Marriage Monday:: Life is like a pie…not a box of chocolates

February 29, 2016

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My musings on that crazy thing called marriage this week…

 

When Mark and I got married, as many of you know, it was a second marriage. Both of us were adamant we were not going to make the same mistakes the second time around, so we found a wonderful therapist. As a side note, I am a HUGE believer in therapy. I don’t know any marriage or any human being that can’t benefit from a little open chat and one on one time with someone who can guide you in making more loving and honest choices- and when I say honest, I mean honest to yourself. I mean, even therapists need therapists…but that’s another post all together.

For Mark and I, on one of our first visits, we learned probably the most valuable tool for our marriage, and for lack of a better name, we call it the pie chart. See, we both had children when we got married. So, planning a life around those little devils {err, I mean, angels} was a necessity. But, unlike a typical couple, we had to deal with the addition of children from day 1. When I meet with clients, and we chat about children, as they are planning their big wedding day, the mere idea for most, to have little carbon copies of themselves, seems almost impossible, because its so far down the road. Now, I won’t say that’s all my couples, I have had clients on their second marriage, with children already part of their union. So, maybe this is something they can back me up on. But, I am about to make a statement here that is confounding, and crazy. Children do NOT make a marriage better. Children do NOT save a marriage. Children, as sweet and wonderful as they are, make day to day marriage life a totally different creation. And here is another tid bit, for all my new parents out there… the baby stage, the sleepless nights, the new work/life balance with a toddler…that’s the EASY part!

Oh, I know I am saying crazy talk, but I can tell you, in a house with three teenagers, and a pre-teen, with talk of sex, and cars {and dear god, have you priced car insurance}, and their sports, and school and friend drama- oh just wait for school because you learn that you are really NOT smarter than a 5th grader {and just forget high schooler}. I have learned in the last few years just how easy it was when they were little.  Its amazing to learn I am a highly functioning adult, who can balance work, and life, and children, and run my own company, yet my 13 year old sweet cheek daughter reminds me on a daily basis that I apparently know NOTHING.

So…what did this have to do with a pie and marriage you ask? Ok, back to my therapist. As Mark and I were sitting in our respective seats, she drew us this great picture of a pie graph. And she asked us how many years we hoped to live. We each agreed 80-ish was wonderful, and for sake of argument, lets say 84. So, at the time mark and I were 30…such babies… and that gave us 54 years as husband and wife. So..doing math, at the time, Hunter was 6, Cameron 5 and Ash 3, Haylee was not even on the horizon, but for sake of Math, she would come around a year later. So that moved all kids out by age 49 for both mark and I. So from 49 to 84 guess who would be in the house with Mark and I? NO ONE! not a girl, not a boy, not a teenager! ok, Maybe a dog, but outside of dog treats and dinner, what do they really need from us? So when she drew this “pie graph” of our lives together, we realized how much of our lives are actually taken up with the children and its really actually pretty damn small. But do you know what was a big part of our marriage? EACH OTHER! A majority of our marriage was not children, and in some ways, not even work, but it was about the two of us having a really good relationship with each other.

I hear so many times that once a baby {or two or three} come along, that its zone defense, and getting through the days and  nights. And you spend so much time trying to make it through that, and making the children such a focus, that we forget that when those sweet cherubs grow up, we are left with this stranger for another 30 or so years! And even more shocking…those cherubs don’t start making their own way at 18, they start making their own way at 13 and 14. All the sudden you find yourselves with one child out on a date, and one at a sleepover, and all the sudden you and your spouse have FREE TIME! And you look at each other and think.. “who the hell are you, and what interests do you have”?

Now, maybe I am a tad jaded..coming off a swim meet weekend, which if you have never been, is the equivalent of a chlorinated Hell. And Mark took ash in the AM, and I took Haylee to the PM session, and at some point, when we passed each other on opposite sides of the Buckman Bridge, we honked a little “I love you” beep. Its after that, as its Monday again, and the two of us had zero time as husband and wife that I realize just how much I truly miss him. You see, marriage is supposed to be about each other, and for part of that time we are making a love life together, we are also responsible for raising these little people into good adults…and all together its a hell of a lot of plates we are balancing in the air. And, some days, I just want too find a corner and cry. But, most of all, I have to remember that Mark and I come first, and some days marriage is a job. Its easy to think white picket fences, and be starry eyed. And you know, some days are 100% like that- like when we were in Napa together, drinking at a gorgeous winery, and looking out over the perfect grapes on the vine. But, the days where we are fighting over homework, and laundry, and travel schedules…well making all that work is a job. A commitment. A journey that we chose to make. And some days I plain and simply want to KILL HIM.

But, when I think about it all, and that in the end, those sweet cherubs are growing and becoming their own little people, and making their own {almost} adult decisions, I remember marriage is like a Pie, and that if Mark and I want to have a good marriage, we have to be first, and we have to commit to making that time for just the two of us, because I know that in the blink of an eye, they will be adults, with babies of their own…and my future will be about Mark, and myself and our picket fence. And I truly hope we have created a wonderful place in side that picket fence…a place that is worth fighting for, because a truly good marriage is worth it.

 

So..whats my point of the marriage pie? Take the time to make your marriage one you are proud of, one that fulfills you, one that is FUN. Remember that the wedding will go by fats, but what you are left with is this person you chose to share all of lifes adventures with. Friends and alone time is super important {hmm…I sense some foreshadowing here}, but time for just the two of you, is by far, the best thing you can do to give that primary relationship in your life the growth it needs. Remember raising good kids is so important…but even more important is sharing with your kids the ability to have a fun and loving relationship with each other, it really is the best gift you can give them {and your 50 year old self}.

And because every post needs a pic…one of us in California having some much needed marriage time!

 

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  1. John says:

    And here I am thinking, what kind of pie should I make that they would like to share TOGETHER?

  2. admin says:

    Thats because you love cooking pie! But, see you two are half way there, you can make an amazing pie for that beutiful wife of yours while talking about how your life is like a pie! Win/ win!

  3. Mark says:

    I’m not a pie person but all that pie talk has me wanting some pumpkin pie! 🙂 On a serious note though I couldn’t agree more. It is a job but one I love having and want a great relationship when it’s just us!

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