two years ago, I was at my parent's house watching my mom whirl around in a cleaning frenzy, answering phone calls from friends and family and florist, firming up final details. Around 4:30, I slid on my green slip dress, tugged my blue shrug over my shoulders, and headed to the church for the rehearsal on the eve of our wedding.
I still can't believe it has been two years.
This morning as Mr. B&B and I stepped out on the porch he sighed and said, "Two years ago today I was playing golf with my dad..." Then he slipped his arm around my waist and we kind of stood there for a minute, quiet, taking in the warming spring day, being in the moment.
Then off to work he went. We do, after all, have bills to pay and not everyone accepts love as payment. <3
After two years, I wonder:
Am I living up to his expectations as a person? as a wife?
How have I changed in the past two years? For the good? For the worse?
I think often spouses forget to ask each other these deep down questions, voice these deep down worries. I think maybe our marriages would be better if we did.
One of the things about marriage people forget to tell you?
A good marriage is hard work.
Recently I spoke with two dear friends living on opposite sides of the marriage spectrum. "Friend A" is facing struggles. "Friend B" is working to proactively prevent struggles. I love them both dearly. They are both amazing women. They both have husbands who have never been anything but nice to me. Both had beautiful, joyous weddings. Friend A has been married two and a half years. Friend B, near double that. Both friends are the same age.
I talked to A a couple of weeks ago. I asked her how she and her husband were doing. "We're a mess!", she exclaimed. In her words they are "living separate lives under the same roof" in spite of her ongoing efforts to improve the situation which she recognizes she can not do without his cooperation. Eventually, I point blanked asked her, "Do you think you are getting to a point where you will give up on the marriage?" She surprised me with her answer, "I did not get married to see what it was like or try it out for a little while. I got married because I want to spend my life with him and there are ups and downs and I am not giving up on him or on us." She said it with such conviction and I was stunned and proud of her.
Since it seems their biggest struggle is with communication and spending time with each other, I suggested something Friend B had just told me about.
B and her husband recently went to a marriage retreat. I asked if they were having challenges. B said they are doing just fine, but it never hurts to do things that are geared toward strengthening your marriage. They saw the retreat as an opportunity to really connect with each other while learning from some long married marriage masters. After the retreat, B told me about this wonderful, fairly simple, free-if-you-want-it-to-be exercise for improving their marriage.
eight different colors of construction paper
2 pairs of scissors
receptacle for construction paper strips (ex. butter tub, sock, hat, candy dish...)
1. Each person picks four pieces of paper. 1 color for spring, 1 for summer, 1 for fall, 1 for winter.
2. Separate from each other, write down activities that you would like to do with your spouse for fun during each season and write on appropriately colored paper. Anything from "a walk around the block holding hands" to "wander around the art museum".
3. Keep the things you have written down secret from your spouse.
4. roll up strips of paper word side in and put in receptacle
5. once a week, pull a strip out of the receptacle and do whatever the strip of paper says is the activity for you to do together that day. If it is her turn this week, it is his turn next week and you keep alternating.
Result: You will spend some amount of time together each week and will probably talk with each other more which makes for a better partnership.
Wow, that was harder to describe than I thought and I am still not sure if I am describing it correctly.
This weekend, Mr. B&B and I decided to pick two different colors of paper.
I wrote down ten things I would like to do with him.
He wrote down ten things he would like to do with me.
If we make it 20 weeks, we will fill out more strips and keep going.
I am so excited for the surprise fun that is in store for us!!!!!
It seems the key is communication.
As we, The B&B's, head into our second year of marriage, do you have any advice for us?
P.S. The fun post comes tomorrow with wedding pics galore :-)