Thursday, February 7, 2013

On love: The real kind.


I took Marriage Prep when I was a freshman in college.

We sat in a room together on the first day. Forty girls. Pencils poised. Barren ring fingers on most of our left hands. Pure attentiveness on our teacher. And completely ready to note-take ourselves into the most perfect and prepared little wives we could be. And then our teacher told us,

"When you get married, you are on drugs."

And then she taught us lots and lots of other things. For the entire rest of the semester. Some happy, some dream-killer-ish but mostly all hopeful and very very enlightening. I don't know where my notes are. I don't remember 95% of what we learned. But I remember some things. And I find them extremely extremely relevant. Who knew that a tiny percentage of my country-song-listening-to self would turn into kind of a realist? (hi grandma! Are you proud?!)

This is what I remember:

1. A survey was conducted at BYU Provo. Students were asked to rate their marriage from a 1-4. One being completely unfulfilled and four being totally fulfilled. A huge majority of the married-students rated their marriage at a one. A ONE. I don't remember what percentage. I want to say it was like 80%. That's what I am remembering. I am not kidding. But for sure it was over 75. 

2. We are taught to believe that "love" is a state at which we arrive. When actually, it is developmental. It grows, it builds, etc. etc. etc. 

3. Marriage takes lots of work. It's the hardest and most fulfilling thing. (Which to me, back then, was like duh. But now I understand. I mean, it does take work.

4. My teacher told us a personal story. She was young, met a great guy at school, got engaged and got married. For some reason, when all the excitement and "drugs" (hormones) wore off, she just felt completely stuck in her marriage. I really think "stuck" or "trapped" was a word that she used. She said she used to lay in bed thinking of a way to escape and that it was an extremely difficult time in her life. And it lasted a while. But then they got through it. She worked on it, he worked on it. They grew. They developed. And during that semester when I was in her class, her husband actually walked into the room while she was teaching (because he was leaving for a trip) and he kissed her goodbye and she blushed and she was completely glowing. And she told us that she felt completely fulfilled in her marriage. It had just taken developing. It was the best.

...

I came into my marriage with lots of expectations. Not like McKay, I expect you to pick up your dirty underwear every morning. But more like Gosh, I really hope he dances with me in the kitchen and wakes me up just to tell me how beautiful I am. But then I found out that I married a guy who feels kind of awkward dancing to country in the kitchen. And I married someone who thought the song "Austin" by Blake Shelton was about a gay guy. And I married a person who always falls asleep before me.
But, in my two and a half years of marriage I have never been so happy. I have never been so challenged. Or humbled. Or self-addmitedly wrong. Or stable. Or I think, loved. Because McKay really loves me a lot and this is how I know:

The other night, we had one of those talks again. It might be just us, but they always start with me being whiny for two days and McKay being annoyed with me for two days. And then finally, we sit in our room or on our couch and we have the talk. We "don't feel close." We "don't feel like a team." We "don't have that 'feeling." So we have to talk. Probably for three to four hours. It's very horrible at first. And McKay stays up really late even though he has work in the morning. (clue #1 he loves me)
This time, we sat on our bedroom floor. I sat by our bathroom door, and he sat by the window. We started the talk. And we threw everything out there
Me: I don't feel like you have a crush on me anymore. You need to be more romantic. You seem like you are always tired. I am sick of your iPhone. We need to go on dates. I get clingy when I miss you. I know you love me, but are you still "in love?" Do you know what I mean?
McKay: I am exhausted. I am doing too much. I just tune out when I get home. We do need to go on dates. I told you looked pretty before church, don't you remember? I know what you mean.
So then we talked, and thought, and talked, and thought. For a long, long time.
And then McKay said, I know this might be awkward, but I have an idea. We should hug. (clue #2)
And then I said no
But then we did it anyways, and it was kind of awkward.
But then we laughed, and we got to the okay, I will work on... stuff. And then McKay said some jokes. And we laughd and got  in bed and cuddled and fell asleep. 
The next day we were really tired, but really happy. And now I am working on being less of a nag, and more attentive. McKay is working on being less blunt.

And today when he got home from work, 
he danced with me in the kitchen. (clue #3)

I'm 23. He's 25. We've been married for 2.5 years. I think he's too honest sometimes. He thinks I can be   a huge brat. But he lets me put my cold feet on him every night. He is the best dad I could have ever wished for for Jax. He does the dishes sometimes on his lunchbreak. He folds piles of laundry because I hate it. He is forcing himself to like Country. He rubs my feet when we're on the couch. He watches chick flicks with me. He makes me laugh when I am sad. He checks the house when I hear a noise. He paints my toes when I am pregnant. He lets me buy clothes I don't need. He supports me in everything I do. He doesn't get mad when I make a mistake. He kisses me before work. He takes all my pointless fashion blog pictures. He knows the details of my life. He writes me little notes. He lets me sleep in on weekends. And he falls asleep every night on our couch, trying to stay up with me. Which he never does.

And to me, all of that is a real marriage. A marriage not on drugs.

40 comments:

  1. I love the pictures and this post. Happy Thursday friend! :)

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  2. Awww this is a beautiful post :)

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  3. trying to like country for you = true forever love. ;) seriously though, you've got a wonderful husband, and I can tell that without even meeting you guys.
    floralandfudge

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  4. I love this! (I also LOVE that bottom right photo...seriously dying, adorbs). I love your teacher's example of working through it. I love your honesty!

