I’m mentioned before that I’m a blogging dinosaur. I really am. There are also other blogging dinosaurs out there. Many of whom I no longer read. There’s no drama there… I just lost interest in them, and made way for others. It’s been years since I’ve checked on them. So a bopped to a few yesterday just to see what’s new for them.
4 out of 5 were divorced.
When I was reading them, I kind of looked up to all of them as examples of “How to Have a Good Marriage.” Just goes to show you that the only people who really know what’s going on in a marriage are the two people in it. As I took my shower for the day I was contemplating them, and I felt sad. I don’t care how “amicable” it is, it must be so hard. There must be a grief process for what you had. And my thoughts moved on to, “What the hell are we doing right?”
It’s been 14 years. We’ve weathered a lot of rough stuff. But here are just a few things that I think we do right, and might help our longevity.
I can’t stand confrontation. Poe doesn’t really mind confrontation, however, if there’s a problem of any sort, he tends to chew on it a LONG time before he’s willing to speak of it. So, we actually tend to confront things right away so that there isn’t any stewing for either of us. It goes against our natures, but if we don’t confront something right away, I don’t have peace in my own house, and that isn’t something I’m willing to live with. So we tend to hash things out right then and there. While the actual thing might not be resolved, the act of hashing things out clears the air and we’re able to think more clearly about whatever it might be.
Further to that, there was only one time that I considered divorce. It was an awful time. It got that far because Poe was unwilling to confront the issue. For a couple of years. I finally gave him an ultimatum. Fix this or I’m out of here. That seemed to get through to him, and he finally confronted the issue. The issue is still there. But we confront it together, and speak openly about it. THAT I can live with. THAT is just life. Pretending it didn’t exist is what I couldn’t handle.
We put our marriage in front of the children in the hierarchy of our family. That may go against the grain for a lot of folks. But we chose to be together in this life. The children were born into it. And while they’ll always be our children, they will eventually leave the nest to have their own lives, and we’ll still be together. If we make life about the kids – what will we have when they go? Further to that we feel that if we’re not a strong unit, we can’t be strong parents.
When parenting, we strive to be a one-unit team. If a parent is alone and makes a decision, the other will back it up, even if they don’t agree. We try to make (or at least discuss) all decisions together, but with our crazy schedules, that’s just not something that’s practical.
We don’t sweat the small stuff – and sometimes that’s hard. As a small example. The toilet paper is over not under. I couldn’t care less! I really couldn’t! But Poe insists that toilet paper should be over, and therefore that’s what we do. We allow the person who cares “more” to make the decision.
When we’re mad, angry, sad, anxious, annoyed… We strive to language it in a way that doesn’t cause damage. We don’t make personal attacks. We both had parents who’s fights we remember. We’re nearing 40. It had that much of an effect on us. So, yes. We vent. We get mad. We hash it out. But we always try to use our words effectively, but respectfully.
We fight in front of the kids. Unless it’s an issue that we feel is child-inappropriate, or one we feel might make them insecure in the household. A scared/anxious discussion over how we’re going to get money for groceries to feed the kids that week, for example, is not a discussion we’d have in front of them. But a discussion on “we’re low on funds this week, no excess spending” would be fine. But we want them to see us get mad, hash it out, and come to a compromise or solution as an example. Real people fight. It’s possible to not hurl insults and names while doing so. It’s possible to come to a conclusion – it might not be what everyone wants – but a conclusion where everyone still loves each other at the end.
We’re affectionate in front of the kids. Not grossly – although the kids might not agree. But we touch, hold hands, kiss, hug etc. in front of them.
We have our own jurisdictions over the house, and we don’t butt in unless asked for input. For example – I’m the laundry person. Poe’s the trash person. We do our own jobs and don’t butt in unless it’s necessary due to illness etc.
We have our own space. So, while I may dust in the office, and clean out and organize everything – I won’t touch Poe’s desk. If he wants it clean he’ll do it himself. Why? No, he’s not some weird “don’t touch my stuff!” person. But when I’ve done it in the past and I’ve put something away (shock!), he gets disgruntled. After I’ve cleaned, and it gets all cluttered and dirty again because he completely ignored my organization, I get mad. So. I leave alone his closet, dresser, night stand, and desk. I might dust when I’m in that room – but around all his junk. When he gets annoyed enough, he’ll clean it out himself. That works better. Another example. He wants his laundry done a certain way. But I’m doing the laundry, not him, and I’m going to do it my way. Once, he uttered the words, “But my mom…” I stopped him right there and bluntly said, “when you do the laundry, you can do it however you’d like. Butt out. If you want it done that way, do it yourself. Want the job?” He shut up. So we’ve learned to butt out of each others jurisdictions.
It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? But that’s all I can come up with in looking back and seeing what works for us.