Two disclaimers to this post: First, we are still considered newly weds, less than five years married. I’m in the baby stages of marriage, and that’s the only perspective I can offer you.
Second, there is no one-size-fits-all marriage. What works for us now will not work forever, and it will certainly not work for everyone.
Still, to me, a successful life includes a solid marriage. And right now that looks like investing in my husband’s well being.
Back when I wanted my life to look like a magazine, I wanted my husband to be a certain person too. I never would have admitted it, but it was true.
What an incredibly shitty way to start a marriage. (What an incredibly shitty thing to do to a human being, really.)
One of the biggest investments he’s made in me over the years is both the space and support to be who I am and become who I’m meant to be. I am trying to learn to return the favor.
Here’s what this looks like, practically speaking:
1. We consciously give each other space to be alone.
Both Brian and I need time alone to figure ourselves out, so we give it to each other.
2. We schedule time to be together.
There’s a lot of reasons I neither write nor work at Starbucks on Sundays, but the biggest one is to spend time with Brian, who doesn’t work Sundays either.
3. When we need attention, we ask.
And we’re not subtle about it either. When one of us wants attention, we say, “Pay attention to me,” like a two year old. (This seems to work for us.) If this conflicts with the need to be alone, the fact that it’s all out on the table makes it easier to compromise both time together and time alone so both our needs are met.
4. We support each other’s interests.
Brian’s currently volunteering at a comic book store and collecting comics. I’m currently reading tarot cards, blogging, and setting up a tiny painting studio in the apartment. We make sure each of us has the time and funds to pursue our hobbies, as well as designated space in our home.
5. We respect each other’s spiritual needs.
Brian knows attending church makes me feel spiritually grounded, so he encourages me to go. But there’s no way in hell he’s setting foot in that church, and that’s fine.
6. We pick up slack.
I did all the housework during holiday season, because Brian was working seven days a week at the UPS store and volunteering at the comic book store on the side. Brian has been picking up emotional slack, taking my recent crying fits in stride – showing me funny videos or sometimes just putting me to bed when it’s clear I’m no longer capable of being a functioning adult for that day.
7. We dream together.
We have our own separate interests, but we also have things we want together, like getting out of debt and traveling the world.. It took a while to get on the same page, but I feel like these goals help us move in generally the same direction.
Read the rest of the Success Is series here: