It was 2010, I was 27 years old and I was officially divorced. I still hate saying that word. I was embarrassed and heart broken. 2010 is when the economy went to (cover your ears cause I’m about to cuss) shit. I was laid off my job. My husband served me divorce papers. We had to short sale our home for literally half of what we paid for it (we bought when the market was out of control high). I went through a job loss, a divorce and losing my home in a matter of months. Some of you will never go through any of these your entire lives. I do not wish these events on anyone, ever. I was in the pit of my life. I felt the world crashing down on me. I’m not here to go into depth of why that relationship ended, however. I am here to tell you what I learned from that relationship.
PUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP FIRST. Your relationship is above jobs, friends, activities and now I can say children. I can’t tell you how much I value my relationship with my hubby now. We put us first. I appreciate how he checks in with me to see about our plans before he makes plans for work travel or with his friends. I want to make clear he is not asking my permission, he’s simply being courteous of our time together. With everything going on in our lives it’s easy to forget that there is an “us” who started this whole family and we need to make sure we are taking care of that. Otherwise, this whole thing can go downhill fast.
DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN YOUR FRIENDS RELATIONSHIPS, especially when there are issues going on. I promised myself that was never going to happen again. I wasn’t going to spend anymore time fighting battles for others. All this does is lead to more fighting in your own household. There is enough to worry about when it’s just the two of you, don’t go bringing in other battles into your own home.
COMMUNICATE with one another. And, make eye contact when speaking to one another. I’m so lucky my hubby is H-U-G-E into making me “use my words.” And, he makes me look at him when I speak; crazy I know! I can go forever without saying anything about how I feel. When I’m upset, either mad or hurt, I shut down. The only thing that can come out is angry, hurtful words that I can never take back. He won’t stand for the silent treatment for long though. He does understand if I’m upset that I need some time to decompress and think about what I want to say, without having verbal vomit all over him. If he didn’t allow me that time to decompress, he’d be messy. I appreciate that people think I’m so nice and they can’t picture us arguing, but if that ain’t the biggest load of crap! We don’t argue/fight often, I will admit, but when we do, I’ve learned to tell him to back up, back up, back it way up and let me breathe. It does neither of us any good for me to be upset and speaking. Those don’t go hand in hand. Once we are calm, cool, and collected we can begin our conversation about the situation.
Back in the day social media wasn’t all the rage, nor was texting. I heavily relied on phone calls while he was working. That wasn’t always easy in his profession. Today, I’m so thankful for Facebook, Instagram, Face Time and any other social media outlet out there when my hubby is traveling. It makes me feel closer to him to see him on the other end of the call. Or, if I feel like letting the whole world know I miss him, I can post on his wall, or upload a photo.
FIND ACTIVITIES TO DO TOGETHER. Whether it be working out together, traveling, going on walks, what ever, find something to do together. I’m a huge advocate of having your own personal time away from one another, so I don’t think you need to spend 24/7 together, but there should be some things you do together, aside from just being married. I found that in my prior relationship pretty much everything we did was separate, aside from attending weddings or functions. When Nick and I were dating we had a personal trainer together; it was actually really fun for us. We were competitive and pushed each other to be better. Once we were done with that we still worked out as a team (our trainer called us ShaNick). If there’s one thing I still wish we would do more of is travel alone. Every time we travel we are with large groups. Do not get me wrong, I LOOOVVVE my large group of travelers, but I could use a weekend to Tahoe or Napa just us two. But, with the little guy, we don’t really do that anyway. I look forward to more adventures with Nick and I in the future.
GET GOD IN THERE. Pre-Nick, I wasn’t into church or the whole God thing. In fact I was pretty against the whole thing. I didn’t start going to church until after my divorce. I thought I had nothing to lose at the point because I literally had nothing. So, the first time I went, I went alone. Not going to lie, I was terrified. I totally thought I was going to be judged from every single person there. My first time I knew I was in the right place and that God had put me in that spot. The first time I was there, they announced everything that was going on in the church. The first thing that was announced was a Divorce Recovery Workshop. My heart sank. These churchy people talk about divorce and even have a workshop, I thought? No way! People in church don’t get divorced, nor do they speak about it. It’s a terrible, terrible thing, again so I thought. It was then that I knew God put me in that spot. Almost every time I went I would end up in tears during the worship (music) portion. I didn’t get it. How was music making me so upset? I was there to feel better, not worse. Turns out, I would end up feeling better every time I left. Any time the pastor would speak on a topic I felt it was directed right at me. I literally would look around thinking, how is this guy in my head? Is this guy talking directly to me? From there on out, I’ve been a believer. I went to church alone for about a year. Nick would offer to come with me, but it was my thing and I wanted to do it alone for a while. He was skeptical to jump back in as well. But, we found some great leaders and haven’t looked back since. I even got baptized for the first time in my life. Let me tell ya, Oh what a feelin’!! We’ve seen first hand the mysterious ways in which God works, and he works some miracles. He’s answered prayers in the most round about way. We didn’t always understand those reasons, but we do our best to just believe and not wonder.
DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME APART. I know I said spend time apart, but there’s such a thing as too much time apart, I think. Nick travels for work, so that gives us a break for a week a month. Before we had AJ, I would relish the alone time. (Now with the babe, I’m like get yo ass back home, pleeeease)! Not because I couldn’t wait to get away from Nick, but because it was my me time. If I wanted to sit in silence for hours I could or I could binge watch all of my crap reality shows. When he returned I would be refreshed and was excited to have him back. It’s really true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
So, lets recap what I learned. I hope some of these things help you out as well.
- Put your relationship first
- Don’t get involved in your friends relationships
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate and make eye contact while doing so and do not say things you can never take back
- Find activities to do as a couple
- Get God in there
- Don’t spend too much time apart
Cheers friends… Now go nurture your relationship