People often ask us what the trick is for a happy marriage. We don’t know any tricks, but we do have two rules.
Hubby and I have been married for seven years now, and together for a total of fourteen. Seven years ago, we got married in a park, under a gazebo, with 16 people we love. Our wedding was simple and magical. Emmanuel wore these super cute dress shorts. His mom hated them. I wore a skirt and a button down. Super inexpensive. Super authentic. Super us. I had tried on the wedding dresses and wanted to throw up. The tulle, the gowns. It all just didn’t feel like me. At all.
Weeks after we got married, we moved to Nashville for Medical School. Not the most ideal way to start a marriage. Three huge transitions within weeks of each other were certainly less than ideal.
I’m not sure when we made the rules of our marriage. Perhaps it was days before our wedding. Maybe we came up with them on the honeymoon. Maybe after a fight in Nashville. I can’t be sure when the rules were created, but these rules seemed to have been around for forever.
There are only two rules we live by. Perhaps there are more undiscussed rules that we just subconsciously know, and adhere to, but these are the two rules we explicitly live by in our marriage. More specifically in the hard parts of our marriage.
1. No “d” word. Not that d word. Get your head out of the gutter. Divorce. Divorce is not allowed in our vocabulary. No matter how big the fight. No matter how angry we are. We have said a lot of choice words to each other (hey, we are not perfect), but divorce is not one of them. We made the (easy for use) decision to choose to spend the rest of our life with the other person. Truly it felt easy. For me, it was obvious. The only logical path. Anyways, we made the choice to commit to never saying, “We should get a divorce”. It helps us feel safe in our partnership, no matter how messy things feel.
2. The second (and last rule) is no sleeping on the couch. You have seen on shows and movies, and perhaps even in your own homes, when the parents fight, the dad can be found sleeping on the couch. Heck, even our favorite TV show couple, Randall and Beth had a slump in their marriage, and where was Randall? On the couch. So, our rule is no matter how angry we are at the other person, nobody sleeps on the couch. We sleep in the same bed, right next to each other. The couch, as we see it, is a slippery slope. If we choose it for one night, it will be easier to choose it for the next. So, instead we choose each other.
We choose each other. Over and over again. When it’s hard. When it’s easy. On the good days and on the bad. When we are exhausted. When we are mad or sad or anything, we choose to choose each other over and over again. These two rules help us always feel safe in our relationship. No matter how unsafe we may feel at times outside of our home, our home is always a safe place. I like to think that makes us walk through the world a little bit taller, knowing we are never alone. I can’t explain exactly how it makes us feel, other than loved. We use these rules to help us choose each other. To help us choose love.
What rules do you have in your relationship?