Bill and I have been married for 17 years. I think I mentioned that a few days ago in my anniversary post. I also mentioned that I didn’t LOVE our anniversary this year. It felt like… any other day and I’m not that kind of girl. But a marriage is a cross-country race, not a sprint. It’s a triathlon. It’s a mission to Mars. I don’t measure my marriage in days or hours. I measure it in feelings. And while we have gone through peaks and valleys, I will say that my marriage has been filled with lots of emotion – and that’s a good thing.
So, what makes a happy marriage? I guess I’ve been thinking about that lately. I’m surrounded by divorce. My mother has been divorced twice. My father has also at least been divorced twice. I say “at least” because I haven’t talked to him in over a decade and I heard that he married again, but who knows? So, that’s 5 right there – just from my parents. I guess you can say that I don’t know much about happy marriages.
My grandmother and grandfather had a happy marriage – at least in my eyes. But God took my grandfather when I was 16. I didn’t have a firm understanding of what was expected of me when I entered into my own “happy marriage” after all of that history. Destined to fail? Maybe. Maybe not.
I think anyone who says they have the perfect marriage is lying. We can strive for perfection. Or maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should just try to do our best and try to give as much love as we possibly can and call it. I say “as much love as we possibly can” because we are all so broken. Not everyone is able to love on the same level. I love with all of my heart and I give the best that I can – but maybe that isn’t enough for my children or my husband? I’m not saying that’s how it is. I’m just saying that my 100% might be someone else’s 85%. We are all so different. I think it’s important to remember that. I try to do the same.
What is a happy marriage?
It’s not fancy cars or big getaways. It’s not lots of sex and huge holiday parties for the neighbors. It’s not the professionally shot Christmas card that’s already been mailed because you have to be first. It’s none of those things.
A happy marriage is having someone who picks up the slack when you’ve been sick for almost two weeks and who doesn’t complain about it.
I think – in the end – that’s what love is. Love isn’t equal. I know the bible says otherwise. But sometimes, your spouse needs to lift you up when you cannot stand. Sometimes they need to carry you and a solid marriage is knowing that you have someone to do this.
I’m not the healthiest of people. You might not know this about me if you are new to the site. There always seems to be something wrong with me and it’s rough on my family because my job asks a lot of me physically and mentally. I don’t have a desk job. I have one that asks me to fly cross-country to take two Instagram pictures. This is real. And those 6-hour flights and time changes and migraines and sinus issues… it all just wreaks havoc on my soul. I also always need time to recover. Always. So, big projects which mean mortgage payments hurt my body… but are necessary. My husband knows this and he steps up – always. No questions asked. We just work.
That’s a happy marriage.
A happy marriage is an understanding one. I think that is clear to me at 41. No judgment. No “I wish she was stronger” comments. A happy marriage has compassion.
And when mistakes are made… grudges are dismissed. This is something we are both still working on. My husband still fights arguments from many years ago. This is one of our tests. But a happy marriage has forgiveness. That much is true.
I think lastly, a happy marriage has no masks. I am who I say I am. I don’t pretend to be anybody else. Luckily for all my friends – what you see is what you get. Unfortunately, for my Instagram followers, that isn’t necessarily the case. But in real life, I am about as raw and honest as they come. A city girl who grew up hanging out on her stoop with her friends. That’s still me – to the core. No matter what setting you put me in – I will still just be that girl from Queens. And I married a boy from Queens… so I think we are PRETTY GOOD on this front.
Ok, I lied. I have one more secret in the sauce. Laughing. Lots of laughing. We make fun of one another all the time. A happy marriage doesn’t take itself too seriously. I literally married my husband because of how funny he was. Not because of his looks or how much money he had or some big fancy job he had waiting on the other side of college. Two punk kids trying to figure it out and I said yes because I knew for the rest of my life he would always make me smile. That was it. Also, I knew he would be the father that I never had for my children – but that’s another story.
A happy marriage brings you joy.
My heart is filled with joy…even on the days when I want to kill him.
What are your thoughts on a happy marriage? I’ve written about this a few times on my site, like when I wrote: “How To Have A Happy Marriage: 14 Easy Tips Anyone Can Follow“. Would love to hear what you think!