If I could write a book on marriage

oh the rules I would put into this book – the small verbage with more pictures than words, the instructions for every(ahem.Man)one to adhere to, to soak in as wisdom and grow from to create a successful marriage…

but that book would be bullshit…

because I don’t know it all, and I’ll never say it out loud more than once a year – here it is – take hold of it.

I know nothing.

And in marriage I’m just as lost as I was in 11th grade calculus

…But the beauty in it all is that this isn’t a class you can just drop – and a part of you doesn’t want to, it’s the challenges each day that present themselves, it’s the wandering along a path you thought to be your own only to find it converges with your better half in which you have been walking through a forest so thick with trees that your eyes can barely grasp the sun; a path that had been so untraveled that you would never know which way to turn if one presented itself. While you walk and look down upon your feet, you realize that you are walking this path because not many else will, would, or could. This is your intent and purpose in life – not walking down a path with these sweet keds I purchased from the clearance aisle, no, but to walk the road less traveled; just like every home decor facet in your local kohls store says. I look down and not only notice my feet moving when sometimes my mind can’t convince my soul to move, sometimes when I can’t convince myself that what I’m waiting for is really worth waiting – then I realize that the pair of feet that has merged beside mine has taken upon the same pace, held my hand to keep the same speed, not as if to tug and slow me down but as if to calm my storm and say I’m here for you and no matter where this path may turn, stop, end, throw us down a cliff….I’m here for you as I know you’re always here for me…I marvel at the oddity we call love and I bask in the sun of marriage. For a woman never wanting to be married – I must admit, I pretty much love it…it suits me. No not the, ‘please tell me what I can and can’t do and I’ll tell you the same’ kind of marriage; but a marriage that bears more honesty than judge judy more respect than your local bartender and more modern love than matt nathanson could ever write about…this kind of marriage is nothing I ever expected but in the same token of gratitude – this marriage is 2 shots short of anything I ever deserved, I’ve not always been the best me possible…and that’s when I exhale over my morning cup of coffee looking out onto God’s green earth, is the moment I realize that this is something that happened to us – we never once sought it out, reached after it, pined like it was our middle school crush. It found us, and thusly I have been thrust into beliefs I never knew, and experiences I never thought were real – only in those fairytales we tell to children who still believe in the Easter bunny, well if I could tell every child after their fairy tale that if they respect themselves enough and learn the virtue of patience…your own happily ever after will come trotting your way…when you least expect it….and exactly when you don’t want nor need it…it finds you and knocks you down like the bonus round to leave you lying on the ground not feeling like yourself for a long period of time because you can’t believe that for just one second, for one fateful moment, for one promising chance…you’ve been blessed with something that could move mountains in its silence and bring the earth moon stars and sun to someone that has truly believed in and deserved it, all because you felt something…

Now when I say I want to write a book about marriage it simply means “I think I know it all, and I don’t – but that doesn’t sound like a lofty title for a marriage/self help book”…so here are my bullet points – proceed with caution.

1. Don’t forget to date your spouse. Yes it sounds strange – but don’t forget that just because you’ve settled into your keeping up with the jones’ routine, doesn’t mean that is what we’ve always wanted or even now needed. Take me out to sushi – hell take me to god damn mcdonalds and we’ll call it even…date your spouse because every time you date them – they fall more truly, madly, deeply in love with you (reference and source: savage garden)

2. Learn how to fight. “What is this crazy bitch talking about…I know how to fight – I give him the silent treatment and I get exactly what I want, the next day there’s roses and shiny things with random alotted dollar amounts attached to them; I’ve got what I wanted…”
Well this crazy bitch is going to tell you the secret, and something so beneficial you might as well hashtag your day as #beneful, it’s not about shiny shit, flowers, or even getting your way. Learn how to fight because the second you do (and yes this happened to me, because I’m stubborn and pig headed) you’ll realize that it’s never to come down to a “you’re right” (these are my favorite words) situation, rather a “It’s not about being right, it’s about figuring out what’s right for us”…if you think every mistake is going to be corrected with expensive champagne and an insanely stellar groupon’d date night…well get your head checked – because that isn’t reality and thank God I don’t love shiny shit…because I know that an I’m sorry is worth more weight than any carat of anything (unless it’s reeces pieces…I love that shit).

