Feeling Grateful

Zoo Family Photo
Family Day at the Houston Zoo

Yesterday was not only Thanksgiving, but it was also our 5th anniversary as a married couple / blended family.  It’s crazy to think how much has transpired over the last five years.  I know five years seems like nothing, but to me, it’s everything.  Here are a few things I’ve learned so far about being a wife and a mom/stepmom:

  1.  Communication is everything.  I used to keep my feelings bottled up tight.  When things started to go wrong in a relationship in life, I would just pack up my belongings and move on, literally. From the beginning of our dating life, Chad wouldn’t let that fly.  It was painfully awkward at first, but I learned to say, “Hey, that really hurt my feelings.” After a while, it became second nature and I found that my feelings got hurt less and less because I was vocal about my wants and needs.  It sounds so simple, but it took a good couple of years for me to figure that one out.
  2. Learn to love the ex.  I can honestly say that I absolutely adore Chad’s ex wife.  She’s the mother of his girls.  She loves my son.  She wants us to have a good relationship and she wants my marriage to work.  I know that I got lucky in the ex wife department.  I also know that it took a lot of time and effort to get where we are today.  Just know that if kids are involved, the ex will be in your life for ever.  For ever is a long time to harbor ill will and resentment.  It’s always best to choose the path of love.
  3. Love all the kids equally.  The girls came into my life when they were two and four.  They were nine and eleven when Jagger was born.  I would be an awful person if I were to all of a sudden put my love for Jagger ahead of my love for the girls.  That would only serve to make them feel like crap and resent their brother.  From the beginning, I’ve told the girls that I love all the kids the same.  From the beginning, they’ve adored their baby brother.  I think some day I would like to adopt, and I would love that child equally, too.  In our family there are no steps or half’s.  It makes for a much more peaceful environment.
  4. Keep things spicy.  In an effort to keep things PG, I’ll just say that physical affection is a must.  I recently had a conversation with a wife of 17 years who was no longer receiving physical affection from her husband.  It broke my heart to hear of her loneliness and lack of self-esteem.  On the flip side, physical touch is the love language of the majority of men.  Withholding physical affection out of anger or frustration will just lead to greater anger and frustration. Before you know it, resentment will build walls and divorce is often the end result. Three to four times a week is a good number!
  5. Laugh Daily.  When we’re 80 and no longer banging, Chad and I will still be laughing.  More than any aspect of our marriage, I love laughing with my husband.  I battle occasional bouts of depression thanks to some awesome wiring in my bipolar brain.  He has this amazing ability to make me feel better during my lows.  Maybe laughing isn’t a must for everyone, but it helps keep me sane, and I’m so grateful for his sense of humor.

I never wanted marriage.  It seemed scary and hard.  I thought marriage meant the end of an adventurous life.  I now realize how wrong I was.  Marriage is the ultimate adventure, and I’m loving every second of it!

Happy Anniversary, babe!