A dozen times or more I’ve sat down at my keyboard and decided to write a small primer on what makes a happy marriage. It is my hope that each one of you will find your own prince or princess charming to complete your life. It’s my hope that you’ll walk down the aisle (any aisle, really) toward your beloved as a bride full of hope and happiness for your own golden future. Just as I did as a bride almost 13 years ago.
How perfect, I thought, to write a little how-to to my girls while I sat “in the trenches”. Big Daddy and I are navigating through what are, statistically, the hardest parts of marriage. We’re raising young children, but I’m pretty sure Big Daddy still hangs the moon and I want so much to be able to tell my girls how to have just this. Because this is so worth it.
But now matter how hard I’ve tried to encapsulate our marriage into a few cute talking points, I’ve found I can’t do it. The words fail. I find that I don’t have any advice to give. A few weeks ago, I admitted to Big Daddy that maybe I’m not good at marriage. I’m just good at marriage to him. Big Daddy isn’t given to hysterics or histrionics. He doesn’t need to need to prattle on endlessly, in detail, about small things. Make no mistake, he’s not a man of few words, but his words are measured and logical and rational.
My foil. My perfect, perfect foil.
During this conversation, Big Daddy suggested that, perhaps, our marriage is so successful because it is not only exactly what we wanted by something we choose every day.
And so, my girls, in a few short sentences, Big Daddy summed up everything I’d been trying to say forever.
A happy marriage is about choice. Choosing the right partner? Yes, of course. But it’s so much more than that. A happy marriage is about choosing that partner with every sunrise and sunset. With your thoughts and your words and your actions.
It’s about wanting that kiss every morning. Not just accepting it. Or tolerating it. Wanting it. Choosing it. Not feeling complete until you’ve had it. It’s about needing that time with your head on their chest at night. Not accepting it. Or tolerating it. Wanting it. Choosing it. Missing it when they’re away for the night on business or out late with friends.
It’s about forgiving. Not to a fault, but human mistakes. It’s about choosing to not hold a grudge and choosing to be careful with someone who has entrusted their heart into your hands for good keeping. It’s about choosing to be vulnerable, and girls, I know this can be so hard depending on the path you walked to find your person. Choose not to hide your softness or your weakness. Choose to let them love you for yours and you love them for theirs. Choose to believe them when they say you’re pretty. Choose to believe them when they say love you. Choose to believe them when they treat you like you hang them moon. Choose to treat them the same way.
Choose them in the quiet moments. Choose them in the big ones and the loud ones and the crazy ones and the sad ones. Get up every morning and say to the sun and to the world and to yourself that you’re choosing them today. It’s simple advice, really. Just keep choosing each other. When it’s easy and most importantly, when it isn’t. It’s the best advice I can give, girls. Even if it did come from your Dad.