Monday, December 3, 2012

How Not To Screw Up

A blogger who's been twice divorced recently wrote a list that included the 31 ways in which he blew his marriage. I'd say that most of these things are pretty spot-on (in my inexperience of having been married for just over a year and a half).

Ed and I made a semi-conscious decision not to scream or yell at each other, not to hurl epithets (or other things) at each other, or otherwise say hurtful things while extremely upset. Yelling makes me really anxious; it causes my mind to shut down, to not be able to respond, so if I'm really upset (which hasn't been too much of an issue at this point), I'll go upstairs, close the door, and really think about what's bothering me for a little while. It doesn't usually take me too long, but it allows me to calm down and sort through what the problem is, and think about the way I'd like to resolve it. No throwing dishes, no saying something I can't take back, no hurting the person who loves me most and whom I love best.

One that I especially liked from The List:

When we were first married, we would see my family all the time and her family almost as much. We spent almost every Saturday at my family's house, and a lot of weeknights and weekends at hers. We spent nearly every holiday with our families. And every special occasion, too. And while family is usually great, it really kept us from developing our own working family dynamic, our own traditions, and our own strengthened way of living and doing things. It drug us into unncessesary drama. And most of all, it kept us from learning to lean on each other during our rough patches instead of on our parents or siblings.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I would move far away from both families for a year or two. I wouldn't come back until we'd been through at least a few big marital challenges on our own without the involvement of any family at all. That way, when we did come back, we'd be strong on our own and our families would be great supplements to our marriage instead of major players.

BONUS! When you make your own traditions, you can finally add things in that your parents weren't cool with. "And after we open our Christmas pajama...everyone has to eat a pound of chocolate. And then they have to stand on their heads while screaming. And then they have to jump on their beds." Stuff like that.

I love my family, and I like Ed's, but I don't feel the need to go "home" for every holiday. First of all, it's not "home" anymore. It doesn't feel like a vacation; I don't feel the need to revisit my childhood and share my childhood with Ed. I like visiting my family, and I had a really great childhood; I'd be happy to sometimes going back east for holidays. But my home is with my husband now, and I'm more eager to create our own traditions and have folks visit us once in awhile. (This is hard to do; we live far away from everyone, which is why I'm hoping that occasionally the family can trade off on holidays: One year it's in one place, another year it's in another.) Having people over and planning doesn't stress me out, and it's a joy to be able to share my home with others.

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