5 Years Married, 5 Lessons Learned

It's our 5 year anniversary today! I can't believe how fast time has gone, because some days it seems like we were just doing our food tasting at the Shedd or going for our last dress/suit fittings. Second to Ronan's birthday, it was the most wonderful day of our lives and life has given us so much since then, including a lot of lessons in love. Here's 5 to start...

1. We're in this together: We recently experienced a long stretch of Ronan waking up very unhappy and very often during the night and let me tell you, there's nothing like prolonged loss of sleep to test your abilities to remain patient with one another. But one morning, while Ronan was (finally) still sleeping, we were talking in bed and both agreed, thank God we were going through this with each other. We realized how much better the situation was, just because we were together when we were lying awake in the dark at 2am, wondering if we would ever sleep again. Even though we were exhausted, we worked together diligently to figure out the best way to help our Ronan through trial and error, supporting one another along the way (aka Mike reassuring me I'm doing the right thing when my Mom anxiety crept in!). We've always handled difficult situations as a team  but I think we're even more of a solid unit now as parents. Just knowing you're not alone and feeling the presence of someone else who has your back makes ALL the difference.

2. Everyone's love language is different: This one is SO important. A "love language" sounds like one of those relationship cliches, right? I know, it seems real hokey and self help-ish but the truth is,  I believe in it one hundred percent and I think it applies to all relationships, even those between friends. According to this book, the 5 ways in which people communicate "love" to their partner are: Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Mike and I dated for nearly 7 years before we got married but it was only afterwards when we started living together that I really started to realize how different our love languages are.

This was not a bad thing, but certainly something that needed to be recognized so we could make sure we were communicating effectively. I think everyone identifies with all 5 in one way or another but I would say the physical touch is most important to me, followed closely by words of affirmation. I grew up in a Family that hugged a thousand times a day and each hug was complemented with an "I love you," or "I'm proud of you." (I'm so lucky, right?). However, Mike hasn't always been as demonstrative or outspoken with his feelings so he really resonates with showing love through acts of service. For as long as we've been together, he has always done special things for me: Booked a surprise trip to Disney World to see Christmas Lights before they were discontinued, made me a book of our adventures (just like the movie UP which makes me ball every single time), sat through Taylor Swift (twice!), gives in to staying in Wisconsin an extra night EVERY time, proposing on Catalina Island, creating a memory that would last a lifetime...and so on. Even small things, like doing the dishes early in the morning before I get to them or hanging up a picture I've been wanting to hang for months. He is amazing.

On the opposite hand, it doesn't always come to his mind to hold my hand, linger in a long hug or let me know he thinks I'm going a great job as a Mom, even though I know he thinks that and these things are equally, if not more important to me. And for me, I know he appreciates the smallest acts of service in return, like taking out the garbage so he doesn't have to or cleaning up the yard after the dog (the WORST!), so we've openly talked about this and continue to make sure each other feels heard in what we expect from one another in terms of communication.

3. Accept the quirks: Let's be honest: There are certain things about everyone that really just piss their partner off, no matter how insignificant they are. For example, if Mike were writing his answer to this question, I KNOW he would talk about me moving his stuff around the house. Nothing bothers him more than me moving his "clutter" and him not being able to find it 5 days later. I get it - I do. But I HATE clutter with a OCD-like passion so we are constantly working on finding a middle ground that we can both live with. I think it takes a healthy balance of accepting people for who they are, quirks included yet still working on yourself to just let these things go sometimes. At the end of the day, how important is it that there are socks on the floor or receipts all over the counter? Not very. Note to self: Real life doesn't look like an Instagram feed.

4. Keep creating new experiences: We have always loved traveling together and trying out new things, whether it was our spontaneous trip to Ireland, riding the tallest roller coaster or zip lining over the ocean (still shaking from that one). Now that we have Ronan, our adventures are a little less bold on a regular basis but that doesn't mean we can't find joy and excitement in some of the more simple things. What's great is, basically everything we do with him is a new experience for us too so as long as we're doing it together, we're creating memories that contribute to shaping our relationship. We have loved things like taking him to new parks, swimming for the first time, going to the museum and introducing him to the lake path. As he gets older, we will start to travel more again because not only is that important to us as a couple, but we also want to make sure he gets the chance to see and learn as much as possible, especially when the source is the outdoors, a new town, a different food or unique culture.

5. Our relationship is the most important: We are beyond blessed to have the most amazing support system surrounding us. Both sets of our parents, siblings, extended Family and friends show up for us on a daily basis, providing us with everything we need to feel safe, loved and confident in our decisions as a couple and as parents.

We have the most special son, who has changed our lives forever and has made us forget what life was like before him. He lights up our life with a smile that melts our hearts and has allowed us to truly understand what it's like to wear your heart on the outside of your body, making it vulnerable to hurt and sadness as much as it is to joy and bliss. He is constantly on our minds, every decision revolving around him and his well-being.

But we must remember, it was just the two of us first (well, three - we can't forget our favorite four-legged son!) and it will eventually be the two of us again someday - You know, when Ronan is 40 and is allowed to get married. It's important for couples (especially those with kids) to continue to "date" and pursue their own hobbies, passions and interests outside of children or even the other person now and then. We are each other's person and the foundation of the Family we are building, so our unit must remain strong and independent on its own to continue to flourish for the next 5 years and every one beyond that.

Happy Anniversary, Michael. Family is not just a person but a feeling, a verb and a place where your heart lives and you are mine.


No comments

Post a Comment

© Kait Lately
Blogger Templates by pipdig