Buy the Cheez-its. Wait, what? Yup, I know what you might be thinking, “Angel, we came here for the inside scoop and maybe even some sage advice, and this is what you’re bringing to the table? Snack foods!?” lol. Trust me friends, this is part of what 10 years of marriage looks like behind the scenes.
I could spend all kinds of time sharing 10 years worth of marriage insight, and even more time on the things we still have yet to learn (there’s LOTS! I’m no marriage expert! lol) so to keep it easy, I’ve pulled together 3 things I wanted to give you a behind the scenes sneak peek of.
Buy the Cheez-Its Early on in our marriage when we were young and had no other cares in the world except each other (what was that even like!? lol) we decided we wanted to focus on eating better and so of course to me that meant ditching all the unhealthy snack foods we liked to lean on, including my husband’s absolute favorite snack food, Cheez-Its.
This went on for months and months until finally during a conversation we were having, my husband tells me that it would mean alot to him if I would keep his favorite snack in the house. He was on board to keep eating healthy in all other areas, but they’re just something he loves and that he would love for me to keep around. I didn’t know it then but the small gesture of hearing him and honoring his request was the first of many small gestures that added up over time to build 10 years worth of trust.
Brené Brown, one of my all time favorite humans ev-er (#fangirl) talks about this in her incredible book Daring Greatly, that trust isn’t built overnight. “In any interaction, there is a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner”. And so it seems small and insignificant to start off a recap of 10 years of marriage with a box of Cheez-Its, I get it, lol.
But 10 years of turning toward or away from small gestures adds up over time. And trust me when I tell you, I’m by no means an expert at this and I fall flat on my face wayyyy too many times when it comes to choosing the small gestures that show love and care and appreciation. Turning toward those small gestures of love seems so small and part of the everyday that it’s easy to miss. But they matter, and the trust they build each and every time lay bricks you can build strong foundations on.
Wanting Lasagna But Ordering Sushi I dunno about you but I’ve seen exactly one million romantic comedies where the guy just magically knows what the girl needs or wants and then they live happily ever after. I’m also a giant book nerd so the amount of stories I’ve consumed that are also like this is a ridiculous amount. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE romcoms and have watched You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle an embarrassing amount of times. I mean, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!? Yes please!!
So by the time I got married I had spent decades consuming a scripted version of love and marriage and this concept of my future husband just knowing what I need without me asking for it had planted deep roots. And the longer we were married the more I wrestled with the fact that he didn’t just magically know what I needed all the time. Or as Jen Hatmaker puts it in her book Fierce, Free and Full of Fire, “I refused to ask for help while also furious he didn’t notice I needed it”. Preach!!
Please know that I am BEYOND lucky to have a truly amazing husband who happens to be a wayyy better communicator than I am and so after the bazillionth attempt he made to help get to the root of this problem, I finally started talking about it. About the ways I was hoping he would show up for me and wasn’t and that it was leaving me disappointed and let down. And as I was saying things out loud it occurred to me that I was a giant part of the problem! I started to see the scenario we were in in a whole new way and as a lover of all! the! food! of course it finally sank in when I settled on a food related metaphor, lol.
If I’m at a restaurant and I really want lasagna, that’s what I would order right? But what if even though what I really wanted was lasagna, when the server came to take my order, I ordered sushi. Yup, not even remotely close to the lasagna I really want. So when the food comes out and the server places the sushi I ordered in front of me and I fly off the handle that I can’t believe he gave me sushi, of course he’s going to be totally bewildered and look at me with total and utter confusion! I can’t secretly want lasagna, then verbally order sushi, then lose my mind when I get sushi. That would make zero sense right?
And that my friends, is how I got my brain to firmly wrap itself around the idea of putting into practice the act of learning to be clear about asking my husband for exactly what I need. I’m not perfect at it, I’m human after all, and so in the times I feel frustrated or disappointed about my missed expectations of him, I try to check in with myself and the restaurant metaphor. “Did I secretly want lasagna but verbally ask for sushi?”. 9 times out of 10, I wanted lasagna but ordered the dang sushi! Lol. So, If I want lasagna, I gotta order lasagna! (and now I’m hungry for Italian, how about you?).
The Annual State of The Marriage Address Each year on our anniversary we spend part or most of our dinner conversation having what I’ve come to call our annual state of the marriage address. We chat about the previous year of marriage and the things we want to leave behind and the things we want to keep and bring with us in the next coming year of our marriage.
For the first few anniversaries this would look like dinners a couple hours long and avid note taking. It’s me, I’m the avid note taker, lol. After our first daughter was born it was still possible to have celebratory anniversary dinners, it just took a little while to filter out the kiddo talk before we could get to discussions about us and our marriage.
And in 2020, as we celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, this is the first anniversary we’ll have 2 kids. Not to mention a dramatically different physical and economic environment as the country and the world endure a global pandemic. So for now our celebration looks a little different than we originally planned, and we’ll bring home food to eat instead of going out, but one thing stays the same. Even though it may take us even longer to shift out of kiddo conversation now that we have two of them, I can’t wait for us to look back on the last 12 months of our marriage and decide what we’ll leave behind and what we’ll bring with us into the future. And don’t worry, I’ll for sure be taking notes!