The Happy Marriage Chronicles
I have a great marriage. It is filled with love, upset, exhaustion, joy, disappointment, growth, laughter, tears and possibility. In other words, it’s real. Hey, I said it was great. I did not say it was perfect. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as perfect. But our marriage comes pretty damn close if you ask me.
My husband and I just celebrated our nine-year wedding anniversary. We dated for four years before that. To say that we’ve been through some stuff would be an understatement. Whew! We’ve dealt with everything from the death of loved ones, to infertility, to loss of income, to major relationship testers. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, but we’re still together. And better for it.
Many of our friends have told us that ours is a relationship they hope to emulate in their own. What an honor that sentiment is! And one we don’t take lightly. Because we know how difficult it can be, in this day and age, to find the “one” for you. And we know how fortunate we are to have found our “one” in each other.
So how do we make it work, you ask? Well, we make it work by doing the work to make it work. And that work is ongoing and ever-changing. Who we were when we met is a far cry from who we are now almost 14 years later. Our relating to each other had to evolve, just as we evolved individually. The foundation of our happy marriage is great communication. Raw, honest, loving, possibility-filled communication. We wouldn’t have made it this far had we not learned how to communicate well with each other.
Thankfully, we sought out tools early in our marriage that taught us how to communicate more effectively with each other. We read books such as “The 5 Love Languages” and attended communication courses at Landmark Education to strengthen our communication skills. And to this day, both of those things continue to aid us in how we talk to and about each other. Reading “The 5 Love Languages” made us aware of each other’s “love style” and gave us much-needed insight into how to process the way in which we express our love to one another. The communication courses we took were freaking amazing! They, amongst many other things, taught us that we are responsible for the communication around us. How we communicate individually and how others communicate around us is our responsibility. Learning that made us keenly aware of what we said and how we said it. What a great lesson!
Another key component is our marriage is teamwork. We both lead very busy lives. My husband is a stage manager for live television shows and he works long hours. I’ve jumped back into the modeling, acting and women’s empowerment arena recently, after having been off for almost three years to have and stay home with our sons. And having our sons has only made our lives busier. Yet we’ve found a way to allow each other to flourish in our careers and in our roles as Mommy and Daddy, all while allowing each other “downtime” so that we can refresh ourselves from the exhaustion that doing all we do can bring. Not to mention that my husband is an excellent father and shoulders the responsibility of caring for our boys with a passion. What mother wouldn’t love and appreciate that in a partner?
But please don’t think that it’s all hard work and exhaustion in the Hines household. Oh no! We have tons of fun around here! And I believe that having that foundation of joy in our marriage is another key reason why our relationship has lasted as long as it has. We embrace each other’s quirks and revel in each other’s silliness. We aren’t afraid to express ourselves, and we allow our inner child free reign to run free. And the best part is that our sons get to witness this uninhibited glee and have begun to do the same. My three men and I go full out in the merriment department, and our doing so is one of the greatest joys of my life.
Every marriage is different, just as every person is different. I believe each couple has to do what works for them. It’s their responsibility to do the work necessary to maintain their happiness. I told my husband a long time ago that I take my role as his life partner very seriously. I understood early on that we are “doing” life together. How his life unfolds is partially up to me. What a wonderful responsibility! That awareness continues to fuel the type of wife I am to him and I believe that he does the same.
I know how fortunate I am to have found this amazing man. And I will continue to shower him with appreciation as he does for me. We’ve got a great thing here and I know it’s only going to get better.
As they say, “Happy Wife/Happy Life”…and I am truly a happy wife. Thank you Mr. Hines. I love you.
Photo Courtesy of Tomiko Fraser Hines