Category Archives: Marriage

One Hundred And Eighteen Shades of Grey

Do you own one of those handy dandy color wheels? You know, the ones decorators use?

We do.

Don’t ask me why. Neither my husband or I can claim any talent in the decorating department. Although, we do watch a lot of HGTV together.

colorwheel

Have you ever noticed the crazy color names? Forceful Orange. Hyper Blue. Gusto Gold. Heartthrob. Lime Rickey. (Sure, set me up, barkeep!)

Well, after watching a lot of HGTV over the past year or so, my husband has decided to jump on the grey wagon. It seems everyone out there is painting their rooms shades of gray. And no, I don’t think it has anything to do with the popularity of that racy novel, although, I wonder if that racy novelist has been watching as much HGTV as we have.

We grabbed the color wheel and starting ticking through the colors.

Charcoal. Nope. Too dark.

Nuance. Too light.

Solitude. Too lonely.

There were the smart greys: Analytical Gray, Intuitive, Worldly Grey, Imagine, Balanced Gray. Even Intellectual Grey.

There were the dull grays: Mild Grey, Polite Gray, Reticence, Useful Grey, Proper Gray, Essential. And Modest Grey.

“What about Passive Gray?” my husband asked, holding the color swatch to the wall.

“Hmmmm. I don’t know. What do you think?” I replied.

“Aloof?”

“Eh,” I shrugged.

“What about Ponder?”

“I’ll have to think about that one,” I said.

“Agreeable Gray?”

“Of course!” I chimed.

Finally, he gets it and we’re in a fit of giggles.

After one hundred and eighteen shades of grey, which color did we finally go with?

Hinting Blue.

Guess we’re not as trendy as we thought we were.

(To accommodate my outside America readers, I’ve evenly distributed equal spellings of grey and gray. Interesting note: “In the U.K., grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.” I have to admit. After writing this post, both spellings look wrong to me now.)

 

 

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Filed under funny, How We Roll, Marriage, Observations

Divorce: Standing Alone In The Wreck

If I could have a regret in my life that is wrapped up in a wonderful gift it would be my first marriage. All by itself, I regret that marriage. Oh sure, I learned so much about myself. I grew. I became a better person.

And most of all, I received an amazing, wonderful, beautiful daughter. If the way she had to come to be was through that marriage, fine. I accept it. But I don’t have to like it.

Because I hate what she has had to go through. I hate what it’s done to her self-esteem. I hate the choices she has had to make because of the split. All because I chose him for her dad.

When I was going through the divorce my attorney advised me on many things. She predicted things that would come to be and I nodded. Not in agreement. Because my ex would never, ever do the things she described. Never. Ever. (Insert wry laugh here.)

Boy. Was I wrong.

I have watched my beautiful daughter experience such dysfunction. Promises broken. Lies told. A step-mother who is insanely jealous. A woman who treats my daughter like “the other woman.” Since she was 6 years old she has had to keep secret any activity with her father that doesn’t involve her step-mother. Every movie. Every ice cream cone. Every shopping trip.

Recently, we have been weathering an amazing storm. A situation I never dreamed would happen. Out of respect for my daughter, I won’t air the dirty details. But it has ripped my daughter to the core. She wants to change her name. She wants to never see him again. She feels abandoned and unappreciated. And what tears my heart apart is that she feels unimportant, unworthy and unloved by him.

If I could go back and change something, anything – I would. Quite honestly, I have no idea what I’d change. If it means me not being her mother, I would sacrifice that for her to be treated better by a father. I only want the best for her.

And she doesn’t deserve this.

She deserves so much better.

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Filed under children, Lessons Learned, Marriage, Music, parenting

The Grass Isn’t Greener. It’s Just Different.

(I’m sorry for the unscheduled re-run but here is a post from last year. My sister’s husband died over the weekend and it’s been a little crazy in my house, in my head. Didn’t want to leave you with nothing to read with your morning coffee so here is post originally from September 21, 2009, from my blog’s infancy. Hope to see you all tomorrow!)

A close friend was going through some struggles in her marriage. And if you believe in coincidences, a blast from her past appeared unexpectedly. They ran into each other at a sporting event. She was with her husband and 2 other couples. They chatted about old times and he encouraged them (a few of the people in the party, including my friend)  to stay in touch.  Well, she did. One thing led to another and they were about to do something they probably shouldn’t but she stopped.

She has a loving husband. Beautiful children. Comfortable home. Good job. Loving friends and family. She was so embarrassed and upset that she had been tempted. But things weren’t as perfect as they seemed in her marriage and she started listing all of the cons in her relationship with her husband. The magic is gone. He doesn’t appreciate me. His priorities always take precedence. And on. And on.

