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Making Marriage Work

We have a mixed marriage – I am an optimist, my husband is half pessimist half pragmatist. I am a reforming clutter bug. My husband is obsessive about having no clutter (and just as insistent that everything is MINE that is “cluttering” up the house). I am a DIYer and my husband doesn’t even want to change the curtains himself. I come from a large family and my husband was an only child.

One main thing we both have in common is that we are as stubborn an all get out.

It’s not always easy to live together, but we have made the commitment and we are sticking to it. We both have changed over out fourteen year marriage, although I always feel like I’m the one who changes the most. There are days when it would be easier to walk away, but that stubborn streak makes us stay in and work it out.

Marriage is work. The best blessing I received growing up was the understanding that it’s not about feelings or emotions. Marriage is a covenant and that means you are in it for life – through the good and the bad (and on the bad days that all it’s going to feel like you’ve ever had).

There are a lot of other things I wish someone had brought up to me long before I got married. Two stand out more than any others.

1. Someone should have taught me how to clean a house. Thank goodness for Heloise, who published a book about what to clean and when. I discovered it in the library, and it helped me get on my way.
2. Someone should have explained that you live off just one income and bank the second one. That way you have money for buying a house or having kids.

Many things come to mind about overcoming differences and making a marriage work. No one could have told me all of them – no matter how much pre-marriage counseling we might have attended. The truth is that things are still coming up that we have to work around or through. As we both grow and change (sometimes together but usually at different rates) it causes conflicts and confusion that requires compromise and lots of patience.

Marriage is the ultimate test of my DIY skills. It is a project that requires constant refiguring, regular renovation, and the consideration of opinions outside my own. Meeting that challenge is something that I am looking forward to for the rest of my life.

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