Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Single Way to be the Best Spouse

Something I've learned is that marriage is not a competition, but when it hits rough patches as they ultimately do, competition seems to be the way discord manifests itself as a symptom.

I'm not a marriage expert.  Unless you call being married enough qualification to be an expert - which, honestly, might just be enough in most circles.

The biggest thing I've learned in my 41 years on this planet and in the 8 years of my marriage is that respect, loyalty, love and honouring your vows are the ONLY ways you can be your best version of the spouse you intended to be the day you got married.

And the single most important thing I've learned is never to click on some crazy person's blog about how to be the best wife, or best husband.

While the husband ones aren't so bad, the wife ones are truly abhorrent and derived straight from the pages of a book that's so antiquated that it forgot to let people who pour over every letter within it, that the world moved on, women wear pants and work bloody hard.  In many cases it forgets to remind those crazy ass women that it's their turn to be the bread winners, so racing home at night to get the house cleaned, dishes done, meals prepared and the beer chilled, just in time to paste a ridiculous frigging smile on your face as your hubby walks through the door, is bloody insane.  It's forgotten that the virtues of feminism and equality prevail in a modern world, and no person with half a brain in their head is wearing the goofy smile anymore.

You can't be a better wife by doing all that - all that can do is make yourself depressed, anxious, constantly on edge and looking for what you might be getting in return AND that's what gives rise to competition and discord in a marriage.

SO - the best way to be your best version of the spouse you always intended to be, man or woman, is to share equally in the work of daily life, without grumbling and begrudging every second of it, recognizing that your spouse is devoting as much or more to the same ugly tasks of day to day life, and revel in the few and rare opportunities you get to be free of those encumbrances.  Respect your partner for all that they bring to your day to day life.  Fawn over meals even if they're dismal attempts and massive failures, with immense praise, knowing how many planets and stars had to align for your partner to even get as far as they did with it.  And be loyal.  Look past the disgruntled face, the worn out sighs, the disheveled hair...pour your martini and hers.  Bring them chocolate and flowers, beer or movie passes.  Get the sitter all lined up in advance, and ask them out on a real date - the way you did before you were married.  Show your partner, that through thick and thin, you see how beautiful they are, you love them, and you respect them.

Marriage is never perfect.  And there's no simple checklist to make it better.  Do what your mama taught you and just be a decent human being.  Everything else will work itself out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm such a softy

My husband kindly reminded me the other day that it's been too long since I blogged.  And he's right. My only response was that I feel like I have a voice that's not worth listening to at the moment.  I suppose it comes from the generic plights of being a mommy.  No one listens to mommy until they're old enough to appreciate how right she always was...that takes a lot of years before it kicks in, and I know it.

The only thing that's eating at me lately is that I'm such a softy.  It's only mid November and I've been a fuelled up crying machine, with tears pouring out of me at the drop of a hat.  Could be the toils we've been through as a nation recently.  Could be frustrations of motherhood, and stresses of wifedom.  Could be mounting stress and feeling a whole lot "less than" worth anything at work.  Could be just plain old gearing up for the holiday season, OR it could be Seasonal Affected Disorder.  Frig - this could be what menopause is like.

What I know for certain is that since I hit my first bout of depression, I'm a total softy.  I cry for anything.  EVERYTHING hits me right in the heart and like straight away.  I got depressed and the floodgates opened.  Welcome Niagara Falls.  My child pokes my rolls and snuggles into me on the daily basis and tells me how soft, and cuddly and squishy I am...and all I can think is, I used to be so tough.  I used to be impossible to hurt.  I used to be infallible.  Audacious.  Sophisticated and Bitchy (in the best possible way).  I was assertive.  I was, in short, pretty freaking amazing and independent.  A one woman hurricane on a gentle summer night.

And now I'm soft.  I've always been kind, but not to my own detriment.  My sacrifices were well balanced with self service.  Acts I carried out were usually mutually beneficial.  Now.  I give a whole lot, and don't ask/expect much in return.  But by the time I do ask for something, I've let it pile up and boil to the point where I'm ready to bust and the tears and anxiety are uncontrollable.

All this to wind up with the notion that I know I'm not lost.  I'm right here and I still know full well who I am and what I stand for.  My principles have not changed.  But I'm also aware that I'm older.  I care less for people's opinions and in swaying them, than I care about making the world a better place.  And who could argue that such a place in life isn't a better situation than simply being confident and audacious.  I'm still as independent as you could possibly imagine a woman being, but I would be lost and devastated without my family in my corner of the ring.  I guess the only real struggle this change in me introduces is in teaching my daughter how to be just that wee bit tougher and independent and confident when I, though confident and independent, am the first one fighting back floods of tears watching the Christmas parade, or the newest commercial/video online showing a soldier surprising his kids.

In short - I'm a sap.  Pass the syrup.