Thankful November Day 30

Thankful November Day 30

 

I end my month of thankfulness with something I’m eternally thankful for: my husband, Jim.

I’ll start off with this thought: marriage is HARD.  While I always wanted to get married, I must admit that I had the idealized vision of marriage. The Hollywood version, if you will. I didn’t really have marriage role models growing up, so I daydreamed what it would be like to be married without really knowing what I would be getting myself into. All the good stuff and none of the bad.

I married a good guy. I know plenty of people say this about their partner and I’m happy to be part of that group.

He’s supportive, understanding of my mental health and loving. He makes me laugh and I look forward to seeing him as a dad. Sometimes I can’t believe how much he loves me, maybe because I have trouble loving myself at times. He makes sure I get what I need (and want) and makes sacrifices to do so.  My husband cooks and does the dishes. He does “perimeter checks” at night to make sure the house is safe and secure. We watch certain TV series and he’ll mimic and quote the shows so many times that I roll my eyes (but I still find it funny). He annoys me too, but that just goes with the territory when you live with someone. I know for a fact there are things I do that annoy him as well!

This picture pretty much sums up our relationship…

I’m not going to say I’m lucky I found him. While I know I am lucky, I also acknowledge the challenging work I put into finding the right spouse for me. I knew what I wanted in a partner and I wasn’t going to settle for any less.

I was (and still am) a huge fan of Oprah. I watched The Oprah Winfrey Show religiously. I took notes on such topics as abuse, mental health issues and finding your authentic self. I didn’t know how to function as an adult sometimes and that’s where my life teacher, Oprah, stepped in.  One guest on a show about relationships stated that if you wanted to find a meaningful relationship, write down 3 things (not based on looks) that you want in a romantic partner and tuck it away. I did this in my journal, on the very last page. I made a lengthy list that included qualities like ambitious, likes to travel, good listener, tolerant and understands the need for personal space. Then, I narrowed it down to my big 3: funny, stable and smart.

After dating for what seemed like forever, I finally found the one that hit all 3 (as well as every other quality on my list). I didn’t settle, and I didn’t focus on the fact that I was getting older and it seemed like everyone around me was settling down. It was difficult at times, but I knew deep down that someone would be the right fit for my life. Also, I was older and wiser. I knew myself more towards the end of my twenties, which helped me with my relationship with Jim.

It’s not all sunshine and roses. There are times we fight, especially in the early days of our marriage. We were learning to live together, as well as deal with major life changes (death of parents, job changes and buying a house). During these early days of marriage, I was unaware of my PTSD, so the nightmares, upsetting flashbacks and lashing out towards my husband was a mystery. That all changed last year, when I finally had the courage to be fully honest with a therapist. I was diagnosed with PTSD and it changed our marriage for the better. My husband is a psych nurse and when I shared with him my diagnosis, he fully understood where I was coming from. We discussed what I needed from him (space when I was feeling overwhelmed, a calming touch when I woke up from a nightmare and time to focus on my coping skills.) As for the arguing, I will admit our fighting style has progressed. No longer are we seeing who can yell the loudest. Before our argument escalates, we know that we need space to think and process our thoughts and feelings.  I tend to speak my mind and I don’t always use a filter. By excusing myself, I can take the time to think about what we are fighting about and then reconvene to discuss the argument. My husband agrees with this tactic and it has made a world of difference.

No one has a perfect marriage. People only post the highlight reels of their relationships and lives. I know I do. I’m not going to post a picture of my husband and I fighting or list all the gory details of the arguments, but I will post a picture of us riding in the car or walking in the park. I love to document everything, my marriage included, to remind me of the good times.  There’s no one else I’d rather come home to or spend life moments, big and small, with. I have my own personal cheerleader who supports whatever crazy idea I come up with (even when I’m not fully on board with the idea myself).

I love my husband and the life we have created together so far.

Over the summer, I wrote a blog post for The Mighty about finding a partner while dealing with PTSD. Click here to check it out!

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