I asked her to look at the pros. But all she could think of was the excitement that this ex was providing. She was so caught up with the magic she couldn’t see why they had ended it so long ago. And I told her; The grass isn’t greener. It’s just different.

wooden_fence_green_grass_scrapbooki

Some varieties need more attention, more water. They need to be cut more often and edged a certain way. Others are less needy. You can skip watering and let nature take care of it. It doesn’t need to be weeded or fertilized. There are so many varieties out there. You have to decide which variety is best for your lawn, where you’re living and how much time you have to devote to it. You make your decision and then work with it.

I’m so glad my friend decided not to go back to her ex. She’s making it work with her husband. But recently she told me that when I told her about “the grass not being greener” she was just listening politely to me. She didn’t really get it. It didn’t hit her until the ex said something that dragged her back to reality. It brought back all of the reasons why they had broken up and she didn’t want to deal with such a high maintenance lawn.

She liked her life the way it was. She was familiar with this variety. And while there was some weeding to do and she never could quite get which fertilizer to use when; it WAS a beautiful lawn.

(My sister and her husband had a very real, down to earth, love-all-the-warts kind of marriage. They appreciated each other in a way that I so admired. Let’s all hug our spouses a little tighter today. We never know how long we’ll have with each other.)

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Al And Tipper. John and Jane. We’re All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle.

 I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been married before. I hesitate to call my first marriage a mistake because an amazing daughter came of it. And if it hadn’t have been for my first marriage, I wouldn’t be the seasoned wife that I am today. (You’re welcome, Honey!)

Since I am in a second marriage, I feel I make an extra effort to make it work. I am more than committed to my husband. I am also keenly aware that the grass isn’t greener, just different.

So it disheartens, discourages, just plain disappoints when I hear of long marriages dissolving.

Al and Tipper Gore, after 40 years of marriage, are separating.

I don’t know Al and Tipper. Never been invited to their home. Never attended the same social gathering. All I know about them is what I’ve seen, heard or read in the media. They’ve passed the two typical milestones when couples divorce: seven-year-itch and when the youngest child goes off to college.

Hearing of their separation makes me sad. According to their email to friends and family they “grew apart.” After 40 years.

I suppose I’m a romantic. I’d like to think that after 40 years of marriage a married couple has weathered the worst. Found ways to make the-once-endearing-but-now-annoying-habits tolerable. Discovered new joys about each partner.

When I divorced, I lost friends. Phone calls and invitations slowed. As if divorce were contagious. The shift in friendships bothered me. Still bothers me. Which is why I’m hyper-sensitive when someone is going through similar struggles.

“Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

Al and Tipper. John and Jane. The teacher and the artist. The lawyer and stay at home mom.

Struggling. Battling. Some winning, some losing.

All of you are in my heart today.

Holding you close.

Hoping for peace and strength.

(On a lighter note: Answers from yesterday’s music challenge: 1. “Spare him his life from this monstrosity” – Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen 2. “Shake it like a Polaroid Picture” – Hey Ya, Outkast 3. “Smoke on the water, fire in the sky” Smoke On The Water, Deep Purple 4. “A loaded God complex” – Sugar, We’re Going Down, Fall Out Boy 5. “It’s too late to apologize” – Apologize, OneRepublic 6. “See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen” – Dancing Queen, ABBA 7. “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” – Tiny Dancer, Elton John. 8. “Hit me with your best shot” – Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar 9. “Got my mind set on you” – Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison 10. “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not” – Livin’ On A Prayer, Bon Jovi. — Just an observation. For a girl who says she doesn’t like Bon Jovi, her blog sure mentions them a lot. Just sayin’.)

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Love You Madly, That’s All I Want To Do

I have been married 22 years of my adult life. Hold on. Hold the applause. Quiet the cheers. That’s 22 years between two marriages.

Yep. That’s me.

I’m a statistic.

I married way, way, way too young, just a few months shy of my 21st birthday. I thought I was ALL grown up. I thought I knew what I wanted in life. And to weaken the odds of marriage survival, the man I married was 10 years older than me. Set in his ways. He knew what he wanted. He was all grown up.

