Today my husband Kyle and I celebrate 3 years of marriage. Sometimes it feels like our special day was just yesterday, while others it feels like a lifetime ago. I understand that to some 3 years may not be a lot but for me its been long enough to take away quite a few lessons. I’m sure if you’ve followed me for a while now you may have been expecting a fluffy “I love you, this has been the best 3 years of my life, you’re so perfect for me” type of blog post. Well, sorry not sorry sister, this ain’t it. 

 You see society has lied to us. The common hashtag #relationshipgoals (which I too am guilty of using) has led our generation to believe in this picture perfect magical hollywood type scenario. One where the man works for the family, comes home every day to a clean and well organized home, brings flowers to his beloved, and they are constantly giddy and excited to be around one another. We really need a wake up call you guys because that….that is NOT marriage. 

Marriage is built on milestones and defeats of life. It is the union we come back to when times get hard (and trust me they will) to remember the covenant we made to one another. Life isn’t always going to hand you the cards you want. The good thing about having marriage during those times is you no longer have to face those difficult things a lone. You are a team and face them together. However, learning how to do this efficiently and effectively takes time!

 In the last 3 years I personally have lost many family members. It was a shock to my system. I was depressed, I’ve gained weight, I have lacked motivation and energy. My expectation was that Kyle would come save me. He would pick me up off the bed, twirl me around, and take me out to wherever my heart desired to help get me back on my feet. I mean, this is the type of #relationshipgoals that hollywood & social media claim to be part of a normal and thriving relationship. We are “normal” and “thriving”… So of course it would be that way right? I was in for a rude awakening. While yes, Kyle was there for me, it wasn’t in the way of roses every day after work and constant smiles. You see he has his own story with death. He has had a rough life filled with loss and disappointment and the way he handles emotions is not at all the same way I do. What seemed cold to me seemed normal to him. He didn’t understand what my expectation was. And quite frankly I can’t blame him. It’s not like you sit around every day and talk about “what my expectations are for when one of our loved ones dies”. We literally had NEVER had this conversation before yet here I was expecting him to read my mind and come sweep me off my feet. And when that didn’t quite pan out the way I was expecting…. we had some fights. I shed some tears. We had some words that probably weren’t the best. It wasn’t fair. And all because both of our expectations of a life situation such as death had never been spoken about nor experienced and therefore our expectations were not met. You have to be willing to open up, talk about the hard things, and work together towards a realistic expectation for certain situations. Sometimes its happens before a difficult life event, and sometimes it’s learned so you can both be better next time around. Which leads me to lesson #1.

 Lesson #1: LET GO OF YOUR BULLSHIT EXPECTATIONS
 When you enter into a marriage it’s no longer just about YOU. You have, in front of God and your loved ones, committed to bringing on another person and all the baggage that comes with them. This means together you have to work on unpacking it, organizing it, and then making all that baggage from both sides fit into your new luggage called MARRIAGE. This task is not easy. It’s not usually all that fun. It takes perseverance, patience, strength, and a whole lotta love. We live in this age where people are used to getting what they want almost instantly. And while for certain reasons that can be awesome I truly believe it has negatively impacted our relationships. If you enter into marriage expecting that this person is going to INSTANTLY be the person you dreamed of when you were younger. You know that dream we all have (or maybe it’s just me idk) about who you’ll marry and what they will be like and how once you have that relationship all of your problems will be solved right?! Wrong. I bet when you were dreaming of your future partner you didn’t dream up all that baggage we spoke about above that would come along with them. It takes time for people to sort through their own baggage let alone someone else’s. You have to be patient as people work through their shit and evolve. Which leads me to lesson #2.

 Lesson #2: BE PATIENT AS PEOPLE EVOLVE
 The person you marry, will not be the same person you are staring at 3 years later or 10 years for that matter. PEOPLE CHANGE. And if we work together through that evolution it should be for the better, together, in holy matrimony. I can tell you right now the man I married 3 years ago is not the same man I wake up to now. And that’s okay. Because I am not the same woman either. 3 houses, 4 fur babies, and new careers later…We have grown. We have been through some things both separately and together. We have been slowly working on sorting out our baggage and getting rid of what no longer serves us in our current relationship or the life we are trying to build.  I think this is where marriage really begins to play a huge part. So many marriages fail. Like its a huge scary statistic and I think its part of the reason that more and more people choose not to get married. They will say “it’s just a piece of paper” “I don’t need it to solidify my love” blah blah. And while to an extent, yes that may be partially true, let me spit this at ya. Marriage is a binding commitment to create a life and legacy with someone you love and trust. Marriage means, when shit goes down and you REALLLLLLY don’t like the person you’re staring at for whatever reason, you don’t just pack up your bags and walk away. You work through it. To me marriage always makes us come back to the table and revisit what it is we want together during our time here, and how are we working towards achieving that in this very moment. Whatever is in the way or causing a road block, we address and we conquer it. When I was in previous relationships I always knew there was an easy way out. I had NOT fully committed my life to this person. While yes, I have never cheated and may have committed myself in that way, legally and spiritually I really had no commitments. If things got too hard, or I didn’t get my way too many times, I could easily walk out and not have to think twice. No strings attached. Marriage is basically signing on to ALL THE STRINGS ATTACHED. And no movie, social media post, not even this very blog is going to prepare you for what all that entails. Which leads me to lesson #3.

