Monday, August 8, 2011

Marriage advice from a Jello Mold

This past Friday my husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary.  We were blessed to have overnight childcare, so we took advantage of it and booked night at a Bed and Breakfast in Edmond, OK.  Before we checked in at the B&B we made an ultra nerdy move and watched the final Harry Potter movie in 3D IMAX, definitely the best and most expensive movie going experience of my life.  $45 for tickets and snacks, I mean seriously?!?!  For dinner we got a corner booth at Lottinvilles a few miles from our hotel and reflected on the past year over pork tenderloin with chutney and sourdough chicken fried steak.  

This past year has certainly run the gamut of peace and storm, of joy and pain.  We took turns sharing moments and memories as well as lessons learned.  I firmly believe that wisdom and truth is made to be shared like a good piece of cheesecake, and so here is a slice of what I have discovered in my small yet significant five years of marriage.  

1)  Be a Safe Haven not a critic-  I am a bit driven and my husband is more than a bit relaxed.  For the first four years of our marriage I considered it my personal job to motivate him and point out every lesson that could be learned around every corner.  When his plans failed, instead of being there to mend his wounds I was there in the fray, highlighting the failure.  One day I realized how harsh I was being, that life beats us up all the time, and what we both needed in our marriage was a place where it was safe to fail.  Failure is inevitable in life and when your home is a safe haven to heal, you can grow stronger together while at the same time still growing and learning from your mistakes.  The seeds of this lesson were planted from a chapter called "steak frites" in the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.    I recommend both of her books.  

2)  When times get tough don't be each other's enemies-  After my Mom died, Kel and I were both shocked, raw, and we lost our bearings.  Rather than healing side by side we took turns tearing each other down and keeping score of who was doing the worst job in our marriage.  We focused on what we weren't doing for each other and how we weren't measuring up.  We became each other's enemies instead of being an encouragement and support.  This is a tricky lesson to learn and carry out because the dark times in life have a tendency to strip you of the ability to serve each other.  If you are both completely empty, I have learned it is better to coexist in peace and draw strength from God and the support system surrounding your marriage until you have enough strength to support each other.  No marriage is an island and when both of you are knocked to the ground, heal in peace and allow yourselves to be carried until you have legs again.

3)  Have fun in the little things, life will always give you enough serious-  We will both admit that we took everything too seriously these past five years.  There wasn't enough laughter, dancing or inside jokes.  We are learning to be silly with each other, to laugh about what would seem downright dumb to anyone looking from the outside in.  This may seem trivial or easy, but it is so easily lost along the way of life.

4)  Don't run the extraordinary in search of the perfect- This was the best anniversary we have ever had, and the greatness of this day was not contained in the quality of the food or the fanciness of the bed and breakfast, but in the relaxed and casual air that flowed throughout the day.  Instead of expecting a perfect gift and a surprise around every corner, I just expected to have the rare gift of a whole day of one on one time with the guy I love.  We chatted about life and all of its ups and downs and we went garage sale-ing for our anniversary presents.  I finally got that jello mold I have been wanting all these years for $1 at a knights of columbus sale.  I'm bringing jello molds back like Justin Timberlake brought back sexy.  I think the used jello mold sums up the whole concept, It's not a five year diamond band but I think I love my Tupperware jello mold more than anything fancy or frivolous.  

and yes I also scored a tremendously vintage-cool deviled egg platter which will soon contribute to the plate mural I am creating for the dining room wall.  Oh and small food prep ramekins.  Because lets be honest, you can never have too many of those.... 

So these are my lessons, my victories.  I would love hear about yours as we quilt our lives together and savor the truth we find around the bend.  


Lisa Mikitarian said...

Cool finds, great observations!

Deanna said...

Speaking as one who recently celebrated 30 years of marriage, you're on the right track. In recent years the advice I've been giving newlyweds is to laugh and have fun together.

And we stayed at that B and B for my birthday years ago.

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