Oh, marriage. When a young person brings up this topic, people are quick to associate it with another word: divorce.

In case anyone was wondering, the whole “50% of marriages end in divorce” these days is actually outdated. While I was researching the divorce rate for this post, I learned that the divorce rate has gone down in recent years and now the divorce rate is 3.2 per 1,000 people. Cool! 

Why do I bring this up when I am talking about my own marriage? Well, we both have divorced parents! Naturally, the statistics are against us. At least, I think they are because I am fairly sure that I read somewhere that children who come from divorced families are more likely to get divorced, too. I’m pleased to report that we are still going strong after four years and the only “D” words in this marriage are “deployment,” “drunk,” and “dog.”

We have seen many friends of ours go through divorces and it does sting a little bit, especially when it is a couple that we never thought would get divorced. 

When it comes to our marriage, I think we have seen firsthand what works, and what doesn’t. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes, because we definitely do. We have been careful to not repeat the mistakes of our parents or ex-step-parents. 

With that said, I like to think that we have a very successful and loving marriage so far 😉 Here are the things we do to make it that way.

We have absolute trust in each other.

My biggest flaw in past relationships was distrusting my partner. My first boyfriend ever cheated on me and controlled me, so this really set the tone for my relationships afterward. 

The difference between Michael and these other relationships is while others would essentially tell me I was just being crazy or overreacting, Michael truly understood the root of my general distrust of men and showed me that I could trust him from the very beginning.

I trust my husband hardcore. I don’t second guess anything that he says to me because we have the type of relationship where we can tell each other anything without fear of being judged. It may make the other person mad, but we say it anyway because being honest with each other is very important to us. We both agree that relationships without trust are just not going to work. The single way to destroy trust with us is dishonesty. 

Photo by Michael Chansley

We communicate, even if we might say something that the other person doesn’t want to hear.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with what I said above. We don’t hide anything and we communicate how we are feeling, even if it might upset the other person. Obviously, if I am doing something wrong or something that Michael does not like, he needs to tell me or else I’ll just keep doing it and vice versa. We communicate about everything: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright weird.

This has helped us a lot with my anxiety, too. I’ve learned that the more I communicate about how I am feeling to Michael, the better I feel because he helps me work through my feelings. He doesn’t think my anxious thoughts are “annoying” or that I am “overthinking” because he understands that the thoughts I deal with are very real to me, even if they are far-fetched to him. 

Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

We make decisions as a team. We always have and we always will. Our good communication helps with that. Back in 2015, we were in a car accident that totaled Michael’s 2006 Ford Focus that we had just paid off. The driver’s insurance company was trying to get us to sign to close the claim right away, most likely because they didn’t want to pay for any medical bills that might arise from us being rear-ended with such force. Michael refused to sign it because he knew what they were trying to do. He told me about it and we made the decision to just let it expire without signing anything. Literally that day, they called me behind Michael’s back and tried to get me to sign the paperwork! I just laughed at them and said, “do you really think that my husband and I don’t talk about important things like this? I won’t be signing it either.”

We are faithful.

As I stated above, we both have divorced parents. Naturally, divorce was something we were nervous about at first. Before we got married, we discussed the “tough stuff.” We had asked each other what actions or behavior would be absolutely unforgivable and lead to divorce in this marriage. Michael said cheating; I said cheating or abuse. 

On top of that, being unfaithful is just flat out wrong. If you are in a relationship and it is supposed to be an exclusive relationship, then just don’t cheat on your partner! I am honestly not sure why that is such a difficult concept to grasp. 

I love my husband to the end of the universe and back. I literally do not have eyes for anyone else and I know he feels the same way about me.

We have mutual respect for each other.

This is pretty self-explanatory. We have respect for one another. We don’t call each other names, lie to one another, or go behind each other’s back. If we don’t feel comfortable with the other person doing something, we will voice that (and explain it). Usually, this results in the person not doing the said thing because we have that respect in our relationship.

Photo by Michael Chansley

We are each other’s biggest fan.

We always root for each other. When Michael was trying to get his pilot spot, I was alongside him to support him in whatever way I could. That typically meant proofreading his essays for school. When I was looking into going back to school and asked him about it, his response was, “go for it, sweetie!” We are always cheering each other on through the exciting times and we are always supporting each other through the tough times.

I also think above all, we just have a lot of fun together. When we got engaged, I was 20 years old, about to turn 21. So many people told me things like, “but your life is just beginning!” or “you still need to have fun without being tied down!” Getting married is NOT a death sentence, people! You CAN have fun while being married. Michael and I have had a BLAST together, traveling the world and experiencing new things. I wouldn’t do it any other way!

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