What I Wish I Knew About Marriage Before I Got Married

Marriage

Nothing like a little controversy to get people talking!

A couple of authors/bloggers I follow have really pushed some buttons lately in regards to their opinions on marriage. Candece Cameron Bure (former Full House actress) has shaken things up with her recent book, Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose, where she talks about her “submissive” role as a wife (okay, just calm down and keep reading). She explains her use of the word “submissive” by saying, “My husband is a natural born leader. I quickly learned that I had to find a way of honoring his take-charge personality and not get frustrated about his desire to have the final decision on just about everything. I am not a passive person, but I chose to fall into a more submissive role in our relationship because I wanted to do everything in my power to make my marriage and family work.” In addition, Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the blog Momastery, created a stir when she posted about the realities of marriage in her post 5 Ways to Secure Your Happyish Ever After.

While I haven’t read Candece’s new book, I do follow her blog and respect her views on marriage, religion and parenting – just as I do Glennon’s. After reading about both controversies, what I realized is that people aren’t reacting to the author’s themselves, they’re reacting to their brutal honesty about marriage.

As young girls and women, we grow up with this romantic view of what marriage is supposed to look like – candles, flowers, white dress, big wedding and so on. What we neglect to think about (or even talk about) is what marriage looks like after two, five and ten years of marriage. What happens when that initial passion and lust and the excitement of “getting married” goes away? When you wake up one day and look at your husband and think, “Now what?” That’s when the marriage really starts. That’s when we begin to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. And, that’s when we realize no matter what, if we want the marriage to last, it’s going to require A LOT of work and negotiation on both parts.

Tyler and I just celebrated nine years of marriage and let me tell you – it’s been a LONG nine years. I don’t say that in a bad way; I say that in a honest, matter-of-the-fact way. Right now, we’re at a really good place, but I know without a doubt that there will be more challenges down the road. However, along the way we’ve learned what works for us – and I think that’s key in any marriage. What works for you? And, how can you practice those things each and every day of your marriage? So what if Candece describes herself as a “submissive” wife? Her and her husband have been married for 17 years – obviously, something is working. In their marriage, she has found that allowing her husband to take the lead on certain issues and decisions works for them. Great! More power to them!

And, Glennon talks about the realities of navigating sex in marriage and going to therapy. Yes, it’s true, sex is a HUGE issue in most marriages. I learned a long time ago that even if you don’t feel like doing it, just get off your ass and DO IT! There will ALWAYS be an excuse not to have sex, but really, how hard is it?! No, it’s not always going to be soft music and candlelight (most often it’s not), but a little quickie here and there will do wonders for your marriage – trust me!

Marriage. It’s hard stuff. In my opinion, most people give up before figuring out what really works for them. Like my mother-in-law says, there will be many deserts throughout a marriage. But, I like to believe that throughout the deserts, there will also be deep wells of water where we will always be able to replenish ourselves.

As Glennon says, “Marriage starts over again every.single.day.”

Amen to that!

Going Through Life Naked

Speaking Out

I figured that title would get your attention!

The idea of living life naked, being honest, transparent and real, has been on my mind a lot lately. And, then today, a neighbor dropped off a magazine with an article written by Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the blog Momastary and the new book, Carry On, Warrior. I’m sure many of you are familiar with Glennon’s blog and her story of being a recovering alcohol, drug and food addict. She’s an amazing woman with an equally amazing story.

In the article, she talks about starting her blog and writing honestly about her experiences, holding little back. Not long after, her dad called her and expressed some concern with all she was sharing and asked perhaps if some things were better “taken to the grave.” After thinking about it, she responded, “No, I don’t. I don’t want to take anything to the grave. I want to die used up and emptied out.”

When I read her response, it’s as if she put all the thoughts and feelings I have been having and put them into the most perfect words. After spending so many years living with a smile on my face while I was crying inside, I no longer want or feel the need to pretend; to portray myself as something I’m not. For me, getting sober has allowed me the freedom to take the armor off and expose myself for who I am – inside and out.

I realize that everyone deals with life differently. For those of us in recovery, some choose to share their experience while others don’t. And, that’s okay. But, for me there is no other way than to be completely open with who I am. I’m sure some of my friends and family wish I would just shut up and get on with my life, but that’s not me – my story doesn’t end here.

I share my story, my struggle, my day-to-day life because I need to. I do it because writing and sharing my story is one of the many ways I stay sober. And, maybe, just maybe, my story will help someone else – someone who is trudging through life just like me. Our stories are what connect us to each other, what gives us strength when we feel weak and alone.

The truth is, we never know what’s going on behind closed doors. We never know what’s really hiding behind someone’s smile. What would happen if we all started being a little less image-conscious and just started being honest? I imagine we might find we have a lot more in common with each other than we think we do.

I remember how surprised some people were when they found out I was an alcoholic. Well, of course they were. I did a damn good job of hiding it, of portraying the image that I was okay, that I had it all together. But, in reality, I didn’t. I was miserable and empty, yearning for something to fill the hole I felt inside.

I don’t live like that anymore. Today, I choose truth and transparency. I choose to live my life naked, exposing myself to vulnerability and disappointment. But, in the process, I also expose myself to the joy of truly connecting to others, which is a wonderful and marvelous experience.

TheBetterMom.com