3. Don’t let yourself go……….(yes I put that many periods there for a reason). Get off your ass and workout, surprise your someone, write them something, kiss them when they don’t expect it, pick them up for lunch when your schedules already packed full….why? because you’d want that done for you, so more importantly don’t let yourself let them go (reference #4)….

4. Give without expectations. “Oh my God she’s so dumb I already know this, I love him and he loves me. When I buy him his gift for christmas he’d better buy me something that’s one step up…” Bad news here: I’m not the dumb one on this topic. Love without expecting and give without regretting…it takes a lot and is sometimes hard when you want to crash at the end of a long day but you know making brownies would just send your other over the moon….make the damn brownies – you know they only need oil, eggs, and water anyways. I realize that the selfish thing will come to full term (no pun intended) when people are expecting their child….scratch that…when their first child has been on earth for a few months – they will learn true selflessness….as a wise man with grey hair and an earring so badass you’d be shaking in your boots, once said (my father in law) “Holy cow having a baby right now is so mind blowing…like you can’t go to happy hour because you have to go pick your child up from daycare….you can’t go out with friends because your kid shit themselves and you have to stay home to take care of it…man now that I have grown kids – having little ones again would just be tough…” That’s where selflessness comes in for the rest of us (he already did his time, and he did an amazing job).

5. Finally more than anything else prior….count your blessings – take time to turn to your other and smile, because at one point and time that’s all you could do around them…obviously time has shown you all things obnoxious and sometimes you don’t want to watch another second of espn even if it means you get to cuddle on the couch “I’ll be in the other room watching real housewives of xyz”…..just to reinstate my femininity. For a moment…even if ESPN is on in the background for the umpteenth hour today…hug the one you love because what’s more brief than your disagreements, the way you bicker, or your distaste for each others preference in reality TV, is our lives. The living breathing air we’re consuming to walk this gracious land that will look as beautiful as 1/3,246th of heaven- is fulfilled with our lives, and at any minute and I mean any minute  “oh my God she’s so stupid, it’s not like I’m going to be hit by a bus…or run off a cliff…or be attacked by some angry birds…I’m fine – I’m invincible…”…said anyone passed on, never. Cherish the little moments and appreciate the in betweens; because to be completely effing real and honest with you – that’s what marriage is…it’s the in betweens, the moments you couldn’t plan because you share space, life, love with this person, the little things that make you giggle so hard you have to check to make sure you didn’t just sprout a 6 pack…

Love is everything mundane wrapped up into the best memory you could imagine – packaged in the most beautiful wrapping paper ever…sometimes you want to tear it, sometimes you want to throw it on the ground and stomp on it (I’m being real here)…but at the end of the day more than destroying, altering, or opening the beautiful thing you know lies inside…you’d rather set it on the table beside you on the porch during your own self proclaimed happy hour so you can just spend a little more time with it and basking in the happiness you’ve culminated through it. Love isn’t an object, affection isn’t a brand new BMW, and disagreements don’t have diamonds…so while you walk this path you’ve created, made, or chosen – know that at all times someone is walking in the parallel and will meet you when you least expect it. They’ll meet you when you’re bruised, bloody and broken never being able to find the light again – they’ll part the trees to show you the sun and all its’ rays for you to enjoy and to simply sit amongst with someone you love so deep and care for so tenderly beside you just bathing in its glory together…and the happiness it has created….you suddenly see that the path you were on would never have led to such beauty and peace, you realize that everything around you is aglow because you’ve found the happiness and love in the mundane simplicity of just sitting with someone in silence, and thinking of what you would put in your book…

It May Be Raining But There’s A Rainbow Above You

12. Who knew I’d spend all this money to do what I’d been doing before I went to school to make my parents happy… Either way you look at it (and by that I mean me) the glass is always full.

