Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Marriage is a Lifetime - Lesson 1

I thought I would start a small series about what makes Mr. and my marriage work for us and maybe hopefully shed some light onto others about what we've learned in the 8 years we've been married. I'm not sure how long it will go for, but here's the first installment -these are in no particular order of importance, just what I felt like writing about on that day.
The motto of the whole Engaged Encounter weekend

 Mr. and I have been together for 9.5 years and married for 8 (okay in 5 days it will be 8 years), wow, where does the time go? I swear we were just two kids meeting and falling in love and telling my parents we were getting married after being together for only 11 months.

Some people say that the first couple of years of their marriage were the hardest years of their marriage, and while it is quite an adjustment, I can't say that we had it very hard those first couple of years. I think between him living in Huntington Beach and me in Los Angeles, and going back and forth, and me working in Woodland Hills, it was a lot of driving back and forth and LOTS of miles put on our cars. It definitely wasn't a relationship out of convenience. After we got married, living together was just easy, we got to see each other everyday and there was no more driving between apartments*.

In order to get married in the Catholic church one of the requirements is to go on engaged encounter . Even though we had talked about EVERYTHING under the sun, we went into the weekend retreat with open minds and hearts and ready to learn even more about the person we were about to become life long partners with. (side note: I know many people who went with a closed mind, just to check something off the list, only to have a horrible time and feeling annoyed with the whole situation. I actually feel bad for them, that they didn't try and get the most out of the weekend and really take the time to grow as a couple).  In the end, we learned some important lessons that weekend and to this day still implement everything in our marriage on a daily basis. (It didn't hurt that our engaged encounter was in Malibu overlooking the ocean, writing in our journals each session, looking at the beautiful crystal clear blue water made everyone want to open up and be honest.)

Lesson 1: Learn how to fight fairly. We rarely fight, and when we do we rarely raise our voices and start a screaming match. This mostly has to do with our personalities, we are both pretty laid back and that's just not how we do things with anyone (especially me, I hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs).

The correct way to fight (I know there are rules):
  • Fight Fair - Never bring up past fights or arguments. That is not fighting fair. If you have already forgiven your partner for whatever it was you fought about in the past, it's done and over with, for you to bring it up means that you really didn't forgive them in the first place.
  • Don't say "I'm Sorry" - Now and days I'm sorry is just thrown around like it means nothing. You accidentally bump into someone, you say I'm sorry.  You get in a fight with your partner and you say I'm sorry, you just said sorry to that person you don't even know. This can't be the same sorry to the person you love and pledged to live the rest of your life with.
  • Ask for Forgiveness - Instead of saying "I'm sorry", say "husband, will you forgive me for (then state the reason you are asking for forgiveness). By doing this you are acknowledging their feelings and that you understand how they felt and how you made them feel in the process. It takes a lot of courage to ask for someone's forgiveness, since they have to reply with a yes I will forgive you, or no I don't forgive. It makes you vulnerable to them, instead of spouting out I'm sorry not really meaning it only to bring it up in another fight down the road.
Sometimes Mr. and I will need a cooling off period, time to really think about what is going on and reflect about how we really feel and why we feel that way. Sometimes I jump the gun a bit only to realize a little later that I wasn't really feeling one thing, but was really feeling another, but my first reaction was anger, when in reality it was really my feelings were hurt.

I know this doesn't work for everyone, but once Mr. and I went to bed angry with each other and both of us couldn't fall sleep and we ended up waking up around 2am to talk things out. After a few hours of just laying there awake, 2am seemed like a good time to talk things out, and after about 10 minute we both realized it was mis-communication and that we needed to work on our communication with each other.

So there you have it, so now go out and fight fair.

*Mr. and I did not live together before we got married. I moved all my stuff into his apartment the week before we got married and then I stayed with my parents until our wedding day. We went on our honeymoon to come back to a condo full of packed boxes. We aren't the norm I realize.


  1. I love the tip on not saying sorry. Sometimes Derek will say sorry after a fight and I'll be like REALLY? Because I'm sure it's not ALL his fault and like you said sorry is just thrown around like it's nothing.

    I also think its really sweet that the one time you and Mr went to bed angry at each other you couldn't sleep and had to talk it out at 2am.

  2. Great advice. My husband and I also did the Catholic Pre Cana (spelling?) retreat. Actually not at all like I thought it was going to be, was pretty helpful really!