30 years of marriage...

Jan 16, 2023

I am getting a bit personal today.

Yesterday Lewis and I celebrated our 30th anniversary and 36 years plus one day of being us. 

It is not lost on us how grateful and lucky we are for our health and good fortune to be able to celebrate this milestone.

But as far as our approach to our relationship and compatibility goes, no luck has been involved.  Nope, it’s taken self awareness, maturity, and work. Lots of all three.

I used to minimize this, but no longer. 
I am serving no one if I don't share the way we have built a strong marriage.
Or rather, my role in weakening the marriage and then strengthening it. 

We know it was a combo of luck and God that we even met on NYE 36 years ago.  (esp given what I was wearing ... a pencil skirt, my mom’s silk blouse up to my neck, pantyhose and heels… #offtointerview?) What about that outfit screams, “This gal is going to be a load of fun?” 

He became my first boyfriend.
Sounds romantic, but that means I’d never practiced being in a relationship and I had a lot of ideas exactly how one “should’ go … Please, I’d read a shit ton of Seventeen magazine.I, however, was not his first girlfriend… wink wink.

We married January 2, 1993.
I was 24. He was 26.
I worked in college admissions.
Lewis sold Volvos.

My parents thought I was too young.

His parents thought it unfair to get married and have me support him for four years as he was to begin medical school 8 months later. 

Fortunately, I didn’t feel too young and we didn’t think our situation was unfair. 
It was the beginning of us trusting us.

Our 30 years has been filled with joy and struggle. We’ve benefitted from therapy, individually and together, experienced deep loss, unmet expectations, personal and professional setbacks, and yet… disconnecting from each other was never an option. It was unspoken really, but we both knew that neither of us was going anywhere, no matter how much stress the other was putting on the relationship. 

But, I must take full responsibility for a huge shift in our relationship …
15 years ago I stopped trying to change Lewis.
I stopped reading aloud from my manual and thinking silently how he should speak, think, act, dance, parent, work, vote, etc… 

Sound honorable eh?
No, I agree. it doesn’t.
It sounds like arrogance. 
Which is exactly what it was. 

Not sure why I thought I knew better.
But, I sure thought I did. 

And what followed gradually, over years, is an unwinding of my huge ball of judgment. (my manual for how everything and everyone around me “should” be.)  Man, it was like the best massage where all your tension is released. And you feel like you could float off the land.

What replaced judgment was curiosity.
What replaced entitlement was love.
What replaced superiority was humbleness.
What replaced frustration was fun.

Byron Katie shares that when we argue with reality, we lose 100% of the timeless. We create our own suffering. I know first hand I was doing this in my marriage. And then when I took the “I know better” glasses off everything seemed easier and brighter and more fun. 

And here's the thing. He was never trying to change me.
I mean he didn't love that I didn't like soccer or reading Ayn Rand,
but he didn't make it mean anything about me.
And years later I love watching soccer with him and
I'm a fan of Rand...
He didn't force and look what happened?

How does this sound to you?
If you are feeling frustration or pain or let down in a relationship, before you make any huge decisions (and I’m assuming no abuse, addiction, or mental illness), I invite you check in with yourself and see where you may have a manual for how the other person is to act, say, be, love you. 

Choose your non negotiables and then release all other expectations.
At least for a few weeks and see if you feel shifts.
It is a far easier way to live. 

There is more ease and flow - in and out of the relationship.

And there is more time to invest in the relationship when you aren’t fighting what is or wishing the other would be different. #wasteoftime

This is my best personal example of mindset shifting I can share with you.
Nothing changed in our marriage day to day, except me.
My thoughts.
My feelings.
My actions.

And, yesterday we easily, happily, and rather uneventfully celebrated 30 years. No champagne was popped. We cleaned our house, went to Lowes, and the dump. Read a little. We ate a quick pasta dinner with Anna Kate. We played a lot of bananagrams. We didn’t pose for instagram. We didn’t declare our love on facebook. We just kept looking at each other and saying thank you.  (we do have a trip planned for later in the month where there will be oodles of champagne though…)

Lewis is a most generous, opinionated, bold, sometimes overly confident, kind, honest, hard working, chatty, moody, disorganized, handsome man.

Thank goodness he didn’t buckle to my requests to be more this and less that.
Thank goodness he was confident enough to just continue to be all of him.
Part of him knew better and part of him is stubborn. Good for him. 

And, thank goodness I found books and coaching and invested in observing other relationships to become who I wanted to be in my marriage. 

You don’t get yesterday back.
How do you want today to look different than yesterday?
Where do you want to elevate?
A relationship with yourself, another, your career?

What can you release on your way to allowing more flow and ease in that relationship? Where can you take your hand off the driver’s wheel? Where can you let go of control, worry, judging?

Once identified, what would it take for you to try it out?
And, what do you have to lose if you don’t try it out?

Hugs my friend,
If you want your future to feel more fun and easy than you past, this is step one.
All my love, 

P.S. I don’t understand why folks would live with pain or frustration or dis-ease when it is all optional.  I guess some don’t realize those feelings are all optional. You can keep spending on externals to feel better (clothes, vacations, food, wine, spa days, bigger house) or you can shift from the inside.

When I learned that I could exchange a bit of money and time in the grand scheme of my life to release those feelings, I ran to do so. I wonder what my life would look like if I hadn’t invested in me, in releasing, in accepting what is and not forcing what isn’t? Thanks goodness I don’t have to know. 

If you want to chat about what this would look like for you, let’s chat. No pressure.  I just want to scream from every rooftop —— your life is full of possibilities, opportunities, endless love, abundance, and joy … don’t get in your own way and prevent any of the above.

And, if you have kids, learning how to take complete ownership of shifting is a life long gift to them. 

Big love.