On August 9th of this year, Nabil and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary. In many ways it seems like we have been together so long that we know each other better than any one else, and to be fair, that's true. We were together for 6 years before we got married. We grew up together. We became the people that we are today, together. And then on the other hand, I feel like our wedding was just last year. Time has flown this last couple of years, and I really don't see it slowing down any time soon.
Over the years though, we have learned a thing or two about being married and how to basically rock the whole thing. So in honor of 7 years of marriage, and 13 1/2 years together, I'm bestowing 7 gems of wisdom onto the interwebs.
7. Every thing is the hardest thing
This is a weird one, and sometimes I'm still on shock about how much people project their own struggles in a relationship onto someone else's life. But it happens, a lot. Every single year we hear something different about how we are about to embark on the hardest part of marriage. "Being engaged is the real test", "The first couple of years are the hardest", "Year three is always when you start fighting", "This year is when the real work starts", "Marriage has years of difficulties. It takes lots of hard work", "the 7 year itch...", "Don't have kids, they ruin a marriage", "Hurry and have kids to save your marriage", etc.
To be frank, we have learned that everyone is full of shit. You make your own relationship. You have your own ups and downs, your own twists and turns. Your journey is your own. Make it what you want. Tune out the crap as much as you can and focus on the person across the table. Nabil and I take the time to focus on one another and our relationship, but it no way would I consider it "hard work". In fact, when we put in the time, it comes pretty easy.
6. Communication, blah, blah, blah...
This one is cliche. Sorry, but it's for real. We talk a lot. We talk about family, career, politics, our house, and the future. We talk and make each other laugh. We talk about how to communicate better, about finances, about sex, about kids (or no kids). We talk about where we want to live, our hopes and dreams, and social issues. We have inside jokes and movie quotes from way too long ago that we've already forgotten where they originated, but it still makes us laugh. We talk without talking.
Here's the thing. We talk because we want to be on the same page. We check in with each other and want to be there for one another. He's usually the first person I tell when I'm upset or frustrated or stumped or excited. We talk so we know each other and so we change together.
5. THIS IS IT
I would put this not just as advice for marriage, but also advice for life. You have one life. One chance with limited time on earth. You're the one who has to live with your choices. Take it and make it the best you can! Don't waste your time being where that doesn't make you happy or being with someone who isn't good for you.
I don't want to look back at my life in 15 years and say "why did I spend so much time in that job?", or "...with that person?", or "...letting that happen?" Live the life you want to live. You only get one. This is it. Make it a goal to look back at your life in 15, 20, and 40 years and say "ya, I'm pretty damn good at this whole living thing". When you pick a partner, find a person who also has that same goal.