Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Secrets to a Happy Marriage: 1.5 Years In

In honor of this week's national discussion on the right to marry, I'd like to do something I'm completely unqualified to do: Dole out unsolicited marriage advice...

As my last Weekending post revealed, Flavio and I are not without our moments of marital strife. I am hotheaded and can go from 0 to 60 in no time flat. I cry and want to talk/bark things out immediately. Flavio is the opposite. He is a silent storm, quiet and contemplative in the heat of the moment. I want answers and solutions right now. He wants time and physical distance, which makes me crazy. Obviously, my putting up my dukes and his running away won't solve any problems. {Although, his approach of bringing-things-down-a-notch before continuing is obviously the superior option.} So tonight, I fed my beloved some wine and coyly asked him, "What do you think makes for a happy marriage?" He got suspicious, laughed and told me it was a "loaded question", and pretended to be too busy to answer. I asked again and he replied with a word both surprising and wise:  Balance.

Here's his take:

"What I like most about our marriage is our sense of balance. A happy marriage means the two people stay balanced between being both individuals and partners. You can't lose your individuality - that's what attracted you in the first place and that's what makes you a good partner. By staying an individual in the partnership, you balance each other complement each other. We have similar interests, but then we also like doing things apart. We have serious conversations, but then we laugh and make fun of things together. You're sensitive and feeling, and I'm practical and logical. You like to talk and I like to listen. You like to bake and I like to cook. You do the dishes and... you do the dishes. Balance."

Ha! Is he a wizard, or what? So insightful.

Here's my take:

The secret to a happy marriage comes from realizing it's not all rainbows and roses. There are good days and bad days but if you're in it for the long haul, you realize the bad days don't mean doom, they mean an opportunity to grow together. When there are tough times, and there definitely will be, you have to work through it together. And sometimes, you just have to let stuff go {I'm still working on this part}. Even after our worst fights, after I've cooled down a bit, I see the bigger picture, the 50+ years in front of us, and I'm never left questioning whether things are going to be okay. I know they're going to be okay because I know we have a solid foundation and we will work through the rough patches together.

Advice in a nutshell: Remaining an individual in the marriage makes you a better partner; see the bigger picture and work through the tough times together. That's our advice, a mere one year and eight months into marriage. Not like we really know what we're talking about yet. Check back with us in 20 years.

For a more qualified take on marital bliss, this article on 15 Marriage Secrets is enlightening and funny. And here's my mom's best marriage advice.

I hope the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality this week. We all have the right to marriage's tribulations and triumphs.

Thanks for reading. If you have any tips for a happy relationship, I'd love to hear. xo

{Photo above from our wedding day: July 22, 2011}

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