked one of my sisters what she would want to know from a couple that has been married 7 years and she suggested I write about the toughest year for us so far and so I did.
Brandon and I have been together for almost 10 years. Like many couples, there are great times and there are also not so great times. We are very blessed in that the great times over power the not so great by a landslide.
This past week for example, I didn’t like my husband. Almost every day last week he did something that annoyed me. He embarrassed me over dinner with friends by going against something I said basically making me look like a liar.
Another day he asked me to do something I felt was incredibly selfish because he didn’t want to look like the bad guy, not realizing he was asking me to lie which makes me uncomfortable.
On a different day he had me scrambling for a formal dress because he failed to give me important details on an event we had to attend the following night. I had less than 24 hours to get everything together on a very busy work week.
It all worked out; we got through the week. No single day brought on an argument but we weren’t our usual lovey dovey selves. We were back to normal after a conversation we had in which we each described where we were coming from all before Friday at noon but it wasn’t one of our best weeks. I don’t like him everyday but that doesn’t change how much I love him.
In preparation for this entry, I wrote down the past 7 years on a sheet of paper and wrote down significant events that occurred each year to determine our toughest year.
It kind of seems like a blur at this point and looking back I can think of the emotions I felt when those things were happening in our lives- the tears, the joy, the struggle. We’ve been through a lot! And not just things between the two of us. A lot of the major events I remember experiencing were things happening around us that affected us and the people we love.
When pondering tough times over the past years, we’ve experienced the uncertainty that comes along with losing a job unexpectedly, the disappointment when sacrifices had to be made to make ends meet, the sadness of losing family members, the pain that comes from experiencing your parents divorce, the burnout of having a sick parent, the roller coaster of emotions that comes from finding a birth father and meeting siblings you didn’t know you had, the struggles and growth of starting a business, the deep should we start a family conversations, the nerves of experiencing joint major purchases of home and cars, hospital scares-ours and family members, injuries, sickness, the uncertainty in managing struggles in our careers, the anger of adjusting to making compromises on decisions even when you’re on very opposing sides, and so on.
The toughest year so far for us has been this past year.
It all started for me when I had a bit of an identity personal crisis. Work was taking over my life. I was stressed, unhappy, doubtful of my career choice, and just overall started spinning into this downward toxic spiral. I didn’t feel the most confident in my career life and it started spilling into my personal life. I started displaying qualities of insecurity and I didn’t like it at all. It simply wasn’t me. My husband on the other hand was feeling great! The business was growing. He had mastered the balance of work stress and playtime. I was drowning and felt completely alone. I was proud of my husband, and happy for him. My feelings were separate from what he was going through. I caught myself starting arguments out of things that really just didn’t matter. I questioned everything. I was not in a healthy place.
As I’m writing this, it seems so trivial considering all we’ve been through and what other couples go through and get through together. This short post can’t describe the true feelings of doubt, the loneliness, the feeling of losing your confidence and how it truly affected us. I feel like it was the toughest because all the other things we’ve been through we did together. I’ve always been proud of the great team we are, this past year felt like we lost a little of that because I felt I was going through this alone.
The good news is we’re back on track and we’re better and stronger having gotten through a tough personal time. We learned from the experience and talked A LOT. Over the past year, we tried different tactics to help get back on track. One strategy we tried that was helpful was keeping a running list of reminders written on poster board paper that we placed on the wall on each side of our beds on things we do to make each other happy, and things we can do to help make each other happier. Also, this year we made it an emphasis to work on personal goals and we did what we needed to do to accomplish them knowing these goals would help put us in a better place. I say us, but truly it’s something I needed to do for myself. And yet he did it with me solidifying our strength, our love, and teamwork.
Earlier this year I started journaling daily on a 10 year journal gifted to me. In it, I write at least 4 sentences of something that I want to remember from that day 1, 5, and 10 years from now. Some days there are funny things that I want to laugh about again. Other days are details of what made me feel down that day. I don’t necessarily want to reminisce back on those feelings but I look forward to reading back and thinking about how much stronger and better I feel since then. In the journal I also have a system for noting when I had a good day, an okay day, and a poor day. It helps me look back at the month and in a way strive to have a steady streak of smiley faces of good days.
I’m looking forward to year 7 and an eternity with my life partner. I know there will be more hurdles, and even more joyous moments but I’m confident we can get through it just like we always do. Year 7 will be mighty!