13. It’s so rewarding that I know I’m doing exactly what I should be at exactly where I should be

14. You should try it sometime – it really is good for the soul. I can’t say that it’s always been this way, nor has it been this way for a long time – but in the past few years, I threw all caution to the wind – said “fuck it” stayed true to myself and I’ve never been happier – sure people don’t like me, but like my big brother always said ‘fuck em’ they’ll come around’

15. Hindsight is 20/20 – my parents aren’t bad people – they mean well.

16. duh, ‘ It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you ,You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late’

17. looking in the mirror truly taught a lot – and being brutally honest opened doors and healed wounds I didn’t even think possible – saved me a shit ton of money and couch time with a complete stranger. Free yourself – it’s worth it.

To lose balance sometimes for love is a part of living a balanced life

—- O —-

Although this diagram looks like garbage and slightly resembles a) the scope of a sniper and b) the starting dialation when starting the birthing process. This picture is meant to represent the ‘perfect balance’ in a life, a harmonium of sorts, a place where all chaos has ceased. O is where we’d like to be.

After seeing the movie Eat Pray Love this weekend, I left feeling like the first part sucked, and the second part was so moving that I had a lot of things to mentally work through. If any of you have read the book or even went to see the movie, you know what i’m talking about. Here is this woman amidst a mid life crisis up and leaves everything she knows because she feels trapped in her ways, she has spent so long living up to expectations, turning a blind eye to whats actually going on in her marriage, and shutting people out that tell her differently that she is now breaking at the seams. Praying to a God she only half heartedly believes in, lying on the bathroom floor sobbing while her husband sleeps in the next room, and finally going to find herself. Something she should have done years earlier but didn’t because she was too busy settling with all the wrong things. Painting her picture of perfect with the broken end of a crayon in a dimly lit room instead of using the vibrant oil pastels on a brand new blank canvas out in the warmth of the sun. I’ve been working through this movie in my mind so often, and there are times throughout my day I can hear the words ringing in my head not because the movie was unbelieveable or because I memorized the quotes; but because this is me. I am Liz Gilbert.

No I’m not married, No I don’t have a booming career, and thus far no I don’t think I’m on the brink of a mid-life crisis. It’s the in betweens, the lessons, the characteristics; the chaos, and confusion that I related to. It’s the feeling of absolute hopelessness in a situation that is beyond your control; It’s the inadequacies that someone would rather take the time to tally for you instead of verbally present to you beautiful perfections that would balance the inadequacies out. It’s the feeling of finally having my ‘perfect balance’ and then it being overturned at the drop of a hat. It’s feeling so great about yourself and knowing how wonderful you are, but you’ve spent so much time with the wrong people in the wrong situations that you’re just ready to leave everything you know in search of the oil pastels and blank canvas; i imagine, sitting somewhere in a big open field of sunflowers ready to be danced through under the warm summer sun.

It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Looking around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

We must endure to see our own worth, we must see things we once knew as the truth, as our happiness, as our whole take a complete turn; ruin, degrade, then when we have lost hope in it we glance back and see the gleaming light of reconstruction, forge, and renewal. There is a new light shed, and we look at our world through a new lens, not at who we once were, but towards what we want to be, what we want out of certain situations, and what needs to be different this time. Because at the time of all hopelessness and chaos we didn’t want change, we yearned to have the things we once knew back, even if they were drawn with broken crayongs; because they were comfortable, comforting, and secure. We feared change, not because of the word itself or the bold action attatched to it, but because we fear our capabilities, we fear our reconstruction, we fear leaving everything behind for the next chapter. So many people are stuck living in fear and afraid to change because they don’t want to know what they can become.

I believe that part of this harmonium in our lives is constant change. If we are ever evolving, ever changing, we won’t have time to look back. We will be so focused on moving forward, forging through the ruins for the better being of tomorrow. Perfect balance is a place where you can tune yourself in while not having to tune the world out, having happiness through the hurt, feeling something, experiencing life and not waiting on the sidelines until it’s your turn to play. There will always be times of chaos and feelings of imbalance, we have to remember that we will re root, rebuild, and flourish once more. And through these past times of hopelessness you find out that you are strong, that you can endure, and that you really do have worth. Balance is not letting anyone love you less than you love yourself.