I started training Francis, J&J’s new Micro Market “Koala-T” Enforcer this week.
On Monday, mostly because I was craving a strawberry waffle I took him to breakfast at Baldie’s, the best café in the East Bay.
Over breakfast Francis and I were talking about life when he asked me a question that has had me thinking for a few days.
“What do you think the secret to marriage is?”
“Oh man….. I don’t know…I’m only three months in,” was the best response I could come up with on the spot.
We changed topics but my mind has been pondering the question ever since.
Here’s the best I can come up with (please remember this Saturday I’m really only 3 months in):
The secret to marriage is compromise. It’s driving to Fresno to plant a tree on Saturday morning for your best friend and then driving to Paso Robles because you were supposed to be at a family weekend with his parents and friends.
It’s giving each other space; space for their things, space for their ideas, and space for their quirks that drive you crazy but that you also love them for.
It’s giving the other permission to be themselves, to be human, to get mad because the dishes aren’t rinsed or because they left their shoes out instead of putting them away.
It’s making time for each other to hear about their day, to care about what matters to them even if you don’t fully get it. And it’s making sacrifices so that they are free to have their own time, hoping in turn they’ll do the same for you.
From what I can tell marriage is a give and take; it’s swallowing your pride and working to resolve the issue rather than fixating on just being right. It’s letting go of the notion that things have to be “fair.”
Things won’t always be fair. Chores won’t always be divided equally, work schedules won’t always be the same, sometimes you will make more sacrifices than your spouse but I think the most important thing is remembering that you aren’t “always” the one who sacrifices. Marriage is a 50/50 work in progress but some days it may be a 40/60 divide or an 80/20.
And I think the key in all of it is to continue to love yourself, continue to encourage yourself, to do the things that build you up and to forgive yourself when you feel like you’re not getting it right. Let go of the mistakes, yours and theirs.
And finally never doubt your commitment to the cause.
Ryan and I had dinner with our friends Rob and Kim, a couple of 16 years, on Friday night. We were talking about marriage and Rob said “it was easy.” That once they resolved they were together that was it. That the years go by fast and you forget that you’ve been married for so long because there was never a doubt that you were in it for good. You have a teammate for life.
So that’s it. That’s my 3 month in, secret to marriage advice. If I had to sum it up in one single sentence I think it’d be this:
Be kind to your spouse, prioritize their needs, be honest about yours and always remember you’re on the same team.