Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Benefits of Marriage with Jonathan

     When you ask couples how long they've been married, their response doesn't always mean exactly that. Sometimes a man will interpret that as "How long have you been tied down to that particular woman?" which would mean actually longer than their actual marriage. Sometimes couples respond to the first time they met, because they never actually got married officially, but they've been together ever since. Some have been married, divorced, married, and divorced again to the same person and at this point are together, so they count the entire time.
     Jonathan and I have been married officially for 13 years yesterday. We met for the first time in 1998. When Jonathan saw me it was as if he were struck by lightning, because he did some crazy things to pursue me, but that's another story. We got married four years later. What can I say about this event in my life? I could be cheesy and cliche, but I prefer to express myself in a more concrete manner.
     Since I've been married to Jonathan:
  • My priorities have changed. When I was single, I would wake up in the morning thinking, "What am I going to do today?" Now, I think, "What do I need to do for my husband and kids today?" Not that I never think about myself. I do, but the order of my priorities is now the opposite from when I was single.
  • My weaknesses and faults are so much more apparent. Because Jonathan is so mild, patient, and slow (to react and respond) my natural qualities stand out, and it's not always beautiful. I'm quick to react, flamboyant to the point of embarrassing my kids, and ever so explosive when angry. His presence is a "checker" for me. I try to control myself because he's in my life and I know if I went too far he'd be disappointed even though he never says anything.
  • I've learned that we don't feel love in the same way, and that's okay. What's important is that he feels my love in the way he prefers it and that he has the desire to do the same for me. That's why he stopped buying me flowers after we got married, cuz I don't care about them. I prefer he show his love for me in other ways.
  • I've found pleasure and success in being a support for my husband. At first, I thought it was what a wife was supposed to do, so I did it. After observing many marriages and partnerships over the years, I've found that marriage doesn't have to be this way. There are many forms of partnership that can work. Jonathan and I have considered two main factors when choosing our roles: survival and individual gifts. To survive, there must be someone to bring home the bread and someone to care for the offspring. (This is case specific because we have kids. Not everyone does.) I cared for the offspring initially because that was what was done in my environment and culture. Then I realized I enjoyed it and was inherently better at it than Jonathan. So, I continued doing it. Jonathan brings home the bread, not because he enjoys it but because someone has to. Giftwise, Jonathan's smart and he has been endowed with the determination of a bulldozer with an infinite supply of fuel. Me, I like kids and people and am pretty dependable. I can't really say "My word is my bond" but I'm pretty close. Jonathan and I want the same things, which is something we knew before we even got married. To accomplish these goals I have an almost stellar record as "#1 supportive wife" although I must admit that I grumble sometimes about how Jonathan has had all this time to get smart and here I am still dumb as dumb can be. Not good. I'm still trying.
  • I have become dependent on someone else. When I was young I wanted to be free, unshackled, and join the Peace Corps . . . alone. I never wanted to do these things with a friend or to meet others. I wanted to be like the Bruce Wayne character in the Dark Knight who left the comforts of his luxurious life and went out into the real world and suffered and gained knowledge through experience. I did my share of exploring the world before I got married. Then when I did, it was difficult to always be with someone, at first. Jonathan is very affectionate, so affectionate that I would snap at him for hovering too much. Over the years though he's grown on me and I can't live without him now. After two days I miss his presence, I miss having him to talk to, I miss his help, and I miss feeling him living alongside me even if we're not in the same room. If I suddenly reverted back to singlehood in an instant, I know I would suffer from loneliness and long for companionship.
 These five changes that have occurred in my life because of my choice to get married could be seen as disadvantages to some. Look at them in summary:
  1. I'm not number one any more.
  2. I've got faults.
  3. He wants sex, I want essays. 
  4. I support him and his dreams.
  5. I don't like to be alone anymore.
     Well, folks, if you want an easy life, don't get married! But, I can guarantee you that because of these five things, the following will ensue:
  1. An unselfish lifestyle
  2. Humility
  3. A compromising attitude
  4. Self-sacrifice
  5. Dependence
     OK, the first four are awesome! But help me out! How can dependence on someone be a good thing? The only thing I can think of is a princess waiting for the prince to come and rescue her when she's in trouble, or Jerry McGuire wanting to celebrate with his wife after a good game. . . . . OK, I thought of something. Is it really a bad thing to have someone to depend on? Isn't it great when you know you've got another human in the world who could be there for you no matter what? In this case, being dependent on someone is great! It's like having a million dollars, but better because you can't really buy people's love or affection with money. It's priceless!
     I know what many of you are thinking though. What about the times when that dependable someone doesn't show up? In these cases, being dependent sucks. You're left high and dry. The only benefit of these times is learning that it feels shitty and you should never do it to someone else (excuse my language, but it fit so well). So, folks, be dependable to the ones who depend on you!
    Now, I'll be cheesy for a bit. I love my hubs. I'm glad he had his sights set on me cuz I was in the clouds and didn't know what I wanted, exactly like a clueless deer wandering through the forest. Bang! He chose me and I'm soooooooo grateful. I don't believe in one single soulmate in the world, but the time I've spent with Jonathan has made us tight! Super tight! I hope we can grow old together because we've made so many memories and accomplished so much together. I'd sacrifice anything for him. I've been free to sing at the top of my lungs and pop chocolates in my mouth, climb high mountains and raft icy rivers because he supports me in my wild and crazy dreams. I just love 'im!
May we be nimble and spry enough to enjoy 13 more years together at at least half the speed we've enjoyed the first!


Kevin said...

Great post! Please write more. I get the feeling there is a lot more good stuff like this to come out of you. ;)

Nancy said...

Beautifully said! Happy anniversary :)