5 Truths I’ve Learned About Marriage

Heart Hands

The first time I saw my husband is a memory that has seared itself on my brain.  I can clearly recall the moment he and two of his co-workers walked into the break room at the company I had just begun a temporary assignment at.  Needing to touch base with my sister I’d swung into the break room just for a moment to use the phone.  They sat down at a table to talk and I attempted to surreptitiously study this tall, sexy, 40s-something man with very blue eyes that calmly watched me as I tripped over whatever in the world I’d been saying while I frantically wondered who he was and if he was single.

 

Over 4 years later those blue eyes that made such an impact on me are one of the very first things I see every morning…and they still have the ability to make me trip over my words.

 

Of course there are those moments when I’m not tripping over my words.  There are moments I will not be swayed by any and all of the various aspects of my husband that make me go all gooey inside.  There are moments of frustration and irritation and worry and throwing my hands in the air and wanting to stomp my feet and slam my door and – you get the picture.

 

Does this mean I don’t think my marriage is fantastic or that I love my husband any less?  Not on your life.  It just means that we’re two ordinary people that are trying to do what anyone in a marriage does: make it work.  Here are 5 truths I have learned about making my marriage a success.

 

1.  It is work.  Sometimes, it’s hard work.  A marriage consists of two people from two different families that have often had two completely different upbringings and are attempting to make a new family, together.  Wow – that does sound like hard work.  There are a million compromises to be made as this new family is established and not everyone (uh, ahem, me) is diplomatically inclined.  Does this mean I get to railroad my husband in the decision-making?  Nope.  I am not a diplomat but he is shockingly patient.  Patient enough to wait for me to realize when I’m being an overbearing ass; he’s also kind enough to assist me down from my high horse when I require it.  (It’s a very tall horse occasionally.)

2.  You will have “funks”.  There will be times, sometimes days or even weeks, where you simply cannot seem to “click”.  Every other conversation will end in a tiff because, for no apparent reason, you seem to have utterly lost the ability to communicate.  It’s like there’s some ugly feeling hanging about in your home and it’s not in a hurry to leave.  Then, suddenly, it’s gone.  Like a cloud clears from the sky you’re back to being on the same team and there’s nothing left of it but some nervous laughter and a sense of relief at it’s passing.  I have ceased trying to make sense of these aberrations of marital bliss and am coming to accept that marriage is no different than any other relationship that we have in life in that we all experience “funks”.

3.  Choosing the right partner is the most important decision you will ever make.  A few months after my husband and I started dating I realized that I had been putting off having discussions about things like religion, life philosophies, the possibility of children, etc.because I was afraid that we would discover that we had different ideas on the important issues.  It was only after acknowledging that I was falling in love with him that I bit the bullet.  I began by asking one or two questions about religion and his views on life, knowing that if we had very different views our relationship simply was not going to work.  Obviously, we are now married and have a daughter so I am certain you can guess how those conversations turned out.  Speaking of children…

4.  Make certain your spouse is the person you wish to co-parent with – especially if the relationship fails.  I cannot over-emphasize what a disaster it is when two people are absolutely awful at parenting together.  Do you really want the drama (and cost!) of repeated court battles and nasty lawyer exchanges simply because the two of you didn’t spend time discussing every aspect of how you want to parent before you became parents?  Certainly you’ll change your minds about minor aspects after the child arrives but if you agree on the basics you are way ahead of the game.  Whether a couple ends up together or apart it is in the entire family’s best interests that the parents co-parent together successfully.  That can only happen if you agree on important factors like discipline, religion, health issues, life philosophy, etc. and have a mutual respect for one another as parents.  Too often I have watched relationships deteriorate because a couple that was perfectly happy together before children were unrealistic about their expectations of parenting together.  (Here’s a good time to reflect on Rule # 1….)

5.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T  It’s more than a catchy Aretha Franklin song.  I have learned that this is the single most important ingredient to making a marriage successful.  Don’t forget your manners; say “please” and “thank you”.  Remember what your mother taught you: treat others (your spouse) the way you wish to be treated.  Too often I am snappish and grouchy and just plain temperamental.  Strangely, when my husband responds in kind I feel hurt.  Um, duh.  I am (still) learning that just because someone loves you and is around all the time doesn’t mean that they should be a dumping ground for your funky feelings.  In fact, maybe because they love you and they chose to be around you all the time you should treat them better than others.

