10 YEARS of Marriage!

August 25, 2011  |   Posted by :   |   Articles   |   0 Comment»

By Gregg DeMammos

I look at my friends (Facebook and otherwise), peers, colleagues and I’m hard pressed to find people in my life that I can share my 10th wedding anniversary with that know what it means to reach this milestone. If I look at the same group, where are my mentors, the people who have been beyond 10 years, the ones I can learn from along the way? I realize my wife and I have primarily been alone in this. Perhaps WE are the mentors, maybe we have something to offer. Here are some thoughts.

First, I got to thinking, why does 10 years matter?

It matters because it’s ridiculous!

Given the structures available and commonly utilized for successful marriages and the challenges that took place over our first 10 years, it’s incredible we or anyone else get here. We’ve lived in busy cities where people primarily keep to themselves, their demanding jobs and social lives. Our parents didn’t live nearby. We weren’t a part of a spiritual community. Our incomes were never enough to take amazing care of ourselves, we had growing debt and we threw children into that set of insufficient structures for success. It all makes little sense on the surface and we had the perfect conditions for a big ball of stress. Just the set of circumstances that will make the modern divorce a ripe possibility.

What were our assets? Love is an asset, but over 10 years love must grow. There’s no way it will look the same at the outset of the relationship as it will look 10 years later. Don’t even think about it. We hear phrases like “the magic is gone” and that’s true, if we relate to magic as one trick that we expect to deliver over and over again. One trick gets boring. Love must evolve. As the commitments within our marriage became more clear, like raising children, owning a home, becoming a contributing part of each other’s families and other scary things that come along, we had to love who we could be for one another.

Love evolves from “you complete me”, which is momentary and relieving to “together, our love of each other will always get us through.” Not so romantic, perhaps, unless you romanticize being committed to something greater than yourself. This is what any marriage that lasts 10 years must become, where we surrender to our commitments and know we need each other to succeed. This is the only way to become pillars of our professions, parents, homeowners, household accountants, personal health administrators, eventual retirees and grandparents and keep the relationship intact with our modern standard of needing to be in love that we need to keep us in our marriages.

It’s those commitments that forced us to learn more about each other and to support each other in who we needed to become so we could take them on honestly, as a team. Just a few generations ago, being in love was not necessary to keep a marriage together. Men had their team and women had theirs. We lived near our childhood friends and families and became members of clubs and groups designed to support us in making our lives work.

Not any more!

Who do we have the tough conversations of our married lives with? A recent survey posted on YourTango.com (http://www.yourtango.com/201192892/men-think-discussing-relationship-problems-waste-time) revealed that men think speaking about your relationship is A WASTE OF TIME!!?! It’s just not en vogue to have conversations about your life on the most real and valuable level. So now we have much less support. We’re doing our best primarily on our own, without natural buffers like friends and family that are actually involved in our lives and relationships and it puts the relationship on shaky ground. Letting these commitments fall, not owning them completely as a couple is what leads to divorce. I don’t think we’re going back to living over the years next door to our families and High School friends, growing and becoming the people who can have the tough conversations and take on these challenges lis what’s necessary to prevent divorce.

There’s no way my wife and I could survive as a couple today as the people we were 10 years ago. I barely resemble the person I was 10 years ago, aside from some of the essential good qualities that made me the man that my wife chose a decade ago. The challenges of our commitments and our lives forced me to go through a transformational process, with the love of our commitment to each other as the backbone, the reason to transform. What my wife withstood as I struggled and fought the process makes her the angel of my life. That today she is everything I ever fell in love with and so much more makes her the miracle of my life.

This is what it takes. Marriage will take you on quite a ride. You’ll infuriate and inspire each other equally and thrive on the other side of each challenge, grateful for your partnership, as long as you are a YES to the ride and a YES to who you can be for each other and who they can be for you. Divorces happen because people stop believing that they can be the one for their partner. We choose to be the one for them not from our displeasure with each other (not from fixing what we say is wrong), but from love. Divorces happen because we forget how much a difference love can make.

Reach 10 years because you say you will, because nothing will get in the way. Then every day, practice making your choices in life from that commitment. Choices like whether you will choose to create an(other) argument over something trivial, if you will eat that extra slice of pizza, will you help out cleaning up the living room, will you change the baby’s diaper now and not wait for him/her to do it, will you go for the promotion, will you learn what you need to be responsible for your finances, will you remember that you can be grateful for your partner’s commitment to you, even when it doesn’t look so wonderful that day.

It even works if you’re not yet married, if you choose that this is what you want in life. That will keep you out of the places you don’t belong, out of the relationships you don’t truly need to be in and out of the habit of complaining about what’s not working, which never solves anything.

Do you want to reach your 10th anniversary? What choices will you make today to ensure it?

 


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