The Year of Fruit & Flowers
Traditionally marked by Hallmark, as far as anniversaries go, year four belongs to fruit and flowers. Beyond any year we've been together (dating for 7, married for 4) this has been our year in bloom.
I'd like to think that I'm not the only one who takes time to sit back and reflect on milestones, and each year as July 27th approaches I do, in fact, reflect a lot about the health of our marriage. I'm a total cheeseball in the sense of anniversary traditions. I like to look them up and give gifts accordingly based on the theme-- paper, cotton, etc. You can look it up here. But this year, I actually thought about how our year reflected fruit and flowers, instead of buying them. This year has been different. Our marriage has been a beautiful journey, strung together by love, light-heartedness, laughter, and struggle. I think some years there can be downright drought, weeds, tornadoes, and storms... but for us this year was different.
This year didn't come without it's set of storms and weeds, it just seems like this year we've been actively pulling weeds and taking refuge during the storm. This year, we organically began to thrive in our roles as husband & wife, dad & mom, Casey & Diana, and cultivated our marriage. (I really hope you're diggin' this garden metaphor as much as I am-- see I can't stop!!) And we've learned a few things along our journey that I'd like to share:
- SERVE. This has been, hands down, the most rewarding part of our marriage. Somewhere along our journey together, I realized I wasn't in a marriage to only make myself happy (this is why I take time to practice self-love). I'm grateful for the beautiful life we've created together-- a life of adventure, love, and play, and by serving my husband through Acts of Service (his love language), kindness, and compassion I have seen our connection blossom. Marriage is a two way street, and I know that the more I take care of myself, the better I can serve those around me. Each day I try to be thoughtful and intentional with my actions and come from a place of love.*
*When I'm too hot and too hungry usually my kindness depletes. This is what's so great about balance though, because Casey loves the heat and he doesn't get evil when he's hungry like I do. :)
- COMPROMISE. Picking my battles has been something that really puts things in perspective for me. I also have to ask myself, " How important is this?" This is a lesson I think I will practice for a long time before it comes second nature. I'm the oldest and kinda inherently bossy... so, I'll be working on this for a while.
- 100%. Have you ever heard that a relationship or a marriage should be 50/50? Well, before Casey and I got married a friend’s dad told me that sometimes a marriage will be 60/40. He said "some days your partner may only be capable of 40%, and you're there to help them through that time- that's when you become the 60%." Lots of people gave us lots of different advice when we first got married and when we were engaged, but for some reason, this always stayed with me. Maybe it's because it was comforting knowing that if I had a bad day, I count on someone to help me through it, and vice versa. A great marriage always tries for 100% all the time, but to me, it's a switch off between 60/40, 40/60, and in the best of times-- 50/50.
- LAUGH AT YOURSELF. I remember sitting in the car recently when Casey made a joke at my expense, which are usually my favorite types of jokes. But this time was different, this time I got so pissed. He just looked at me and asked, “Where did my light-hearted wife go?” Ah, his question stung. Why had I been taking myself so seriously lately? However, this question really offered great reflection. Since he asked me this, I've laughed at myself more, and chose my battles carefully and kindly.
- LOOK WITHIN. One time about two months ago Casey and I were getting into lots of little arguments and I distinctly remember at one point he asked me why I was being so overly critical of him, and I couldn’t think of anything. Upon further reflection (because obviously I couldn’t let this go), and investigation with the help of some very trusted girlfriends I finally figured it out-- it had everything to do with me. I was unhappy with little things about myself-- my work, the transition from school to summer, my eating habits, spending choices, etc. Everything that reflected what I didn’t like about myself or that I was stressed about caused me to project, and lemme tell you-- I didn’t like it. It also caused some controlling behaviors (re: me telling him how I think he should be doing things). Listen here friends, if there is one thing anyone else hates in the entire world it’s being told what to do. Why did I think I could change him, his mind, his ways, his parenting… etc.? And seriously, why would I want to? I married him for a reason: because he’s a super awesome human being that fills my life with love and light. Sometimes, when it feels like there isn’t a rhyme or reason to our tempers, arguments, unsettledness, and insecurities, that’s when I know I need to look within. I need to take a step back, reflect on my life, and take care of myself, because when I love myself, I love others. I’m basically rendered useless in the love department when I’m loathing myself in a dark corner.
- APOLOGIZE & MEAN IT. Don’t just say sorry because you feel like you have to or because you’re expecting an apology back. When you’re wrong, admit it, move on, let it go, learn from your mistakes, and roll with it.
- LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. We worked through a lot together during year 3. Through the help of my life coach, Jen Wille, and other different mentors, I've learned a lot about taking care of myself. By recognizing what I need, I am creating a space where I am better able to give, and encourage others to take time for themselves (re: husband). And I think that's what makes me so grateful for year 4.
Some days still feel like weeds and storms, but when I start to feel the roots thicken and the rain falling on my shoulders, I start to remember that I love fruit and flowers and the blossom that comes with it. I love the journey... I love our journey. Happy 4th anniversary my love, and cheers to the year of fruit and flowers.