I have to admit though, I really thought I was one of those people who didn't have those dreamy expectations of marriage. You know, thinking that it was all going to be roses and sunshine. I have had many a conversations with my married friends and many a good talks with my mom on how to make a marriage work. But once we started the daily routine of just living together as husband and wife, I realized how MUCH of a personal choice it is to make this work. I can choose to be grumpy/cranky after a long week of work when Jim doesn't get the chores done that I ask him or choosing to let him watch his favorite show instead of complaining when we don't get to watch another episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" for the millionth time. It's a choice everyday. A choice to die to myself out of love for another or be the selfish, whiny, sass-pot I more often than not have a tendency to be.
So anyway here's what I'm realizing/learning very early on in the game.
1. It's not ALL about having a perfectly clean home 24/7
Probably within the first week of getting home from our honeymoon, I said to Jim one night at dinner, "Okay, now we have to get on a daily/weekly cleaning schedule." Poor guy, he looked at me like I had 5 heads. Let's just say that I'm the one that's all about having a routine in our home, where as Jim is the more relaxed, laid back, spontaneous one. But I have noticed and am realizing sometimes I get all worked up about our home not always being "perfectly clean." And no we are not living in filth, but I am realizing that sometimes I get a little carried away. It will not kill me if a sink of dishes waits to be cleaned the next day; however, if it sits there for a week, then that's another story. One way we are working on this together is having something every evening called a "15 minute pick-up." For 15 minutes before we head to bed, we spend the time doing a general clean-up around the apartment: finishing the dishes, picking up laundry, taking out the trash, etc. So far it is working good for us, and a little way to help me not be so crazy anal retentive about the up keep of our home. Go Team Hubbard!
2. Don't go to bed angry/Leave for work without the "I'm Sorry's"
I do NOT like going to bed mad at each other or leaving for work being mad at each other either; kinda sucks. Majorly. Anger left unaddressed, even if over something little, just breeds resentment and cranky feelings. Which is not a good way to head off to dream land or start a busy day at the office. We have had a few occasions where we went to bed giving each other the silent treatment or heading off to work with few words to each other. And we are both learning how that really does suck, and does nothing to solve the disagreement we are having. That old saying, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger" is very true, and we are learning through trial and error how true it is. :)
3. I REALLY showed have paid more attention in learning how to cook
Growing up, my Mom tried to teach me basic cooking skills, knowing someday when I was married or out on my own, I would be able to cook. It is has been an ongoing joke for quite some time in my family, that my cooking ability consists of heating a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner or pouring milk into a bowl of cereal. And know that I'm married, I'm realizing that I REALLY should have paid more attention when my Mom tried to drum up my interest in cooking skills 101. When my Mom and I have our bi-weekly lunch dates, one of her first questions is, "What new recipes have you tried making for dinner?" More often than not, I'm just smiling at her saying something like, "Ohhh Mom." ;-) Jim is usually preparing main parts for dinner, like cooking the meat...BUT I'm a great salad maker ;-) And off course if he makes most of dinner, I step up to do the dishes. BUT with the help of a wonderful online thing called "Pinterest" I'm quickly acquiring an assortment of tasty recipes to try my hands out at. Most recently I made some appetizers for Thanksgiving and a bunch of fancy holiday treats for a Christmas party I had a few weeks ago. And for Christmas Eve dinner, I'm making a fancy breakfast buffet of yumminess. Practice makes perfect, and I'm slowly working on my cooking skills. But for real. Mom, you were right...I should have paid better attention all those years you tried helping to teach me things :).
4. The family that prays together stays together
Neither of us claims to be saints...we are both very much "works in progress." But there really is something to be said about praying together as a couple. And no I'm not talking about walking around with your head bowed in deep contemplation 24/7 or acting like you are "holier than thou." But I'm just talking about bringing God into your marriage and family life...like praying together as a couple in any/all decisions. We're not great at it (praying together), but we keep pluggin away at it. Even if its just praying over each other for 5 minutes before we head off to bed, every little bit helps and adds up. And every time we do pray together, I am reminded how much it is like super glue for our relationship. Yay prayer. Yay Jesus :)
5. We need to make decisions together
Okay, this one may sound quite obvious to some of you. But for me, I have found myself sometimes slipping into the habit of making decisions for both of us without consulting the hubster; like buying a piece of art to hang up in the apartment or making plans for the weekend without asking Jim for his input or "deciding" where to arrange things in the apartment or picking names for future kidlets. I think part of this comes from selfish tendencies, and also just being used to for so long being able to do things my own way. But know we be a family, a team...and there is no 'I' in team. Jim has pointed this out to me several times, and the weird thing is I didn't even notice I was doing it...but like in all these things, it's a work in progress :)
6. Still make time to "date each other"
Our lives are both pretty busy between work and graduate school...but it is still important to make time for each other, to still date each other. It doesn't always have to involve money. It can be something as little as having a marathon of watching all the Christmas episodes of "The Office" or leaving little love notes around the apartment for each other or sending a text message during the day "just because" or taking a Rosary walk in the woods behind our apartment complex. It's the little joys that add up to create a happy, healthy marriage. :)
If this is what the first six months has been like, I cannot imagine and wait to find out what the future holds :)
"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
-Song of Songs 6:3