Tomorrow, June 11, Seano and I will be married four years. When I say, “four years,” it sounds like no time at all. But, when I look back at all that has happened in four years, I am truly amazed.
Happy Anniversary Seano! I’m sure I don’t say it enough. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do, selflessly, for our family. I truly believe I am the best version of myself to date because of you and I’m so blessed to be creating this life with you.
Seano and I believe in and do our best to support a 50/50 marriage. To me that means a marriage that: is a product of equal effort from both individuals in all regards including work, home, children and many other areas; recognizes each person’s needs and wants; encompasses both listening and talking; and is founded on mutual respect for each other. However, we have learned through real life experience, that maintaining a 50/50 marriage at all times is not realistic.
A piece of advice from a family friend prior to our wedding has become a functional tool in our 50/50 marriage. Our friend said, “To have a marriage that lasts, the combined effort that you put in must equal 100 percent. You will contribute in different ways but, ideally, each of you will always put in 50 percent, balancing the marriage and efforts being made. In reality, that’s not how it will always work. So, there will be times when Kerstin will put in 80 percent and Seano 20 percent and vice versa. And that’s okay as long as it ebbs and flows.” In the moment and on the surface, the statement made sense. But, I had no idea the extent of its’ truth.
Accepting He Is the Other Half to My Whole
As we settled into our life together, I began to realize, often it’s the external demands that distract us, require us to divert effort from each other, and make us fall below this 50 percent mark as individuals. Things like work, family, service or other organized commitments and health of my loved ones are included in my external demands. While I continuously try to make my marriage and home life my absolute priority, it doesn’t always happen. If I want other areas of my life to grow and be successful, I also have to commit and give effort to them. And, like everyone else, I do have a maximum capacity to give of myself.
It’s the last bit of the advice, “And that’s okay as long as it ebbs and flows.” that allows me to accept that Seano can be our glue sometimes. Through this statement I understand that we are so much better as a whole than as two individual halves and that it is our job to support each other. As long as I can always recenter on our marriage and family, it is okay to give significant effort to other areas. I love my family more than anything and they are everything to me, but I’m trying to be more forgiving of myself and allow myself to borrow from one bucket in order to fill the next.
Give And Take
I have also learned that having someone accept my shortcomings is one of the deepest signs of love. Being vulnerable is not something I’m always good at (hello! this blog constantly takes me out of my comfort zone!), even with my husband. But I continue to learn that he won’t reject me in the moments I do not offer my 50 percent and he will do his very best to understand and accept me. When I was pregnant with N, I was so sick for nearly six months. It took everything I could muster to get up in the morning, get to work, and make it home at the end of the day. For roughly six months, I had nothing left to give to him or our life. He picked up the slack in every way and loved enough for both of us. It was surprising how much it meant to me that he was willing to hold things together and fight for us.
And on the other hand, I am happy to be what he needs and to fight for him. You hear it over and over again…the best part of giving is how you feel when you give. Seano is hard to buy for and he needs very little to feel fulfilled. So, I sometimes struggle to find ways to show him love. When I have the opportunity to give to him, it makes me happy and, therefore, I am fulfilled. Occasionally, Seano’s career requires him to leave our home and go to work during what should be personal time. It is up to me to be understanding of this and also to quickly take over all responsibilities with N and our home. I have always felt this is one way I can show him love and say thank you to him for being an active part of our family.
Falling Short & Recovering
Still, sometimes we fail; but we work to recover quickly. When we fall short, we can feel it almost immediately. We are disconnected, short, and extra hard on each other. The first part of our recovery is communicating immediately when we realize we are consistently below 100 percent. If we let things stir and fester, it is much harder on us. The second part is, accepting and forgiving.
At the end of the day I know as long as we work to be 100 percent, we will always be okay. I don’t need to tell you marriage is work. If you are in one, you know this. And if you’re not, I’m sure you’re probably sick of hearing it from your married friends. I don’t mind the work, especially when Seano is working with me. To me, the problem is when no one is working. Luckily, we’ve never been there. And I believe this little piece of advice we received gives us an almost tangible goal to strive for and ensure we never stop working. And somehow I find that helpful.
Hope you enjoyed this little insight into some of what makes us tick and work as a couple. Any effective thoughts or advice that you want to share? Or, I guess, ineffective for that matter?