Momfession: Marriage to the 8th Degree

Wedding Day

Yesterday I was moving some dates around in my calendar and I realized that next month is my wedding anniversary. Just as that date seems to slip up on me every year, so too did these last eight years. Where did the time go? It seems like we’ve lived a thousand lifetimes since our wedding day: we’ve bought and sold multiple homes and lived through a couple of remodels. We’ve changed jobs and started companies, we’ve made babies and parented them, shakily at times into good little boys. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve screamed at each other. Out of our mouths have come things that are kind and beautiful and uplifting and we’ve also cut each other to the quick, and more than once, said things we both wish we could take back. What a ride it’s been, what a long way we’ve come since that sunny afternoon in May not so long ago. Truth be told, we’ve both grown up so much and learned a lot about each other and ourselves along this path. For what it’s worth, here are some of my favorite lessons from along the way, one for every year we’ve been together.

1. Free To Be You And Me – One of our biggest issues early on is that Dave and I had very different opinions on what it meant to be husband and wife. He was raised in a very traditional home and fairly soon after we got married it became apparent he expected me to handle the majority of the household chores… cooking, cleaning, etc. Since I was working 40+ hours a week just like he was, I expected us to be equal partners. There were a few blow ups before we finally realized the issue was a miscommunication about what we both expected out of each other. We learned to accept each other for who were are, not who we imagined our spouse would be… we also learned that hiring a housekeeper is an untold secret to marital bliss.

Best Buddies

2. Best Friends Forever - My husband and I have been best friends since we met each other ten years ago. We still talk and text all day long like we’re 16 years old, and no one makes me laugh like he does. I think of him as my friend first and my husband second the idea being that we’re often nicer, easier, more catering to our friends than we might be to our spouse. I can’t imagine what my world would be like if he wasn’t there to brighten my day, and since it’s a friendship I value deeply, I work hard to be the kind of friend I’d like to have.

A Very Angry Baby Sawyer

3. Kids are the Best/ and the Worst – Alright, don’t go calling social services on me. I love my boys more than anything on this earth, that being said, nothing has ever been harder on our marriage then the first six months after our first baby was born. You’re exhausted, and overwhelmed and you tend to take out your frustrations on each other. It’s the toughest road we’ve walked but slowly sleep and sanity returned and I realized there really isn’t anyone else I’d want to be in this fox hole with but him. Having a baby will put your marriage through the ringer, and if you’re lucky, you’ll come out the other end stronger for it.

4. Keep Dating – If there’s one piece of advice I’ve heard Dave give other men over and over it’s “keep dating your wife”. I love hearing his reasoning behind this and I love that it’s a mantra he feels so passionately about. You will without a doubt become overwhelmed with bills and kids and dogs and rent and keeping up with your job and keeping up with the laundry and it’s easy to get to a place where you don’t even remember why you liked this person in the first place. Dave and I have tried to be pretty strict with a weekly date, even if that’s as simple as a trip to the local diner by ourselves. For that brief respite we stow our blackberry’s and enjoy each others company and remember what it was like to be young and in love.

5. Make It a Priority – Ok readers, I’m talking about sex, don’t be appalled. I might offend some people when I say this but I believe sex is vital to a happy marriage. Now I know there are times in my life where it is literally the last thing I’d be interested (those 6 months post baby number one come to mind) but connecting on that level is essential to everything else. Remember when you first met and you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? Remember the way he used to kiss your neck and it made your toes curl? If you don’t, ask him to remind you.

6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – You know that bumper sticker “don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff”, cheesy yes, but accurate as well. I hate fighting, and I hate drama and so unless he’s really done something to piss me off (or I’m really hormonal) I’m not going let it agitate me. I don’t want the kind of marriage where we bicker over everything from chores, to who’s tidier to who’s turn it is to put the kids to bed so I’m forgiving of his little faults and he’s forgiving of mine and we strive to enjoy each other rather than find reasons to pick each other apart.


7. I’m Not Perfect – I know, it comes as a shock, even to me but if I’ve learned one thing on this journey it’s that I mess up too. I can be pretty self righteous and it’s extremely hard for me to admit that I’m wrong but I realized that if I expected Dave to fess up when he was in the wrong then I’d have to swallow my pride and learn how to do that as well.

8. You’re Entitled to Your Feelings – It took me a long time to understand that just because I don’t agree with Dave’s feelings, it doesn’t diminish his right to them and vice versa. This is an important lesson for any relationship you have. You might think it’s ludicrous that your mom is hurt that you’re spending this holiday with your in-laws (especially since you’ve spent the last three with her) but that doesn’t change that she feels that way. Learn to accept your spouses point of view, and allow them their emotions because you’d expect the same thing in return.

For better or worse, those are some of the lessons I’ve picked up along the way. Do you agree? Or Disagree? Have I missed something vital?? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.


6 Responses to “Momfession: Marriage to the 8th Degree”

  1. Diane archer

    Great lessons we all need to learn.
    I can think of only one thing I wish someone had shared with me early on. We tend to show our love and appreciation of others in the way we like to be loved and appreciated and This isn’t always the same from person to person…example….when Ron and I were newly married, I would “do” things or “buy” little things he mentioned he would like to have as a token of my affection. He would “tell” me thank you for everything i did and “tell” me how beautiful I was. Now, I’m not knocking the verbal praise, but I was waiting for him to “do” dishes or “buy” me a necklace, and he was waiting for me to “tell” him thank you for paying the bills or dealing with the insurance.
    It’s not always easy to love others the way they liked to be loved…it takes practice.
    Ps….this is true with your kids too. :)

  2. Kelly W

    So true! My husband and I will be married 7 years this June. We decided early on that if we do have a fight, we need to fight fair, as in no name calling. When you take the catty name calling out you find yourself actually verbalizing the problem you have with that other person. Also, we don’t keep score, aka: who did the last nice thing for the other. Plus, we give each other alone time, without the spouse/kids etc. It could be a girls/guys night out or just getting out by yourself. We respect each other and that’s what I love most about our relationship. Plus, we are the best of friends and call each other first. Don’t tell my girlfriends ;)

  3. Brenda

    You’re wise beyond your years…and blessed to have each other.
    Here’s another lesson…learn to treat your partner as an honored guest in your life. When we have an honored guest visiting, we allow them the freedom to make their own choices & to come & go as they please and we give them our best. The more freedom they have to discover themselves, the more they enjoy being with us.

  4. Katina

    Rachel, thanks for sharing your tried and true nuggets of wisdom. It is great to hear people be a honest about marriage. I am currently single but find that either people are overly negative or just really quiet about their affairs. You strike a great balance of being discreet yet open.

  5. Amanda

    Rach – I feel like I’ve had like a front row seat, watching you both since you started dating, had the absolute honor and privilege of being in your wedding and getting to hear all the other life developments and details during long phone calls. I can absolutely attest to how hard I know you both work at your relationship. I learn something about relationships and marriage every time, EVERY.TIME, I talk to you. And without a doubt, 100%, it is obvious that you and Dave just enjoy each other so much – enjoy being together, enjoy making each other laugh, and enjoy the successes your respective careers have brought you both. My David and I LOVE being around you both because you genuinely like each other and it’s so refreshing, and sadly, more rare than common. (at least in our world). I am so proud of you and how hard I know you work at everything and the honesty and transparency with which you live your life. I am honored to be your friend and I can’t wait to see you soon! God bless!

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