1,095 Days Later…

Willy and I recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. And we have yet to murder each other. Hell, the cops haven’t even been to our house. And trust me, they’ve been to the house down the street once or twice. Our marriage is far from perfect, but it’s perfect for us. There are things we both acknowledge we need to work on, but at the end of the day we love each other deeply and share an intense love similar to a fifth grade crush on crack. I’ve spent some time pondering what it is that makes our marriage successful. I asked Willy to do the same. And here’s what we came up with:
-Don’t keep score. I need to remind myself of this one constantly because it feels like I’m always keeping score and that I’m always ahead. Woman do things more efficiently, so instead of berating your husband for not being as organized, give yourself a pat on the back (because no one else is gonna pat it for you) and move the eff on. This also means not holding a grudge when you have to shit faster than you piss because of the two munchkins running around, while your husband makes it a priority to sit over his own feces and play angry birds while you breastfeed one and scold the other. No grudges, capiche? Let it go Ashley, let it go. Are you picking up on the fact this rule is my greatest challenge?
-Mind your manners. All because you’re married doesn’t mean manners go to the wayside. I think Willy and I both do a good job of being polite and respectful. He always asks my permission before making an appointment to have his tattoo worked on, recognizing that my days are busy too and that leaving me with both of our members could potentially create a problem. Running his plans by me first helps me organize and plan ahead and simultaneously helps things run smoothly.
I always try to remember to thank Willy on the nights he makes dinner, which are all nights other than the ones we eat out. Even though it’s something that over the years has become his duty and responsibility, thanking him for his efforts shows recognition and appreciation. Appreciating each other for things we do on a daily basis is important, for it’s those little things that are most easily overlooked but make a world of difference.
-Encourage hobbies and interests. It keeps a person sane, right? There’s nothing worse than watching a relationship develop where the two individuals seemingly morph into one and lose all individuality. Willy loves going to concerts. If there is a show coming up and it doesn’t interfere with anything else, I encourage him to go with a friend. This is because I’d rather step in a pile of fresh dog shit than have my poor ears subjected to the hootin’ and hollerin’ shit he listens to. If Willy Nelson’s playing, on the other hand, then there will be a problem if I’m not going too. If it’s a quiet weekend, Willy will take our members out so I can work on editing photos or scurry over to some of the local thrift stores or, on a rare occassion, get my nails did (uh huh, I said it. Now move past it). Especially with kids, it’s nice to help one another find time to enjoy things we like doing for ourselves.
-You can’t tell the other how to feel. This is somewhat connected to keeping score. When I get up in the middle of the night to feed Van, I’m tired the next day. It goes without saying, right? There is nothing worse than hearing Willy complain about being tired when I’m the one getting in and out of bed while he snoozes off in never never land. But if he’s saying he’s tired, it’s clearly because he’s tired. I have to watch out for it becoming a competition where only one of us can have the privlige of complaining about being tired and just accept the fact that dispite his nine hours of beauty rest, he may still be tired. So yes, you can’t tell one another how to feel. If you’re tired, you’re tired. Take a nap (me first though) and move on.
-Have a sense of humor. When Hooper was an infant, he’d cry a lot. Way more than Van. It was agonizing as first time parents to feel so helpless and clueless. To make light of the situation, we used to cusp our hand back and forth over Hooper’s mouth, making him sound instead like an Indian chanting. It didn’t solve the problem, but it made it more bearable.
What have you learned from the relationships you’ve been in? What works, what doesn’t work, for you?

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17 Responses

  • Great post!
    I totally concur re mutual respect and manners. It costs nothing to say thank you and everyone likes to feel appreciated.

    Off the top of my head…
    Celebrating how awesome you are as a couple-cheesey but affirming!

    Finding your niche in the relationship-things that you do best and take responsibility for them.

    Sharing meal preparation and mealtimes.

    Going to bed together. No to most electronics (phones, netbooks, TV) in the bedroom.

    Being loyal. It means a lot to us that we have each other’s backs. We are each other’s biggest fans.

  • LOVE THIS! It gave me little goosey bumps. I think all relationships could benefit from the tips you mention here. Most of it seems to be about letting go and keeping it simple. You love each other — that’s paramount. All the other stuff is just…stuff.