“I don’t want to wonder
If this is a blunder
I don’t want to worry whether
We’re gonna stay together
‘Till we die” – I never worried that we might divorce someday. We both had similar upbringings. We never fought. We had the same goals in life – or so I thought. And I was a very practical, down-to-earth, hippie chick. I didn’t need an engagement ring. We drank health shakes and camped under the stars. We eschewed material things. We were academics. We were athletes. But there was no passion in our marriage. We lived very separate lives day-to-day. I look back now and I wonder what in the world he saw in me? Especially seeing who he married right after me. She is rail thin, stiletto heels, always lots of make-up and jewelry. I can’t imagine she’s been camping a day in her life. What was he thinking? (with her or with me?)

“I don’t want to jump in
Unless this music’s thumping
All the dishes rattle in the cupboards
When the elephants arrive” – I was always a very pragmatic soul. I didn’t believe in soul mates and happily-ever-afters. But I’ve changed. I believe in fairy tales. I believe in magic. My new favorite movie is Enchanted. I want the Disney kiss, wrapped up in a guaranteed happy ending.

“I don’t want to fake it
I just want to make it
The ornaments look pretty
But they’re pulling down the branches
Of the Tree” – But marriage is hard. Hard, hard work. I remember our first real fight as a married couple (with my now husband) and I called my sister in tears. I thought we were over. I said, “We’ve hit a snag. A huge snag!” and she asked me to explain. I did and she laughed at me. She said, “Jane, that’s not a snag. That’s a marriage.” Because there was basically no conflict in my first marriage (and as a consequence, no passion or real love either) I had no idea how to work through this. I wanted the painted, pretty picture of marriage – walking into the sunset of life holding hands. Work at a marriage? What work?

“I don’t want to think about it
I don’t want to talk about it” – But of course, we do. It’s how we’ve lasted these past 11 years. I’m still not the communicator my husband wants me to be in our marriage – I’m more passive. Not passive/aggressive. More passive-what’s-the-point? But I’m getting better.

“I don’t want to hold back
I don’t want to slip down
I don’t want to think back to the one thing that I know I
Should have done” – I’m not a woulda-coulda-shoulda kind of person. I don’t hold onto to things. In fact, I’m so good at letting go I will infuriate my husband sometimes. I have argument amnesia. I forget what we’re arguing about if we move onto something else. He’ll still be annoyed with something and I’ll be oblivious. If you tell me nothing is wrong, I believe you. “Say what you mean, mean what you say” It’s my credo. And I like it that way.

“I don’t want to doubt you
Know everything about you
I don’t want to sit across the table from you
Wishing I could run” – I’m at a stage in my life when I don’t want drama. I want to push the easy button when it comes to marriage. I know it isn’t supposed to be that way every day. But most days sure would be nice. I’ve learned that marriage is a system of ebb and flow. You ride out the ebb and enjoy the joy of the flow. I love riding the tides and I relish those days. Those are the days when loving you madly is so easy, so fun. It’s during the ebb that it’s tough. But with you – I’m hanging on. You make it so worth it.

“I want to love you madly
I want to love you now
I want to love you madly, way
I want to love you, love you
Love you madly” 

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Almost Wordless Wednesday

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Filed under funny, Marriage

Journeys Shared Are The Journeys Worth Taking

life

I’ve made a conscious decision in my adult life to focus on people who reciprocate. I don’t mean in a tit-for-tat kind of way. I don’t keep score. I have some friends from far away that make an effort to visit and some that don’t. With some friends we need to talk a few times a week and with others we can pick up where we left off after months of no contact. I suppose my criteria is different depending on the relationship. But for the most part,  it has to feel like we’re both making an effort to nurture the relationship.

A very wise man once gave me the following visual about marriage. He said that there are times when a marriage is like this – and he made a fist with one hand and covered it with the other. And then there are other times when a marriage is like this – and he reversed his hands. But for most of the journey a marriage should be like this:

hands

He interlaced his fingers, joining them together.

That visual made such an impression on me. I was in a relationship at the time that was so lop-sided. I was codependently orchestrating our journey. I left that relationship – thank goodness. I’ve applied this visual to other parts of my life, both with family and friends.

I recognize that we need to carry the other person sometimes. We all have struggles in our lives where we need others to pick up the slack. And sometimes, we’re the one who needs to be carried. Being able to lean on your friends from time to time is essential. But for most of the time, for most of our journey, we need to be working together to nurture and care for each other.

Journeys shared are the journeys worth taking. I surround myself with people who nurture me and allow themselves to be nurtured by me. People that listen with their heart. Act with compassion and kindness. See with loving eyes.

These are the people who I make time for.

P.S. After reading what I’ve written I realized this may sound preachy. So not my intent. I’m struggling right now with my relationship (or lack there of) with my parents. I think I wrote this to validate my adult decisions.

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Filed under family, How We Roll, Marriage, People