Well 16 years of marriage looks like this: We got up yesterday morning and gave each other a good morning kiss, wished each other a happy anniversary, had some coffee and then loaded up our trailer full of farm trash and headed to the dump.
Have you ever been to dump? Don’t laugh at me but I have never been to a real live operating dump. Did you know that archeologists look for the city dump first and foremost when they discover a new dig site? They say it is because you can tell so much about a culture based on their trash. This also means that since the dawn of time we as humans knew that you had to have a separate place to put your trash. Do you know why? Because trash is gross. I have a whole new respect for our trash disposal system. I also understand why trash “strikes” are so debilitating for city’s. I’m like, “Dudes of the city counsel, pay them whatever they want because they have the power to set us into a dirty anarchy.”
On my anniversary every year I always reflect on where we have come from and I am always so thankful that we made it another year and we didn’t give up. We almost did give up and only because Jesus got a hold of our hearts, are we still married. As we drove to the dump it occurred to me that marriage maintenance is like a trip to the dump. There is a-lot of messy stinky garbage that we bring into our marriages and if you don’t take it to the dump it stays in your house and festers and stinks everything up until you can’t stand the smell anymore and you want out.
I will say this, someone who has been married 16 years has no business giving marriage advice to anyone because 16 years still falls under that, “we are still working out the right way to put the toilet paper on the holder, which way is the right way to load the dishwasher, and who is going to get the mail everyday.” Also I make a point to never make declarations of “Here is how to make a marriage work” because that crap will come back and bite you in the butt faster than anything else! Me saying “To make a marriage work you have to respect your husband,” equals me coming home to find my husband cutting hole in the drywall with his Dremel Tool to test my resolve to respect him. No thanks. But I did have some thoughts about stuff I had to take the dump so they would not stink up my marriage.
- Take your expectations to the dump: I expect him to treat me like a Disney prince treats a Disney princess. I expect him to know that he hurt my feelings by not knowing I expect him to be home for dinner at 6. I expect him to to know the exact right thing to say every single time I ask him a question. Expectations are the root of most of my disappointment. Assumptions and expectations are not what a good marriage is built on. Communication is what good marriages needs. If I have the thought, “How do you not know that I wanted you to do that?” I know I have an expectation that needs to go to the dump.
- Take talking bad about your husband to other women to the dump: This is the breeding ground for critical and disrespectful feelings toward your husband. Don’t join in when women start ripping their husbands apart. Don’t say “I just have to vent.” Take that crap to the dump. Those words will sit with you and fester and you will start to notice all the things that drive you nuts about your man. If you need help, or to talk through something do it with a woman who will point you toward Jesus, not man hating.
- Don’t even think about divorce, take that word to the dump: I let this word creep in a few years ago and guess what happened? I finally got so mad a Jesse that I kicked him out. Thankfully God restored our marriage and we got back together. That word will create a space in your mind that is an escape hatch. Marriage is no joke and hard work but it is worth it to the end, don’t hit eject. Get that word out of your house. I thank God everyday for the fact that I didn’t follow through with my divorce. I would have missed this amazing guy that I am married to now. God can fix it, I promised.
- Giving only “whats left” to your husband? Take that to the dump: You know what was crazy in my marriage? When I started putting Jesse before the kids, friends and hobbies I found out I actually really liked him. When I didn’t have time for him he became a guy who lived in my room with me and didn’t put the toilet paper on the holder the right way. When I started working on making sure he knew I preferred him to everything else he showed up for our relationship. When he knew I really needed him he started to care about what was going on with finances, house stuff, kid stuff. When I put the kids back in their rightful place below him, they started to respect him too. It’s a beautiful thing. He should get my best, not my left overs. Remember, kids will leave, husbands are for life.
It is really so worth all the hard work. I am so much more in love with Jesse today than I was the first day of our honeymoon. I think on July 21 st, 16 years ago I was mad at him because all he wanted to do was sleep in. I was like “who sleeps in? You have to break into the day and grab ahold life it’s already 5:30 am!” Well guess who was sleeping in on this July 21st, that’s right Jesse. It turns out people do sleep in. Being married to a morning person was one of those expectations that had to go to the dump.
All joking aside though, Happy Anniversary Jes. I’m so glad we are still together. I love our life and our marriage. You are my perfect guy. I’m proud of you and proud to be your wife. You are exactly the right person for me. I thank God for you.