    So happy to have you two in my life!

  • Love this post! The sitting on the loo playing games thing made me laugh so much, that’s exactly what mine does too….argh!

    Was really great to read these though, as it makes me feel like I have a normal relationship that works, but needs work to keep it good, and not being afraid to admit that! We’re currently planning our wedding for next year!

  • First congrats to the 3 years married!!
    I have to say the not keeping score is the hardest for me!! Especially when I’m working now too… it’s hard to come home and deal with 2 screaming toddlers, and a husband (who has worked all day also) hiding out in the room playing video games or watching a movie. We just have to remind ourselves why we’re together in the first place!
    No matter how tired either of us are at the end of the day, we have to make time to take the kids (2 soon to be 3), and the 2 dogs for a walk, and take the time to talk about our day.
    date nights are good, but I find that I enjoy going out when we spend time out with the kids more!!
    Again congrats, and I love hearing your thoughts on marriage and kids, again it’s nice to know you aren’t alone!! wish you guys many more years to come! 🙂

  • I love these pictures! You are very creative and you two are adorable together! Congratulations on your anniversary.

    I agree with you on all your points, especially the hobbies and interest. Marriage doesn’t mean two people become one individual, yes a couple, but still two people with their own interests. That’s part of what attracted me to my husband (his interests, hobbies, creativity) and I would not feel comfortable denying him of them, and vice versa.

    I admire the fact that you have two little ones and post on a regular basis. I really enjoy your blog. ♥

  • Congrats on your anniversary. Your dress is so beautiful! I am so with you on the concerts. And, I had to teach my husband when I say no, I mean no. His mom is a manipulator, so I had to un-manipulate him and help him understand I mean what I say.

  • We are eight years married coming up to nine….phew.
    Have had our first bubba this year and although it has changed the dynamics slightly there is nothing more satisfying than watching my grown ass husband crawl all over the floor to entertain our little girl.
    All your statements are spot on!
    For us I had to teach my husband to let me be for a few minutes if he saw I was mad as I didn’t want to blurt out what ever was in my head, which could be random things from the last six months that really peeved me. I waited for a bit to calm myself and really figure out what was really bothering me and address that.
    We also made a pact not to pester each other, as in: “do you like this?” “no” “why?” “just don’t” “why?!” Learning to let it be

  • Good so we share relationship rules as well as pickey eater boys. I’m so with you on the keeping score problem. I’m a nightmare. It makes my blood boil to hear the ‘I’m really tired’ quote. But I need to not let it bother me, it is not worth it and my husband is truly great in many other areas, he is also chief cook. I also have to let go the ‘but it’s my day off’ comment. Oh yeah, right YOUR day off, sure, let me know when the heck MINE is again won’t you 😉

    Wish I’d written this stuff under my 3 years anniversary post – it makes so much sense!

    Happy 3 years though! xoxo

  • I’m a new blog reader and wanted to comment on this post to say how much it truck a cord with me. Me and partner’s relationship has suffered since becoming parents (to a 9 month old boy named Wilf) I keep score big time. I will make more of an effort not to now, the ‘i’m tired thing’ makes my blood boil, I know it will take a lot of patience to let that one go..but I will try! xx

  • I hear ya, and I feel ya! Keeping score is a hard thing not to do, especially when you know you are doing 90% of the parental stuff. For me, once our daughter turned about 20 months everything changed. She became a little person and she is fun and entertaining to be around thus making her relationship with her Daddy super strong. I think it just takes men a looooong time to come around. We as women dive in so deep right from the start, but men kind of doggy paddle at parenting for the 1st 2 years.

    My biggest tip in marriage is respect. I respect my man so much, that I know anything that he says is validated. If he’s upset, I listen instead of argue because I respect his feelings and would never want to hurt him. Having that mutual respect has really helped us through all of the hard parts.


  • New to your blog and this made me laugh out loud. Especially the first bullet. I can so relate. My husband is beyond fabulous with me and our babies, but sometimes it’s like, why am I feeding them both while he’s in the bathroom for half an hour?!? I mean, seriously…


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