Today is my husband and my 4 year anniversary. I feel like we've been married much longer than that. We got married just a few weeks before our 1 year anniversary and so its been nearly a total of 5 years. Thats a long time. Its longer than any other relationship either of us has ever had. In those 5 years, we had 3 kids, 9 dogs (our two boxers had 6 puppies which we gave away and later replaced with a bulldog), we moved 5 times and have experienced much much more. Thats a lot to cram into three years, not counting all the extended family issues we've had, the illnesses of one of our kids, the vacations, the fighting and the loving.
I've learned a lot in these 4 years and I'm going to share a little bit of what I've learned.
1) People change. Just because you marry some one doesn't mean that they wont change over time. I think about all the changing I did just in the four years of high school. And then all the extra changing I did in the four years after high school. I'm not that same person. Not even close. Life and time change you and it changes others. My husband is not the same man I married. I am not the same woman he married. I am not at all complaining though. I adored the man I married but I love my husband today so much more. When we had our first child, he didn't know how to handle the baby and so he threw himself into work. Then, our second child got very very sick just after he was born and I think it helped my husband realize how precious life is. Now, with our third child, HE'S the one that calms the baby down when she's fussy. He's a different father. When we first got married, he was still in bachelor mode. He still liked going out and not having any one to answer to. Now, he likes to spend his time at home with his family. There's a whole lot more thats changed about him. As with me. I know that as life goes on, we will continue to change. Its just a matter of realizing that and going with the flow. Just because he isn't the same man I married 4 years ago doesn't mean that I'm going to leave him. I have to learn to grow and change with him. And to appreciate those changes.
2) The woman has more power in the family than I first realized. I grew up in a house where the man was the head of the family. Its still that way and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I feel that thats how it should be. However, in a strong family, the man doesn't make many decisions with out consulting the wife. I didn't see it when I was younger but my dad consults my mom on just about everything. And thats how it is in my house now. My husband asks my opinion on almost everything. And whether he realizes it or not, I have serious influence on mapping out his direction. I have found that my attitude alone, no matter what I say, will effect the choices he makes. Many times, I'll give a negative attitude but a positive verbal answer and he changes his mind. Now, sometimes, he asks me questions when I'm PMSing and I give an attitude and he second guesses himself to make the decision that I didn't want him to make. Gotta love hormones and communication. But manipulation is one of the wife's most powerful tools. Yet, like any powerful tool, if used wrong or with wrong intentions, can be very dangerous.
3) Men, no matter how old they get, are still driven by the same hormones they had when they were 15. My husband is 31. There is still one thing on his mind more often than not. That is one thing about him that will never change. Thats why we have 3 kids in 4 years. (ps, as terrible as it sounds, sex is a great asset when wielding your manipulation. men are suckers.)
4) The wife has to work to keep her man's attention. I am not blaming cheating on the person who got cheated on. Seriously. When some one in a relationship has an affair, it is their fault. It is wrong and deceitful. However, I personally feel that if I am going to keep my husband's eyes on me, I have to make what he's looking at worthwhile. I have learned in these last 4 years that if I don't want my husband working late hours or checking out other women while we're out, I need to make sure that he looks forward to coming home or enjoys looking at me. This may sound so old fashioned but I do my best to look good, have a clean house and dinner on the table when he comes home from work. If I were to greet him with a frown or an attitude or in the pj's that I've been wearing for the last 3 weeks, what would he have to look forward to? I try to make sure the house is picked up, there's a smile on my face no matter how tired I am, that dinner is at least almost finished, that the kids are happy and that my "face is on" (makeup and presentable clothing). You know what? It works. He's not trying to go out for drinks with the guys after work or faking office work to go do something else instead of coming home. When we go out for dates, I make sure that I look hot. When we're out together, I want him to be proud of the woman thats on his arm. I know this may sound ridiculous but if you have to get up 30 minutes earlier to make sure you can do your hair and makeup, then so be it. Its a small sacrifice to pay in order to keep your marriage healthy.
5) Its important to stay best friends. Its so easy to get wrapped up in diapers and bath time and school projects and the busy work of every day life and forget about spending real time together. My husband and I try to do things together like cook dinner or go for walks or watch movies and tv shows together. We try to go on dates when we can. We're very different people with incredibly opposite tastes but if we search for even the slightest thing we have in common, we make a huge deal about it. Its healthy to do things with your spouse. We like to work outside in the yard together. We like to drink tea together. We like to go to art museums and furniture stores together. We like tattoos and outdoor shopping. We put emphasis on those things so we can enjoy them together.
6) Alone time is important too. If I am on his heels all the time or visa versa, we'll drive each other crazy. I get my weekly bubble bath with a book and he gets his regular PS3 time. Some times he watches the kids while I go to the grocery store or I give him time to go for a drive. Its good and healthy to spend time apart every once in a while.
There's a ton more that I've learned but I don't have the time right now to keep writing. I have a munchkin trying to type for me. Maybe I will post more later.
Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband. I am looking forward to spending many more years with you!