 

Over the past 4 years of Coupledom and 2 years of marriage we have added many more memories to our relationship.  Some that are mundane and some that are meaningful.  We’ve had really great moments and some completely awful missteps. I’ve learned that being part of Team Myrum (yeah – I went there) is the most meaningful and most difficult thing I have ever undertaken.  I absolutely would not change a thing.

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My Home: My Family

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Warning: I’m going to get all mushy in this post.  I can’t help it – I always get mushy when I talk about my family.  In less than 2 years they have turned me into a giant walking ball of mush.  I am my very own marshmallow.  I now shudder at the thought of campfires and the sight of graham crackers and chocolate bars.

 

When I think about Monica I often feel as if everything before her was only leading up to her.  I feel that way about my husband, too, but something about being a mother to her makes me feel absolutely, wholly and utterly complete.

 

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For most of my life I felt completely adrift, as if this world was one giant ocean and I was just one tiny rowboat riding the waves searching for a harbor. Bumping into one continent or another, weathering storms and hoping to see the lighthouse promising land and safe haven if only I made it around the rocks to shore.  Then I met my husband and he became my anchor.  …Then he gave me our daughter and I found a home.

 

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Every person is different: for some people money or power or beauty or even fame is what makes their lives mean something.  We all want to mean something.  For me it’s my family.  It’s corny, but that’s all right.  So long as their laughs still make my heart brim and their love feeds my soul I imagine life will be as fulfilling as I always hoped it could be.

 

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Truly, my family makes me want to be the best possible version of myself and to believe that such a thing is possible.

 

They are my happy ending.

Dear Sun: I Miss You

For certain my body misses the sun greatly in the Norwegian winter.  I am, apparently, ill-suited for Norwegian winters and the months of little sunlight.  Last year when I experienced body aches, dramatic sleepiness and an inability to focus I assumed I was experiencing a form of cabin fever.  Turns out I am one of the lucky many to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency due (largely) to not receiving enough UV light from the (absent) sun in the winter here.  This year I recognized my fabulous winter blues for what they were.  I am uncertain how many Norwegian winters I will make it through before having to throw in the towel.  (Disclaimer: I say this metaphorically – I do not make a habit of abusing towels.)

In an effort to cheer myself I have decided to share some of my favorite pictures of Norway.

 

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Ah, now I do feel better.  🙂  Here’s keeping my fingers crossed that spring doesn’t take it’s time finding us and that Norway shakes off it’s winter clothes and steps out in its full glory soon.

New Beginnings

Recently I sat down and reevaluated why it was that I had been hesitant to draft a post for This Big Yellow House. Over this past year and some months I repeatedly excused myself from posting. Some of the reasoning was valid but most, if I am honest, was not. I have come to recognize that I put off dedicating myself to a blog that was meant to keep family and friends in the U.S. updated with what was new and happening for the Myrum family here in Norway because, well, my attitude and state of mind just sucked. lt’s difficult to draft a positive post when you feel anything but.

The craziest thing about the situation is that I was very well aware of the cause. It’s two little words, neither of which are more than two syllables but they felt massive (deep breath): culture shock.

I spent over six months researching Norway before we relocated in May of 2012. I have a Norwegian husband. I was pregnant with our Norwegian baby. I have not a single clue why these facts convinced me that I was any more prepared to embrace a completely new culture and language and home than any other person.

You see, somehow I suspected there would be some sort of parade (complete with floats) when we landed at Gardermoen. I was fairly certain that I would exit the plane and magically understand, speak and write Norwegian. I would bond with Norway as if I’d been born to it.

Disappointment was profound. You know that they don’t have many parades here outside of May 17th? Oh, and apparently learning Norwegian requires mye mer (much more) effort than I’d hoped (we’ll touch on that in another post). Not only that but (gasp!) Norway has actually managed very well without me.

I still can’t imagine why I’ve had such a difficult time acclimating.

Joking aside, while my expectations weren’t quite as unrealistic as stated I have to acknowledge that they weren’t rooted in anything resembling reality. I’ve only taken stock recently of my situation and begun to realize that after a few months of having arrived in Norway I stopped seeing the things about this country that I really, really like and have obsessed over the multitude that have surprised, perplexed or (in some cases) downright angered me. After a lot of soul-searching I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay to see both but that I could quite possibly ruin a potentially wonderful opportunity to feel more a part of the world by living IN it, rather than living in judgement of it.

So with that decided I’ll end this first post by saying “welcome” and I hope anyone that stops by for a read enjoys what is probably a rather odd little view of a rather odd little country that’s managed to produce two of my (hands down) favorite things: The Husband and our wonderful little Monica.