Hello hello Friends!
I’m writing on the occasion of my 10 Year Marriage Anniversary, and although I may not get this published in time (read: I will not…it was May 26th) – I had an overflow of words that had to be said, so here we are. Ten years ago I said the word’s “I do” to my husband, and while I knew that our lives were about to change in a big way; at the time, I had no idea as to how much each of us would change, as individuals.
Two words simple enough in and of themselves, yet two words, when worked into one’s thoughts, motives, and actions bear the incredible weight and potential to forever change the course of one’s life and marriage.
It’s the part in the ceremony that leaves most women reaching for their tissues as they witness the exchange of undying love and commitment take place – regardless of whatever curveballs life may throw at the young starry-eyed couple. For some it’s the part of the ceremony that brings back memories of broken promises; mixed emotions of hope and disappointment, excitement and pain. For the young, it’s a time of joy and celebration, as they watch dreams become a reality and think of their own dreams in turn.
Over the years, hearing and witnessing couple’s exchanging their vows; I’ve experienced all of those emotions, as I’ve walked my own journey of marriage and been at different stages every time.
I’d like to say that these past 10 years have been 10 years of bliss…but on the other hand…I’m thankful that I can not.
You see, at one time I equated the success of my marriage to the happiness in my heart…and I think that the happiness of my heart was defined by the things that others did to make me feel good…both in my friendships and in my marriage.
But that’s not what brings happiness, and that’s not what defines a good marriage.
I think what really defines a good marriage is the factor of “I do”.
Because in all reality, most times in marriage, we behave in a way that sends the message of “you do”; “you do this…” and I’ll be happy, “you change that” and I’ll change after, “you apologize” and I’ll forgive, “you love me” and I’ll love you back. And so we create this cycle of unhappiness and bitterness, with hearts that become closed off and distanced. I’ve been there before…and I know how miserable it made me…and trust me…when we get into that place of shifting the responsibility off of ourselves until the other person changes…it doesn’t matter how much they change or what they do…it is never enough.
But real happiness in marriage begins with “I do”. Not just leaving it as a one-time sentiment at the altar of your wedding day, but bringing it into your every choice, every thought, every action. Making “I do” a lifestyle…realizing that it’s not what they do…it’s what I do…the potential for change begins with me.Real happiness in marriage begins with 'I do',not 'you do'. The potential for change starts with me Click To Tweet
“I do”… choose to let go of my way in exchange for honoring my spouse’s way;
“I do”… choose to forgive even before the apology has come;
“I do”… choose to show affection first or before I even feel it;
“I do”… choose to keep my heart open to my spouse;
“I do”… choose to believe the best about my spouse;
“I do” … continue to choose my spouse every single day and in every moment.
If I am unhappy about something in my marriage, I need to look at what I’m doing about it.
If I want to feel more respected, I need to show more respect;
If I want to feel valued, I need to demonstrate that I value my spouse;
If I want to be heard and understood, I need to start listening to understand;
If I want to experience greater intimacy, I need to begin displaying greater affection;
If I want to feel loved, I need to give love;
You see, it’s this thing of “I do” that changes us into better spouses. As I reflect back on how much both my husband and I have changed throughout these last 10 years; I can see that every change began with an “I do”. My husband was pretty great to begin with, but who he is today, and who I am today is not who we were 10 years ago. We’ve both grown and changed into better people as we’ve learned to lay down our “rights” and honor the other first…and in so doing have experienced that in putting down our own guard a ripple effect has taken place with the other, causing their guard to come down too. And it’s for that reason, that I’m thankful for the times in my marriage that have been less than blissful.
We still have much to learn, and grow in…and I’m forever learning that this thing of “I do” has much less to do with what he does and much more to do with what I do. But I think that as we continue to walk this journey of life together, being responsible for what “I do” and continuing to choose and believe the best in one another, I can say with confidence that there’s nothing that we can’t face and conquer as One.
So the next time you find yourself at a wedding and the gamut of emotions begins to well up inside as the happy couple utters their vows, or when you find yourself stuck in that place of frustration and “if only…than I would…”, let it be a reminder that every happy story begins with an “I do”…and that my friend, is well within your grasp.
Thank you to Angie Makes at angiemakes.com for the pretty Free Watercolor Flowers shown above! Be sure to check out her lovely site.