Marriage is a bed of roses…but those roses come with thorns

Beautiful moments are shared within a marriage the rest of the world doesn’t get to see…

It’s as simple as this: “Don’t get divorced”

That was Jamie Lee Curtis’ answer when asked about how she has been able to stay married so long…to the same person.

However, if you’re married yourself, you understand how much easier it seems, at times, to end your marriage rather than stick it out for the long haul. I mean, really, what sane person squeezes the toothpaste tube that way! And OMG…if I have to listen to that story one more time, I’m going to scream!

Plus, with the rise of social media and the endless photos of everyone else’s seemingly perfect and happy lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking life outside of your vows will be so much better. So much easier. A bed of roses, right?

Interviews with couples who have been married over 40 years reveal that marriage IS a bed of roses, just like those fairy tales promised…but those roses come with thorns and everything else. And the thorns of life are not posted on Facebook.

Nor should they be.

You see, there are things shared within a marriage (good and not-so-good) the rest of the world doesn’t get to see. And many couples are perfectly fine with that because somehow broadcasting your daily lives seems to subtract from the experience.

“There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, only perfect moments.”

My husband and I are in our 33rd year of marriage. It’s something we are both proud of. Our greatest treasure is to be able to show to our children that even when things are tough, even though we are not perfect, we work together to honor each other, our marriage, and our family.

And we grow.

Just like many couples, we did a lot of things wrong. And like the couples who are fortunate enough to get to that 40-year mark, we do a lot of things right.

Fortunately, the ratio of bad to good is weighed to the positive side.

We spend time together. We take grand trips…sometimes just to the grocery store…sometimes to a faraway city. We laugh…a lot. We cry…a little. And with a subtle glance, or familiar body language, we can have a complete conversation.

Love is a four-letter word “G-I-V-E”

Give support. Give encouragement. Give space to grow. Give time. And, when appropriate…give ‘em hell.

In a nice way.

This goes way beyond buying a meal or giving a gift…although I’ll never turn down a glass of wine, a dozen roses, or new pair of running shoes.

It’s about understanding the core values and ultimate goals of your spouse and helping them live their life with integrity. In today’s landscape of altered values, filled with traps, predators, and “permission” to do what everyone else is doing, it’s too easy to get distracted.

There was a man I met not too long ago who started to get too familiar with me and I reminded him that I was married. His response? “So what…”

However, because I give my husband respect, and I respect my own values, it was very easy for me to walk away from that situation.

When you give your spouse a part of you nobody else is privy to, when they admire who you are and appreciate your values, you build a level of intimacy into your marriage which goes way beyond the bedroom. It cements your commitment in a way that keeps you out of the courtroom.

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me…everyday.” ~The Notebook

It may be hard…but not too hard.

It can also be full of joy, and adventure, and laughter, and love. And after 30-some odd years of life together doing this thing called marriage…your husband may look at you and say, “The first woman I chose is the best choice…still.”

And you’ll realize this journey you are sharing with a person you made promises to you when you didn’t really understand what those promises meant, is imperfectly perfect and you will not exchange that for anything else.