How will I help my children know what to look for in a lifelong partner and spouse?
I seem to constantly examine, and reexamine, my life choices. Personally I have made a plethora of decisions that lead me to where I am right now. I could have done better at school. I shouldn’t have thrown away a semester of credits just because I had no plans of returning to college. I should have stood up for more of my beliefs. I wish I’d have been nicer to others. I shouldn’t have tried to “fit in” so much. I wish I would have realized the potential of my relationship with my husband sooner.
These are not regrets, mind you. I just wish I could have listened to my inner self more as I was growing. I’m proud of who I am and how I’ve become to be me at this stage in my life. That last wish in the previous paragraph has me thinking about my children and their futures. How can I help them find love, pure love, in a husband or wife?
Please note: I love everything there is about my husband. Even the parts I hate, I love. I would not be the woman I am now if I hadn’t ever known this man, the way I know him now. I would most likely be a lost soul.
When they say “opposites attract” they mean it, and to the very extreme in our case. When we first dated I hardly spoke or made eye contact with him because I was easily embarrassed if he caught me enjoying myself. I’m surprised it lasted, let’s just put it that way. He’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. He’s an engineer and I’m an artist. Decisions for me are based on emotion, he’s very practical. The list goes on and on. We’re different, but it works.
My husband gets a real thrill out of seeing others have a good time. He loved hosting all of the high school and college parties, and tries to play matchmaker every now and then, and he’s actually pretty genuine in his intentions. Having no problem walking up to strangers for an introduction, he is great at putting himself out there for the world to meet. All of this makes him the successful person he is, and that would be why we are in Tulsa, OK instead of our quaint hometown in Missouri. He has helped us create a new life and new friendships here by literally asking a guy to spot him while at the gym. This same man and his wife are now one of our greatest friends in Tulsa. They’re considered aunt and uncle to our munchkins. Needless to say, if I lived here on my own, I’d be lonely.
So I said before, “I wish I would have realized the potential my relationship with my husband sooner.” Being so different from one another makes me feel like a failure. I don’t flourish in those same ways. Being so different makes me resent his thought process, because if I don’t make a practical decision he disputes it and then I believe that he believes it’s wrong, or worse I begin to believe it’s wrong. We started our first year of marriage on the lowest notes. It was a sad first year, in my opinion. The honeymoon period was our five days on the actual honeymoon, then hell followed. There were constant arguments over petty ideas. Not only did he and I think differently, we were at different stages of adulthood. That first year of marriage I was still very dependent on my parents and family. I didn’t know any other way. That whole year I thought many times, “what did I do?”, “we were obviously not meant for one another.”, “I knew it wasn’t going to be a fairy tale, but never anticipated this!” It was dreadful. I struggle to write all the heartbreaking stuff, as I don’t want to paint an outrageously frightful image of my husband (and because family is probably reading this), but things really felt hopeless most days. I know it was “most” of that first year because, sadly, I tallied.
Fast forward to today. We’ve been married eight years and have four kids. Life as a married couple has gotten much better and much worse all at the same time. The difference today is my attitude. Awhile back I wrote an article about Making Happiness for Myself. It’s all true. You have to change your attitude in order to see passed your flaws as well as your spouse’s flaws. Today, I can decide to live a happy life. Working on my happiness has caused my family an abundance of joy.
So, how will I help my children know what to look for in a lifelong partner and spouse? I will tell them our stories of turmoil and disorder in their parents’ marriage. I will show them how I love myself and can take pride in the things I do without judgment towards others. I will share techniques on accepting other ways of thinking and doing simple tasks. I will teach patience along with the power of learning. Most importantly I will love my husband openly with affection so my children will see, because love isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
You see, I cannot tell my children what to do and how to live, but I can show them by example. Let us all be examples to one another on how to love and be loved.