Tag Archives: marriage

Twenty Years of Greatness

No, I haven’t been writing for twenty years.

I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 7,305 days. We’ve had our ups and downs (obviously), but the truth: I’ve never been happier than I am right now. Despite my flaws and his flaws and my strengths and his, we have vowed to make this thing called marriage work. And work it does.

Cat’s Guide to a Happy Marriage

  • Never, ever go into it with an out. In other words, ditch the idea that “if it doesn’t work, we can always get divorced.” This thought process dooms you from the start. Marriage isn’t to be taken lightly. It isn’t a passing fancy. It’s a commitment. So either commit or stay friends.
  • Never, ever go to bed angry. And no, I’m not talking fight so you can have make-up sex. That’s twisted and wrong. Instead, discuss your feelings openly and honestly. What is working and what isn’t? How can you fix what’s broken? How can you make what’s amazing even better? It might be hard at first, but the more you talk, the better you’ll get at it.
  • Never, ever hold a grudge. If you truly go to bed each night without anger, this should never be a problem. If it is, you’re in for a poisonous relationship. Grudges don’t help. They strangle any and all things good. Translating this further, when you do fight, leave all the old crap behind. Don’t bring up “that one time when we were dating and you said….” Deal with it. Get over it. Move on.
  • Always respect your significant other. Always. It doesn’t mean you have to agree all the time. It simply means that you are two individuals with two distinct personalities and each of you deserve to be handled with care. Marriage is not the place to ignore each other, throw temper tantrums, manipulate or abuse. It’s a partnership.
  • Which brings me to this: always remember that marriage is a partnership. It’s not a tit for tat. It’s not you against him. It’s not a tally sheet or a check book. It is, however, a relationship of give and take. You give because you want to. He will do the same. Trust me on this, nothing is more satisfying than your partner’s happiness and when he’s happy, he’ll do everything in his power to make you happy.
  • Always keep in mind your goals. Raise kids. Buy a house. Own a dog. Vacation twice a year. Financial freedom. Career growth. When you know what you want, it’s easier to achieve it. If you have no goals, you might find yourself mired down in the quicksand of “then what’s the point?”
  • Never, ever forget that anything worth having in life takes hard work and dedication. Seriously. Marriage is hard. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows (or bloody Mary’s and martinis). Sometimes it’s more like pole skunks and port-a-potties.  But, going through the bad makes you appreciate the good. And even if your neighbor makes marriage look like a constant beach party, I guarantee you even they have moments where Hell would be a preferable vacation spot.
  • Always keep your distance. (Say what?) Marriage brings two amazing spirits together in one union. Without the spunk and individuality of the two, your marriage is doomed. Give him his time to hang with the boys. Let her savor quiet moments of uninterrupted time to read a book without guilt. Keep your distance or your personalities will merge into one gloppy, boring mess.
  • And for the love of all things dear, do not act like a parent. I am not my husband’s mother. I have no right to tell him what he can or cannot do. I have no right to micromanage his life. Conversely, he’s not my father. I don’t have to ask permission and I don’t deserve guilt trips for making “wrong choices.” Why on God’s green earth would anyone marry his parent? Repeat after me: marriage is a partnership. Equality reigns supreme. We ask each other’s opinions and we never act without the consent of the other–not because we have to, but because we respect each other.
  • Always have fun together. When the kids are gone, the house is paid for, promotions are received and you hit that existential time in your life to reflect back on what it all means, you don’t want to roll over and wonder who the heck is sharing your bed. The opposite of keeping your distance is to get to know your partner, be with your partner and share your life stories with her. Don’t lose yourself, but also, don’t lose each other.

I love my husband. I respect him and care deeply for him. I truly look forward to the next twenty forty years.

Happy anniversary to anyone in a committed, loving relationship. You rock my socks off!

Please share your tips and trick to making your partnership work.

Submitting, Marriage and Deli Sandwiches

On the way home from New Orleans, we stopped at a gas station.  I grabbed a turkey sandwich to appease my hunger.  Before taking my first bite, I glanced down and realized the bun was moldy.  It had expired a week previous. 

When I returned it to the cashier, she was more than a little grumpy and acted as if I had offended her by asking for a refund.  Even though I didn’t gripe or accuse, she took it personally.  By the way she was acting, I’m sure it ruined her afternoon.

Today, DH and I celebrate 18 years of marriage.  Over the course of the years, we have learned to let the little things go.  We have learned to understand the situation and ferret out how it relates to us.  In other words, we don’t take our spouse’s bad days personally and no longer get offended over things outside our control.

These two seemingly unrelated things–marriage and moldy deli sandwiches–reminded me of the submission process.  As writers, it is our responsibility to put forth our best manuscript.  However, acceptance or rejection by an agent is outside our control. 

We must learn to gracefully accept our returned manuscripts and not waste valuable time and emotions by getting offended.  Instead, we need to simply acknowledge that not all agents like moldy turkey on wheat.  We need to understand that many variables outside the quality of our manuscripts actually impact the decision to accept or reject.  We need to discontinue taking rejections (and even critiques) personally.

Only then can we gracefully remain in the writing biz for eighteen years and still enjoy the process.  Only then can we wave off a moldy sandwich without causing a scene.  And only then can we enjoy the ebb and flow of all that life–and writing–throws our way.

hugs~

Trash and Marriage

When I think of love, I think of my garbage can and my dish drainer.  Seriously.  Eighteen years ago this summer, DH and I married in a beautiful garden ceremony. 

Immediately afterward, we set up house and put our gifts to good use.  Over the years, we’ve had to replace rugs as fashions changed, toasters as they wore out and furniture to accomodate our growning family.

Yet two things (besides our seven crystal bowls) remain the same.  Our blue garbage can and our blue dish drainer.  DH claims that when these things need replaced it will be the end of our marriage.

I hope he’s wrong, but there’s a small part of me that believes in some way, these two items are the cement that holds our family together.

Consider this.  Crystal bowls are nice for…okay, when you know, let me know.  I’ve resorted to filling them with potato chips at birthday parties.  But my point is, they are not used often, nor are they necessary.  Any old bowl can hold a bag of Doritos.

But a garbage can?  Now that gets a workout every day.  We sweep the debris from our tables, our floors and our lives and cram it into the garbage can.  It’s a place to dump everything we don’t want.  It’s the perfect metaphor for getting rid of the baggage so we have room to hold onto the things we care about.

Then there’s the dish drainer.  Ugly and blue, yet utilitarian.  It, too, gets a daily workout.  Every day, we eat.  And every day, there are dishes to wash.  It’s a reminder of our family meals and the value of sharing our days’ experiences with the ones we love.

You can take my fickle rugs and tired toasters.  I’ll even lend you my crystal bowls.  But never will I part with my garbage can or my dish drainer.  They are far more than they seem and the two most important things in my life.

Without them, my marriage would be nothing but show–fancied up side dishes in a pretty bowl.  With them, I can withstand the hard work and the frustration that go along with sharing my life with another.  I can see past the difficulties and appreciate the nourishment at the end of each day.

Do you have similar items in your life that symbolize the commitments you’ve made?  If so, we’d love to hear about them.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the highest value is often placed on the least expected.