The two things that saved my marriage.
I've had this on my editorial calendar for weeks now. And day after day, week after week, I've pushed it back. "I'll publish this one tomorrow" or next week...or next month. I'm pretty vulnerable when it comes to showing my life for the world to see but this time, I'm taking it a step further. And to be honest, it's kind of a scary topic to write about.
I don't have to, of course, but I'm writing about my marriage because I believe it's important. I believe that there are so many couples out there who may be going through the same thing we went through and I truly believe that I can help.
Whether I provide answers, a cure or just a little hint of hope, I pray that by being vulnerable and letting it all out for the world to see, that I can help a marriage. I hope to be the spark that helps a marriage survive.
So here it goes...
My husband and I hit a rough patch right around the time when I was about half way through my pregnancy. And when I say rough patch, I mean a really rocky, super rocky, up-hill mountain climb that we never seemed to be able to reach the top of. The things we were struggling with don't really matter because we all have our struggles and struggles are struggles, no matter how big or how small.
Struggles make our marriages stronger or they tear us apart. And in our case, they were tearing us apart like crazy.
It got to the point where we just couldn't agree on anything -- We couldn't agree on anything at all. Did we actually disagree or did we just resent each other and disagree just to disagree? Probably a bit of both. Disagreements turned to arguments each and every day and for a while there, it was easier to just not to speak to each other. That was the "safe" way to live.
If we don't talk then we can't argue, right?
We weren't sure our marriage would survive and in fact, I was pretty certain it would be a done deal in no time. It was just a matter of time before we called it quits because the way we were living just wasn't how marriages should be. It's wasn't healthy, it wasn't happy and it surely wasn't fun. We tried going to a marriage counselor and I gave up on that and then we got to a point where a decision had to be made.
We just couldn't live this way.
I talked to a few friends about it and of course I got the same reaction from everyone. -- "Oh my goodness, I had no idea! You guys seem so happy from the outside looking in!" And that, right there, is one of the reasons I wanted to write this. Because I want you to know that you are not alone no matter how alone you feel. Marriage isn't easy and I can guarantee there are millions of couples (yes, millions) that are going through the same struggles that you are. It's just a little taboo to talk about so your best friend could be going through something similar and you may never know. We all just want to look happy from the outside.
But I want you to know that your marriage CAN survive.
There are two things I did that saved our marriage. Well, there are two things that were the catalyst for saving our marriage because let's be honest, there is no such thing as marriage magic. There is no magic potion for happiness.
1. I read a book.
A friend of mine recommend I read a book called "The Love Dare" and she hadn't even read it herself. If you've seen the movie Fireproof, it's based off of this book. Basically, it gave me a "dare" to do each day -- saying a prayer for my marriage, sending my husband an out-of-the blue text, and so many other things that were meant to bring our marriage closer. I'll be quite honest, I hate reading so I didn't even read the book (I know, I should have) but I did the dares each and every day and I kid you not, by about Day 3, I felt a HUGE difference. By day 5 or 6, I felt more in love with Frank than I had ever felt before. And that's the honest truth.
And the catch? He had no idea I was doing this and that's how it was meant to be. And unless he's reading this right now, he will never know.
No, this book will not bring magical happiness but it sure provided me with the tools to show me what a healthy marriage should look like day in and day out. And those tools helped our marriage begin to feel fun again.
But there's another catch because this book surely isn't magical...
2. You have to want it.
On day one of "The Love Dare" I made a promise to myself that I would give it one last try. I would throw everything into this marriage and give it 100% because if not, there was no point in trying. I needed to pour my heart and my soul into my marriage to prove to myself that I wanted to be in this marriage. It was all or it was nothing and I gave it my all. I wanted this for me, I wanted this for Ava, I wanted this for US.
So while "The Love Dare" surely guided me along the way and was a tremendous help in showing me how I should live my life in a selfless, loving, healthy marriage, I had to make that decision for myself. And I believe that no marriage can be a happy marriage unless both of you are truly, fully and honestly giving it your all. You must make the decision to be fully invested in each other or nothing is ever going to change. That craving for ultimate happiness is what it takes and is what it took for us to turn our marriage around.
There you have it --
Of course our marriage isn't suddenly perfect and it never will be. But after making the decision to give it my all, I have never been happier and I have never been more in love.