Mr. Reinvention and I have been together for 20 years now. Married for 18 of those years. When I tell people that fact their mouths go agape with a big breath in like we are some kind of circus sideshow freaks. I guess in the current climate of love and marriage we are unique.
You see, not only are we still happily married but we still adore each other. We love hanging out with each other and yes everyone, we still have an active and fulfilling sex life.
Am I implying that our partnership has come easily? Oh Hell No! Don’t get it twisted!
In fact, I will be the first to ruin some lovesick newly engaged schmuck with the buzz killer quote, “Marriage is hard!”. Then smugly watch the infatuation melt off their face for a split second.
But that is the basic truth of marriage: Partnership is hard and marriage is a tremendous amount of work. Our relationship requires constant vigilance and nurturing. Continuous effort both pleasurable and toilsome. But the payoff is that you are locked into a bond of unconditional love, care and protection for everything life throws your direction.
Our marriage is an evolving creature in constant flux. It grows and at times regresses.
Mr.Reinvention and I literally grew up together, grew wiser together, grew lighter together. We went into our relationship hopelessly, disgustingly in love. We felt unstoppable, untouchable. And life laughed in our young naive faces and threw us the gamut. Death, family drama, financial stress, me in college, family drama. Did I mention family drama? A cycle of bullshit that just kept coming.
We endured but when the dust settled we were ravaged, haggard and broken.
I think the only connections keeping us together was our deep love and the fact that we did not want to prove everyone who told us we were too young to marry right. We didn’t want to be like our parents, who could form a sports teams comprised of ex’s. Fuck that!
How did the Comeback Kids comeback, you ask?
Here is what I would tell my younger self on the other side of it all:
- You and your partner and your relationship are now number one. Family obligations are to each other, ONLY. As Mr. Reinvention says, “You are my family. Everyone else is a relative.”.
- Recognize the emotional baggage you bring into the marriage. And yes, you are bringing shit with you. Try to address and heal from those issues so that you do not sabotage your relationship. Remember both of you are still little hurting children inside who are holding onto fear and pain.
- Your partner is not your enemy! I know- god do I know! In the thick of a heated exchange you may feel attacked. Your inner self may feel as if your partner is out to hurt and destroy you. So you respond with instinctual animalistic behavior that drives you both further apart from each other. Stop! Breathe! Walk away! Cool off!
- COMMUNICATION……could be its very own blog post. To this very day most, if not all of our disagreements come back to basic miscommunication. Talk often. Speak kindly. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Remain open.
- Touch each other. Stay in physical contact and gaze into each other eyes throughout the day.
- Play and work together. Have fun! Joke and tease! Don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t let life get in the way of spending time together.
- Do not reject sex unless it is for a legitimate reason. “I’m tired” is not a legitimate reason.
- Seek help. Mr. Reinvention and I have read and listened to books, gone to therapy, talked to friends, taken trips away. We have worked tirelessly on self growth and growth as a couple.
- Compromise. Let go of the little shit. Understand there are many ways to accomplish the same task. Check your ego. Choose happiness over being right.
- COMMUNICATION….. yes, I realize that was number 4. Seriously though, communication is that important.
Go forth now! Armed with a little more insight and the fruits of my personal experience and be (mostly) happy. We all deserve unwavering love and joy. We at the Reinvention household are living proof that happy marriages are possible and attainable.
Friends, as you venture into another week with your partner or solo, ponder my guide. Do you have any wisdom and experience to add?