Tomorrow is my 10 year wedding anniversary. If I were ever asked to list my greatest accomplishments, this would be at the top of the list. An overview of my marriage would go something like this: first year awesome, followed by 2 years of good, then 5 years of bad and really bad, then 2 years of getting better. Grouchy Husband and I are very different and we have little in common. Our love is not perfect but it is true. It was my American heart that married my husband.
Here are my greatest learnings from 10 years of imperfect love:
Differences keeps things interesting, makes you independent, and also creates distance. Grouchy Husband and I are different. I like to talk and ask questions, he stays pretty quiet. I like to eat nutritious food, he rather not. In stressful times I’m at my calmest, he is an erupting volcano. Our work is different, we like different TV shows, and the list goes on and on…and on. I like my independence so I appreciate our contrasts but I have to be mindful that living in my world too long can push us too far away from each other.
Time together matters. Life gets busy when you have babies, raise babies, work, start businesses. When our schedules are at their busiest, we can see each other once a day in passing. He works midnights as a police officer so I don’t even spend time with him sleeping. Long periods of time apart is what creates the most distance in our relationship. We don’t need vacations in secluded locations to keep us connected. A little goes a long way for us, right now it’s a 1-hour Thursday morning Crossfit class we take together.
Loyalty. Grouchy Husband is very loyal. I, on the other hand have spent more then half the days being married with thoughts of divorce. It’s the American in me. This probably never crossed his mind, or not as many times as it did mine. If he was like me, we would not be together. I’m grateful and blessed he is not.
Demand excellence. The Chinese in me has very high standards for my Grouchy Husband. Everything from career and wealth to his friends and how he acts towards my friends and family. Being in a relationship means you motivate and encourage each other to be the best they can be. I am Grouchy Husband’s biggest cheerleader. I know his potential and will push him to achieve it. I hope he does the same for me.
Speak your mind. We are Chinese, a culture known for suppressing emotion. It is in our DNA to not share emotion, good or bad. I tend to speak my mind through text messages because it’s easier to communicate when someone isn’t talking back. I’m working on this. We got through our really bad times by painfully talking through how horrible our relationship was.
Respect. This is my biggest struggle in our marriage. Our differences, time apart, disappointment, can snowball and respect is lost. You cannot be in a relationship with someone you do not respect.
Cheers to 10 years of imperfect love,