I’m really excited about this post, namely because this is the first collaborative post with Jo and I. I also think that this post really reflects the nature of our relationship. I laid out some guidelines for what I thought this post should be, and Jo and I interpreted it in two very different ways. This is typical of our relationship. The product is a post that is partially about transferrable lessons that I’ve learned from marriage and partially, Jo’s top five, very personally takeaways from our marriage.
Today we celebrate ten years of marriage! Holy cow! This is definitely a milestone year and I’m really excited to see what this next decade brings us! We’ve lived in three different states, six homes, and we are planning to make another big move later this year! We got married at a very young age (Jo was 24 and I was 20), and as a result, there are many things that we learned about ourselves and marriage in general. To celebrate the ten years of adventure that we’ve had, both of us outlined the 5 takeaways that we’ve learned over the years.
My 5 Takeaways
This is perhaps the biggest takeaway that I’ve had. The twenty-year-old that I was ten years ago had very different values, morals, and priorities than I do now. This is inevitably a logical result of new experiences and time. It’s rather funny that the people who have known me longest used to describe me as being a “hippie,” whereas now, most people say that I am very conservative. This is also true of Jo. He is not the same as ten years ago and I truly feel that as he evolves, my love grows stronger.
Learn How to Disagree with you Heart Leading
I really feel like this subtitle sums it all up. In all transparency, I did not grow up with healthy examples of adults disagreeing in a way that wasn’t hurtful. Throughout our ten years of marriage, we have certainly had our fair share of disagreements. As bizarre as it sounds, I really do love how we disagree. Regardless of our disagreements, I can say with confidence that the end goal is for us to see eye-to-eye again. We’re both very logical people and while feelings definitely have a place in our disagreements – they don’t dominate our disagreements.
Seek Help When You Need It
As much as I love my family and friends, they don’t always have the right answers for issues that arise in my marriage. That may be a hard pill to swallow for some of them, but it’s the truth. A few times we’ve had to seek out a marriage counselor to help us over a few hurdles. I can only speak from my own experiences, but it really boggles me when people chose not to seek professional help when they need it. I’m sure that there are reasons for it, but I find it comforting to know that there are many professionals whose sole role is to repair and strengthen couples.
Don’t Become Co-Workers
What I mean by that is that it is very easy to fall into a routine of talking only about things related to bills and the home. Add kids to the mix, and they can easily dominate all conversations. It has taken me some time to remember that Jo and I aren’t co-workers or just co-parents. We are lovers and friends. As crazy as it sounds, after ten years of marriage it can be challenging to remember to remain emotionally connected. We are making some major life shifts in the coming months to make sure that we can prioritize this connection.
Pick Your Battles
I love my friends. We talk all the time about our marriages and the crazy antics that come along with it. It’s interesting to see what kind of disagreements occur in their marriages. One of my friends has been married for less than two years and the majority of the disagreements in her marriage stem from small household preferences. For example – She and her husband often argue over who is responsible for washing and putting clothes away. It’s interesting to see that ten-years in, the details surrounding the home are not make-or-break situations anymore.
At one point I would become frustrated when things weren’t exactly how I like them, but it seems really minuscule at this point and not worth an argument. We don’t always see eye-to-eye on small things. I’ve often had to say to myself “Jo is not the type of person who does X, and that’s okay.” If it’s a small thing that isn’t going to ruin our marriage, I generally leave it alone.
Jo’s 5 Takeaways
We’ve Grown Together
We were both legal adults when we married, but we also still lived with our parents, only one of us finished college, and neither of us had ever held a full-time job. We’ve lived in three different states, had six different homes, you’ve surpassed me in academics by earning your masters, and we’ve both got blossoming careers. For two people who didn’t have much going on, I think we’ve done alright and part of that success comes from being together. We’re also not the worse parents ever.
Find Friends Where You Can
Our co-workers are our friends. Marriage is hella time-consuming. I had no idea. Couple marriage with full-time work, which is more or less as time-consuming, and there’s not much room left over for people outside of those two arrangements. Friends? What friends? We have few friends…except our co-workers. We don’t go to church or do single people stuff, so opportunities for meeting other adults are slim to none. Enter co-workers. It’s like when we were little: our friends are a combination of our cousins and classmates, only now school is replaced with the workplace. When we lived in Hawaii we had the biggest overlap in friends outside of New Orleans. We introduced each other to a lot of cool people we still know today.
We’re better off playing to our strengths
There are things that would never get done, or that I would never think to do without you. And this ties into us growing together. I think there’s something to profoundly unique about having shared so much of our lives with each other that influenced who we are in ways we may not have been apart.
Date night doesn’t have to be elaborate
We just have to find something we both want to do and then do it together. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class on a Thursday night? You would never. Apple picking? I’m gonna take a hard pass. But we can both get behind live music and booze!
We like different things, especially musically
We always have. I knew it the first time you voluntarily played Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl’. I ignored your flagrant red flag the Christmas Eve we first met, at Le Bon Temps when you said “Britney’s alright”. The stars were aligned thrice upon a time at the Parish with Saul Williams. And there were fleeting moments thereafter: with Earl Greyhound at the Bowery, prior to their indefinite hiatus; with the Allman Brothers at the fairgrounds, prior to Greg Allman’s passing; with Mos Def and Erykah Badu at the Sugar Mill. The band that never was became the band that never would be the day you sold your cello.
Today, our audio commonalities are mostly limited to the Moana and Frozen soundtracks. (I get tingles down my spine when that obvious theatre kid belts “UNKNOOOOOOOWWWOOOOON!”) I just can’t with the bossa nova. But that’s okay. It’s okay because we came together for one reason and stayed together for another. Bands break up and ours likely would have sucked. Instead, we got ten years of marriage and an offspring no one will ever question is mine, and I’m fairly certain that’s the better deal. Also, you’ve been replaced in the band by our in-house multi-instrumentalist, Cam Bam Bupiter!
So basically …
That’s us in a nutshell. We’re radically different, but we are so aligned in wanting to make each other happy. Ten years of marriage has taught us to be patient and keep the main thing the main thing (the main thing being love). We both realize that marriage is not always a walk-in-the-park, but sometimes it is. We’ve remained open to adventure and change. I’m really excited to experience the next several decades with this cool guy.
I love you, Jo!