Marriage: The Double Decade Meltdown

I have noticed something totally terrifying. For some reason, when marriages hit the 16-20 year mark, things change. And sometimes, it’s bad.

I love being married. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to kick Jason in the head, but when it comes right down to it I feel like I’m married to part Superman, part golden retriever. The guy is loyal, he works hard at being a good dad, rocks date night, and tells me when I look hot. Sure, we miscommunicate, and sometimes I feel neglected, and he occasionally gets yelled at for really stupid reasons. But when push comes to shove, I want him. Period.

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about the double decade epidemic surrounding us because, quite frankly, we’re both terrified by it. Last night, after a rather deep conversation regarding the Things That Make Couples Break Up, he actually wanted to cuddle with me, just because. If that doesn’t spell “I’M FREAKED OUT” I don’t know what does. He was like an old dog during a lightening storm.

Because at eleven plus years, we both want to prevent the terror of whatever virus seems to creep into apparently healthy marriages and wreak havoc. How? How can we make sure we don’t get complacent, bored, detached, or just plain nuts?

And so, being the list maker that I am, I’ve designed a sure-fire plan to keep the home fires blazing. I have no idea what the outcome will be: it might be brilliant, or it might be BS, but at least it’s something.

1. Make eye contact every day, at least once. If you find yourself feeling disconnected, focus on your mate’s eyes for a moment during dinner and really listen to what they’re saying, even if it’s just a minute.

2. Roll up the rugs and drag out the dust bunnies, because unresolved cracks in your marriage NOW will mean potential canyons in the future. Jason and I scoured our brains last night to make sure we weren’t forgetting to fight about something important.

3. Now and then, take a date night and close down the restaurant talking. Sometimes it takes an hour to talk through the incidental stuff, but it’s the only way to get to the meat–your goals and dreams and fears and plans. We did this last weekend, and it felt so good to really connect. It’s been way too long.

4. Never underestimate the value of QNT (quality naked time).

5. For crying out loud, pray together. Sometimes I don’t even know that Jason is worried about something until we’re having couple prayers; sometimes he talks to God more openly than he talks to me.

Wherever you are with your marriage, I’ve realized this week that we’re all vulnerable. There are a million and one traps out there waiting to trip you up and break apart your commitment. We need to be vigilant. Be committed. Be aware.

Just saying this out loud makes me feel way better.

Fat Ugly Girl

So the other day my girlfriend calls me.

“Hey, I have to go with my husband to a fancy dinner tonight and I have nothing to wear. Got anything?”

Now we all know that I’m all about fancy everything, so I invite her over to raid my closet.

She drops in and I pull out this gorgeous cocktail number that I got on a super deal last winter, complete with matching strappy gold stilettos. She puts it on, opens the door, and my jaw hits the floor.

She looked GO-O-ORGEOUS. Talk about the belle of the ball, she could have gone without a stitch of makeup and hair in an old ponytail and still have stoled the show.

As I’m standing there, gawking at her fantasticness, she does what every woman in her shoes would most likely do: she pinches a non-existent piece of fat, scowls at herself in the mirror, and says, “I don’t know, I might be too hippy for it.”

Why do we do this to ourselves? Because let’s face it, we all do it. It doesn’t matter how smokin’ hot we look in something, one glance in the mirror and all we see is that zit, or a patch of wrinkles, or some otherwise attractive bulge that we like to call “flab”, but that any man would secretly wiggle his eyebrows at.

The saddest part is that when we go out in public, most people don’t look at us and pinch our fat with their eyes, trying to find any and every possible flaw. And when people give a compliment, the initial reaction for most women is shock. Really? You think I look nice? Ugly old me?

We all know I wasn’t about to stand around and listen to that kind of negative self-talk, and anyone with eyes could see that her arguments were spineless. She looked good, and she deserved to feel good. It only took one good, honest look in the mirror before she saw herself for the beauty she is. I think sometimes we forget that we’re hurting our own feelings.

Let me tell it to you straight. You are as beautiful as you think you are. You want to feel better about yourself? Be kind to that girl in the mirror and stop tearing her down. When you catch a glimpse of yourself this week, say something nice, out loud, and squelch those old self-esteem killing comments you usually make. Give yourself a break and show some love.

You deserve it.