|Yeah, this is how we do :)|
So I am not trying to top anything, but I decided to think of 16 reasons we have made it this far.
16 Reasons I have been married 16 years:
1. Complementarity. Honestly, I married the perfect, complementary personality for mine. I'm as Type A as a person can get, I'm intense and I like to make the rules (and enforce them). Craig is laid-back and he is relaxed and he is a rule follower. :)
2. Teamwork. We work together. Working two full-time jobs, raising 5 children, keeping a household running...can't be done effectively without teamwork.
3. Communication. it's not always face-to-face, because we have worked opposing schedules for most of our marriage, but e-mail, texts, phone calls...we talk to each other.
4. Goals. We set them. Many times we surpass them. Often, I think of the time I found my slip of paper that had goals Craig and I wrote down when i was pregnant with our first child. I wrote down that we planned for three children, I would complete my MBA and be making a certain income. By the time I found that sheet, our fourth child was on the way, I had completed my MBA 6 years before that and I was making about what that goal had stated. It was kind of crazy.
5. Re-evaluate our goals and our situation regularly. Goals are awesome because they can be reached and surpassed, or they can be re-assessed and modified. We do both.
6. It's our life and we'll live as we want to (sort of). We live our lives and don't worry about what others have to say about it. If we would have listened to well-meaning family members, we would not have 5 children (many thought that when #4 came along, that was just too much). And we make job changes and school decisions and all of that stuff together as a team of two. sometimes a team of 7 if the kids' opinions are relevant. But mostly a team of 2.
7. Place each other first. We don't get many date nights or trips together without the kids these days, but we both know that the other's consideration gets first nod as we put schedules together, make vacation plans (even with the kids) or make any other decisions affecting the family.
8. Commonality. Enjoy those things we have in common. We both love the Royals, Chiefs and Jayhawks. It's a priority to share the games together. We love sharing that with our children, too.
9. Laugh. A lot. My husband is naturally funny with great timing. He makes me laugh more than he makes me cry. It matters.
10. Hugs. I'm more of a hugger than a kisser. My children appreciate that, by the way -- at least where their father and I are concerned. But we give lots of hugs around this house.
11. Respect. There is always the undertone of respect when we communicate, even in disagreement. We also use manners like "please" and "thank you" and "you're welcome" and are careful in our speech. Even (and especially) when no one is there to witness it. I love that.
12. Trust. We always trust that the other is looking out for our well-being and that of the children.
13. Attend Mass often. Of course, we go to Mass together (usually) on the weekends. But we also find other times to attend Mass, if we can make it work with our schedules. Because we are not together very often for other prayer times, this seems like a critical piece of our prayer life together as a married couple.
14. Partake of the Sacraments together, when applicable. When I have taken care to go to confession more frequently, I have noticed I am more focused and at peace in my vocation as a wife and mother. When Craig and I both attend confession, I notice a tenderness and understanding that runs through our communication to each other for some time after that. There's something about acknowledging our human limitations in confession that keeps us grounded.
15. Say, "I'm sorry" when we have wronged each other. Apologizing -- a TRUE apology (not one of those, "I'm sorry IF I offended you..." -- shows the acknowledgement that one of us has been a jerk and a validation of the person who was hurt. It seems our society these days is so hung up on this idea that we don't do anything wrong to another person and many seem to justify every behavior. Sometimes it's good to just take a deep breath, see the hurt you have caused and look at your spouse and say, "I'm sorry for hurting you."
16. Forgive each other. Knowing that Craig forgives my faults and loves me through it all makes all the difference in my life. Extending that same courtesy to him frees me from whatever ill will I may have taken toward him and helps us move forward.
In general, Craig has supported me in everything. He has been there rooting me on in all of my crazy physical endeavors (marathon, Crossfit, Triathlon -- whatever the next thing I want to try), the different jobs I have attempted, and trips to see family. But I would say the #1 way he has blessed me and our family and our marriage has been his support of learning and living our Catholic faith and raising our children in it. He and I share a common goal of joining God in Heaven someday -- and we recognize each other's part in staying on track together and with our children.
So, happy anniversary Craig. 16 years. Mostly good times and a few sorrowful times and we've faced it all together. I love you.