This summer brought about three major milestones. Jon and I celebrated 15 years, Iris checked off her first year as a Zabrocki, and Mesfin rang in year #5. Big events around here.
Since I am now an expert in all things wifely and motherly (insert sarcastic laughter here) I’m beginning the first of three blogs detailing things I have learned and experienced from the above three people.
Part I – What 15 years of marriage has taught me.
#1 – I am not his Holy Spirit
I know, it’s hard to believe. Three years before we adopted Mesfin, I was ready. God said go and I said ok. But first I needed to follow Jon around the house on a weekly basis to let him know what God had said and that his signature was going to required on multiple pieces of paper for MY adoption. Shockingly, that ended in a fight. Jon was not as convicted as I was. His reply “You can pretend that all this crap is helpful to God, but you’re not my Holy Spirit. This is just called nagging. If God can convince you, then he can convince me. Let it go!”
Hmmm…I pondered. Can God actually convince people to do things without my assistance? I decided to say nothing more and just pray about it. It took four months, but once I was out of the way, God managed to finish the job by himself.
Note: I’m still working on this. I fail to believe that God can convince Jon to shut dresser drawers or Will to keep his shoes tied or Emily to clean her room or……well, you get the picture.
#2 – Have sex
I’m not going to say much about this one because my in-laws do read my blog. Let’s just say it’s hard to stay mad at someone if you are naked.
#3 – Give up what doesn’t join you
I am not saying here that you stop being you. Don’t let go of those things in life that you enjoy or the friends that you have. Not all people and events need to unify you into one, but evaluate what just might bring you apart.
When Jon and I were first married we had very separate lives. It happens when you tie the knot at 28. I had a really great guy friend at work and we spent a lot of time together. Jon got a new job shortly after the nuptials and he was working endless hours. I began to find myself sharing more with my friend then my husband. He became my emotional support. The negative impact of Jon’s excess working and my emotional attachment to another was a realization we came to at a marriage retreat. It took some deliberate effort for me to pull away from my friend and for Jon to step up his support. Jon also decided on a new job that wouldn’t take him away from his family 6 days a week morning to evening. Was our marriage falling apart? Were we fast tracking it to divorce court? No, but we were heading in the opposite direction of the sweet spot that our marriage has certainly become. We were heading apart, not together.
#4 – Build him up
No matter how manly your guy is, he wants to hear that you respect him. Saying things like “Thanks for working so hard for this family” or “I am proud of the father that you are” goes a long way. And why not? It may sound a little contrived at first…something you might hear in an after school special…..but if it’s from the heart he will appreciate it. I was surprised when my husband once confessed that the weight of providing for his family sometimes kept him up at night, mainly because I spend very little time thinking about money and my house, and health insurance, and all the material things needed to run the Zabrocki corporation. I’ve discovered that he’s not the only man with the strong desire to be a good provider. It’s time to let them know that you think they are.
#5 – Laugh
On our last road trip my son Mesfin looked up at the two of us and remarked “Every time I look at you guys you are laughing about something.” Best. Compliment. Ever. And we are. We have learned to make light of almost anything. Spend an afternoon eavesdropping on us and you might think we are the most insensitive people ever. Yet it’s the opposite. We love this big mess of a family to the point of suffocation sometimes. But folks, there are days that if we aren’t laughing, we would be crying. Not kidding.
And laugh at yourself friends. You are not that cool. Last month I did something so dorky (no full disclosure here) and my husband made fun of me for a solid 10 days. Constantly. I finally questioned my own laughing fits considering I was the butt of the joke.
Well that ends my wise and essential wisdom on marriage. (again, insert laughing at myself here) Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of my epic summer!