Nearly two years ago, I wrote and shared a list of things I did to mess up my marriages in a blog post called “16 Ways I Blew My Marriage.”
That post was read by more than 25 million people.
Wow. If you want to talk about feeling vulnerable, have that many contemplate and scrutinize everything you just admitted to doing wrong. It’s a very surreal and somewhat terrifying feeling. I mean, I tend to write for all of you, and when my stuff goes above and beyond all of you (the people I love and trust), I want to go into a corner and hide for a while.
For the most part, people were kind, and awesome, and appreciative. In fact, one comment I’ve seen again and again was, “we want to hear about the good things you did in your marriages, too!” and “we know you did some great things, as well.”
And, it’s true. I did lots of things to blow my marriages, and I did lots of amazing and good things while I was married that made all the difference in the world. So, here you go. It only took me two years. 16 Ways I ROCKED my marriages.
1. I didn’t ever stop laughing. For long.
Being young and naïve when I got married, it came as a great shock when life wasn’t all roses for me and for my equally naïve and young wife. Holy crap. Turns out sometimes life is just plain hard. And somehow, through every hard time, I always found a way to laugh about it. Eventually.
I always found a way to put the problems in my life into perspective and realize that not only is every hard thing temporary, it also almost always can be funny when you look back it. I learned early that laughter is the greatest tool to get all parties involved through any challenge.
BONUS! Laughter has been proven to boost your immune system. So, not only will your relationship be stronger, you’ll have a much better chance at not getting the Bubonic plague or leprosy. I don’t know about you, but those both sound awful.
2. I learned how to trust.
I’ve already told you how I struggled with jealousy and distrust early on. And it didn’t take long at all after I was married to realize just how much that behavior was going to hurt our relationship. So, I did what I had to do to learn how to trust the person I was with, and to trust her blindly, so that we both could have peace in that area of our lives. I learned that trusting or not trusting does not change what my partner will do. It does, however, change the way I feel toward my partner, and it takes away that major roadblock to my own happiness in the relationship.
BONUS! When you trust your partner, your partner will trust you more. That means when you get out of bed at night, you can actually get away with that midnight snack.
3. I in-lawed.
In-lawed may not be a technically correct term, but let’s go with it. In-laws can be tough. They can be tricky. There was so much history there before I ever arrived, there were so many strange and unanswerable dynamics. And, there were many times when I wanted to push all of my in-laws all out and turn more toward my own family, but I was always good about making sure to love and spend time with my in-laws, despite our differences, because I knew how much it meant to my wife.
BONUS! When you’re on good terms with your in-laws, your in-laws are willing to babysit way more often!
4. I sought to understand myself.
When I left high school, I had no idea just how broken I was and just how little I really knew. It took jumping into a marriage quickly and young to have all my faults anxiously displayed so that I could more easily scrutinize them. And much of what I saw, I didn’t like. So, I began working on those things. One thing at a time.
I began learning who I was. I began the process of understanding myself. And while I was still a very long ways from perfect by the time my marriages ended, I could honestly look back at many times that had been made so much better because of some demon or troubled part of myself which I had overcome.
BONUS! When you start learning just how messed up you really are, you also start to learn just how friggin’ awesome you really are, too.