No, I don’t have any great words of wisdom to impart about having a successful marriage. I’m not one of “those” people. I don’t lie about encountering perfection. Go to the Aish or Chabad website for that. They have some great ideas. But not me.
You see, I didn’t get married at 20 to the boy next door. I got married at 34 to a guy I met online from a different country. That’s my reality.
So what can I tell you? I can tell you that eight-and-a-half years after I stood nervously under the chuppah I know what love means and I feel that I experience it regularly with my husband. Or, at least, I know what love means to me. You see, I don’t actually believe that love is the same for everyone or that even the same person experiences love the same way throughout their marriages. It changes. And you adapt it for yourself and your partner for it to work in your particular situation.
I used to hear things like: “don’t go to bed on an argument.” Well, I can tell you from my perspective that that’s exactly what we should do. It gives me time to calm down for a start. And that means I have less chance of totally insulting my partner with a viciousness that could cause major damage. I’ll be calmer and nicer in the morning. So in my case I should go to bed on an argument.
Telling a couple to: develop shared interests hasn’t been for us either. Because that just results in us resenting each other, judging each other and making the other feel bad for not enjoying what they enjoy. In our situation, it’s better to respect the other for what they like doing and give them the space to do it.
Another one is: love your spouse as they need to be loved. Again, I disagree. I’ve bemoaned my husband for not doing that but have learned over the years that it’s me who needs to change how I am the recipient of his love. He uses actions to love: now that I appreciate that instead of expecting the words, I’m happier and feel more loved.
Just a few of my ideas. As a Maiasaura I think at this point in my life I have one word of advice for married couples: acceptance. Learning to accept your partner as he or she is. Accept yourself and your limitations. Accept the relationship for what it is (NEVER compare to others for soooo many reasons). Accept that each marriage is an entity on its own. And accept that everyone loves differently, at different times, at different stages. And I think the only advice I got that ever made any real sense to me was this: it’s okay that your marriage is not perfect.
Just my tuppence worth.