From Mediocre to Great

Its the little things. You know it, I know it, we ALL know it. We can hide from it all we want but the fact is,  the little things matter! This could not be more true that with your marriage/relationship. Let me tell you how I almost destroyed my marriage, and how I am still working to make it more than mediocre. Who wants a mediocre marriage anyways? We should all strive to make it GREAT!

When we first got married I used to write about my problems on Facebook. Many nights my marriage was the topic of choice. He didn’t pack my moving truck correctly, he didn’t show me enough attention, blah blah blah. Anything that upset me automatically went to Facebook, almost as a way to gain support and ammunition for my next argument. “Well Jane agreed that it was stupid of you to fold your socks. Who does that anyways?”. In all honesty, I was a shitty wife! And I’m ashamed that my husband ever had to endure that amount of disrespect and embarrassment.  What seems like something harmless can usually do the most damage, and it did! In my mind all I wanted was justification for my feelings/actions but in his mind I did not respect his difference in opinion or is needs. Essentially I was degrading him to make myself feel better. If you didn’t know this already, that’s a big no no. Under NO circumstance is it okay to make someone feel lesser of themselves just to make yourself feel better. And who wants their friends to believe that they have a shitty husband? Now I strive to build him up, to make other people say “man you’re lucky to be his wife” because you know what? I am VERY lucky!

I also would knit pick. Now this one I really struggle with even now. Old habits die hard, but they do indeed die if you put in the effort. Lets go back to the sock scenario. My husband separates his long work socks from his every day socks. In the beginning of our marriage this annoyed me to know end. Who was he to expect me to separate his socks? That’s ridiculous! But was it really? No. I used to complain about every little move he made that I thought was wrong. He didn’t fold the laundry my way, he didn’t load the dishwasher my way. He didn’t pick out matching clothes for our kids. The list is endless. If it wasn’t done BY ME then it was wrong. And then something magical happened. Instead of listening to me bitch and degrade him, he just stopped helping. Oh and there was more bitching to be had. How dare he! But you know what? I was selfish and ungrateful! I had demanded, not even asked, I demanded his help and here I was tearing him down for not doing it my way. Wrong move honey.  Its a sure fire way to get him to quit helping  altogether!

Anyone else got caught up in their feelings and denied him sex? Am I the only one? Surely not! After all “women only control one thing and that’s sex” right? Right? Men need sex the way women need romance and attention. Sex is not only a way to feel closer physically but emotionally as well, and that is true for both men and women! By constantly putting his needs on the back burner you’re setting yourself up for the same response from him. We demand our needs be met yet we so often forget that he has needs too. Often we are to tired, just not in the mood, or all touched out. In our minds that is reasonable, after all we’ve had a long day chasing kids. But for the average man its almost like saying “I don’t love or desire you anymore”, and for men this can be a huge hit. I never realized how huge of an impact this had until my husband said “you hate me don’t you?” when I turned him down for the 10th night in a row. His statement couldn’t have been further from the truth, but in his mind I didn’t want to be close to him in the way he needed so he felt unloved and neglected. I’m not saying you should be his sex slave, I’m saying you should think about your reasons for saying no and ask yourself if its worth hurting your marriage over.

Our marriage was not a healthy marriage in the beginning. I’m ashamed that either of us acted the way that we did, but honestly, its become the norm in todays society. You make one mistake and I’m gone. Divorce is on the rise because its easier than putting the work and effort into it. I chose to take the road less travelled so to speak. I chose to honor and love my husband in all that I do. Do I fall short? Almost every day! We all do! But I wake up and tell myself, today you will be a better wife than yesterday! It takes effort, it takes commitment, it takes selflessness. Its easy to get caught up in the me me me of life. But I am prime example, if you put yourself aside and put your spouses needs first, it will make a world of difference.

I started by letting go and realizing that he is human and humans make mistakes. I make mistakes daily, why can’t he? Once I realized the double standard Ive been working hard to fix it. Now I’m working on not picking apart every move that he makes. We are different people with different opinions and mannerisms. I cannot expect him to do everything the exact way I *think* it should be done. And I show him I love him daily. I do the extra little things without him needing to ask, I tell him I love him often, and I remind him that I am in this for the long haul. Poor man is stuck with me till death do us part! I won’t be another statistic, will you?

 

Much Love,
SHM

 

 

Happiness in the midst of struggle

Have you ever come across a person in life that just knocks you back a few steps? Not literally, that would be quite unfortunate, but figuratively. Until just a few short months ago I had not had this happen to me. I have not met a person that amazes me the way this person does now. We will call her Optimus Prime or OP for short.

OP showed up randomly. I had known her for many years. We graduated from the same high school. To be honest, I didn’t really like her that much back then. I found her arrogant and quite frankly, just a bit snotty. Haha. But the old saying “people never change” could not be further from the truth with OP. The girl I knew back then is no where near the woman that I know now.

The woman I have had the please of getting to know has really grown to be a beautiful and strong woman. She is one of my biggest motivators, challengers, and she is the person that inspires me daily. I say my biggest challengers because despite her struggles she kills me in our step challenges on fitbit every single week. I do not think there has been a single week where I have won, and if I did you can guarantee it was because she forgot her watch. Haha.

OP has Multiple Sclerosis . If you aren’t familiar please read up on it. I really had no clue what it was until hearing OP’s diagnosis and story. I will not go into great detail as it is not my story to share, but if you know anyone who has ever been diagnosed with MS, ask them! I am sure they would be more than willing to tell you!

I was brought into OP’s life again by chance and at first I was weary at first. I did not know how far she had come. I had followed her for some time on social media but lets be real, you never truly know someone through their social media. You only see what they allow you to see. So in the beginning it was a bit awkward. We weren’t sure if we should share or keep to ourselves. With time those walls came tumbling down. I got to see the woman she had grown into and how she was fighting her disease head on. Did I mention she kicks my ass on fitbit weekly?

Just recently she started going through a relapse. I could tell it was starting to bother her but she kept on smiling. She kept moving on with her life, dealing with one symptom after the next. Had you just met her, you would not have even seen it because she marched right through it with such grace.

She is a mother to an awesome little boy, to whom I stole the nickname from. She is a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. MS does not define her nor does it stop her from living life to her maximum potential. She does not let it bring her down or make her unhappy. She fights through it. Even on her darkest days she is still one of the happiest, most humble people I have ever met. She has taught me that there is more to life than just your struggles. That your struggles do not define who you are.

Over the last few months I have gotten to watch her. I have watched her struggle with her MS and even without, but the one thing I have noticed is that she always finds a reason to smile. She doesn’t let the weight of her diagnosis stop her from living the most meaningful life she can. She challenges me daily to do the same whether that be through fitbit or telling me I’m being a big baby. She encourages me to look at the positives and not dwell in the negative. To look forward to each day.

You can choose to let your struggles drag you down or you can find your happiness in the midst of them. The choice is yours.