 Lesson #3: Marriage is NOT for the weak.
  It takes strength, integrity, vulnerability, fighting, and selflessness to grow a solid foundation to allow your marriage to flourish. It can be uncomfortable at times. When you realize that you literally have to open up every part of your soul to another human being. It’s scary. I can honestly say that Kyle knows all of my bad habits, fears, insecurities…it’s like giving permission for someone else to see the worst in you yet they still choose to love you anyway. Marriage to me should mirror the unconditional love of christ (or the universe whatever your beliefs are). And that’s why so many fail. They don’t want to be vulnerable. They don’t want to fight for their relationship. They put all of these ridiculous conditions on how far their love will go for the other. (Conditions that do NOT include obvious infidelity or abuse. I do NOT condone that behavior.) When you both are trying hard to mirror the love of Christ, in my opinion, it allows you to grow in such a mature way that the only way to go is up. Marriage forces you to drop your selfishness and start putting someone else’s needs on the same level as your own. Notice I didn’t say above, I didn’t say below, I said the same level. I try to strive and give my husband the same respect I give myself. It’s a work in progress at times, however it’s something that helps keep me on track. I have seen many people fall victim to looking outside of their marriage for healing. Instead of being strong and facing issues head on they start entertaining other sources of attention/affection/intimacy instead of working on what they already have. Which leads me to lesson #4.

 Lesson #4: CHOOSE YOUR MARRIAGE
  Excluding abuse and infidelity, I truly believe that the grass is NOT greener on the other side. I have witnessed this in so many marriages where “needs aren’t being met” and so one party decides to take it outside of the marriage vs. working on the root issue. No wonder divorce rates are through the roof you guys. It’s so easy to find someone else to entertain us when we feel our partner isn’t giving us what we want. People are always looking for external validation. Well guess what, at some point down the road it’s going to be more baggage to sort through and more issues to overcome with someone else. Again this is where the commitment of marriage comes in to play. Yeah, you can pretty much have your pick of the litter now a days. Technology definitely allows temptations to enter into anyones life. However, its your CHOICES that determine where your marriage will end up. To me in marriage you CHOOSE your partner every time. You fix problems as a team. 

 One last lesson I have learned in the last 3 years comes from a more spiritual side. I understand that not everyone reading this will have the same beliefs as I do, but for those of you who do…

 Lesson #5: Pray for your partner
  There have been times where I honestly have been SO MAD at Kyle. Like don’t want to talk to him or hardly be in the same room for whatever reason. And for a while I would just sit and stew. I would be internally talking with God and tattling on my own husband. (As if God doesn’t already know what went wrong lol) And then one day it was like a light build went off. 

 “Miranda, pray for him.”

Now, I don’t mean pray for him like you pray for everyone you usually do. I mean I always pray for my loved ones peace, safety, and health. But it occurred to me that while I was tattling on my husband I was asking God to make him into all of the things I WANTED him to be. Vs. asking God to help him flourish into the man HE WANTS him to be. That was a HUGE awakening for me. So every night for the past few months, whether I am angry or not, I lay hands on my husband while he sleeps and I ask God to please allow Kyle to flourish into the man that he intended for him to become. I realize that by asking God for my own expectations on who Kyle should be or how he should act is simply selfish, and in the long run it won’t do either of us any good. I want to see and love Kyle for the man he really is, under the guidance of God. It has honestly made me think twice when I get angry and I am practicing my “angry stewing” as I call it. (I know I can’t be the only one who does this lol)

Now I realize that not all relationships are the same, obviously. There are some scenarios where divorce honestly is the best option. Just make sure you have exhausted all options before coming to that conclusion. Really make sure you both have worked as hard as you can to keep it together before you decide to leave. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are healthy marriages. It takes times. It takes a lot of time and effort. I see too many people that give up so easily and it saddens me. If only they could see what a solid commitment to their marriage could do in the long run. 

 

 

 With all of this being said, the last 3 years as Kyle Woodruff’s wife have been such a blessing to me. We have fought, we have loved, we have laughed, we have cried, we have disappointed one another, and we have learned how to apologize. There are so many things that we are still working on improving and so many things that we do that keep our marriage fun and alive. He is my partner. He is the father of my fur babies. He is my provider. He is the man that makes me tear up when I think of, as recent death has taught me, possibly living life without him here. He is the man I choose to be the father of my future children. The man I gave my life, heart, and soul to. The one I want to build an entire life here on earth with. I want him on his good and bad days. I never knew that I was missing something so imperative to my life goals and legacy until I met Kyle. He really is the missing piece for me.
 I hope one day you all find your missing piece. I hope you all can work hard to build not #relationshipgoals or the perfect marriage, but a realistic and loving one that makes you and your partner the best versions of yourselves. 

XoXo, 

Miranda Woodruff

The Maven Life