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  5. I seriously think you guys are amazing and I've never even met you, but I feel like you 2 are perfect for each other:) and trying to like country for you is true love, my hubby hates country he needs to learn something from McKay!

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  6. Such a beautiful post. With all the Valentines Day hype it is so easy to forget the down and dirty truth about marriage. It is about compromise, it is about accepting each others quirks, it is about disagreeing/making up and it is about appreciating the other person for even the littlest things they do. No marriage is perfect, but like you said... we make it work, and in the end it is the most rewarding thing of all, because when you find someone who will love you through the thick and thin like that, they're a keeper for sure.

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  7. haha like i've said before I can TOTALLY relate. Marriage is no fairytale perfection. It's just two people who are in love who have no clue what they're doing but are happy together trying to figure it out. haha. I feel like you're in a good place if your love is stronger than any fight could ever be. cute cute cute ali!

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  8. GAH....every time i read your posts i feel like i'm getting sucked up into a book...and i LOVE it.
    Your honesty (as i think i've said a 1,000 times before) is so incredibly refreshing.
    Y'all definitely have a real marriage, one that is being built and flourishing, and takes time and a lot of effort; but i know y'all will stand the test of time because you are so open with each other. Communication is key, and y'all have it! <3

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  9. What a beautiful post! Maybe when I read your you and mcaky posts I tell my boyfriend I want a marriage like yours... I just recently wrote my first "relationship" post on my blog, which I reluctantly posted... because my relationship seemed so off the wall, but your posts always remind me that a relationship takes work, it grows and develops. It's not always perfect, and it's not always pretty, but it's love.

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  10. I love this! So honest & true. My boyfriend and I are taking a marriage prep class together right now and it's really good to hear the hard stuff that no one tells you about marriage.

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  11. Ali, I think this is my all time favorite post of yours. You are such an amazing writer. I've thought a lot the last few months how I would write a post similar to this one (I don't like to blog anymore) but now I don't need to because you are sending such good messages out to all of us pinterest-envying-women (including myself) that life is beautiful just the way it is. We miss you guys!

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  12. Awe, I love your blog and this was such a great post! I actually shed tears reading this!

    xo
    Rachel

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  13. this is beautiful! I can relate on so many levels, thanks for making me notice and appreciate my husband....guess we both are lucky girls ;)...that is all I'm going to say

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  14. this made me get all weepy and choked up because marriage really is the best thing ever and sometimes i feel so conflicted about it. like i want to throttle my husband but also i feel so lucky at the same time. sometimes i really, truly act like a crazy person and i can see this look in david's eyes like, "whoaaaa. who is she?" but at the same time he is so earnestly trying to understand why i'm upset. i feel like it's a cliche when people say, "you have to work on your marriage every day!" but it's so true! the days we aren't actively working on loving each other (not like, baby let me love you down, but being a best friend loving) are the days i feel that rut coming on. anyways, the majority of days when it's working, it's the BEST and makes the days you want to stab each other worth sorting through. (sorry, novel-length comment, i just really love your blog posts)

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  15. I love this! I get so tired of people talking (on blogs or otherwise) like marriage is a fairytale and the honeymoon just never goes away and life is just perfect and they never fight...because they're either perfect individuals (which nobody actually is) or they're lying. Marriage is work. HARD work. WORTH it work. But work all the same. And I love your honesty about it. It's inspiring. I think too many people really do think marriage is a total fairytale and that's when divorce happens - they don't realize there's going to be work involved, and they don't want to DO the work. (Obviously not ALL divorce, but a lot of it.)

    Happy Valentine's Day to you both! :)

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  16. Awe I love this. So freakin sweet!!

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  17. you two are freaking adorable!!!
    i wish i took a marriage prep class. only at byu i tell ya..

    me & jerry have those talks too! and it starts the exact same way. i'm grumpy/whiny and then i realize im being grumpy/whiny so i feel bad and i ask him "am i annoying?" or "are you mad?" because im scared he won't love me anymore hahaha im proud of you for having those talks though. because they're soooo important! i used to hate those talks because i felt like if i said something it would either hurt his feelings or i would say bad things lol
    we havent had any 4-5 hour long talks yet but it's probably because we're still early in our marriage. and i hate keeping him up late to "talk" when i know he's tired too. your man definitely loves you :) and thinks you're very pretty. just like the rest of us :)

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  18. I firmly believe that people stay together and stay in love because they work on it. Communication, those small fights where you sit down on the floor and talk about how you're feeling, that's what keeps you together. Being honest about your needs and working to be what your partner needs you to be - that's how you stay in love and happy.

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  19. LOVE all of this. YES, all of that is most definitely a real marriage, not on drugs one bit. :)

    xo

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  20. Here's why I love your blog: y'all are adorable. Plus your writing is not annoying to read because it's well thought-out and honest! Its so refreshing to get real, live marriage advice from a young couple that is clearly in love with each other. I see similarities in my own relationship (not married yet :p) so it's SO COOL to read about yours and take advice. I can also stand to be a lot less whiny and Hunter is waay too sweet doing stuff for me (hasn't painted my toes yet, this is the true test of love!) thanks for sharing Ali.

    perfectly priya

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  21. This is a beautiful post. My husband and I have been married for 2.5 years, too, and I do feel like we're in a rut sometimes. But when I am actively working on my marriage and not finding things to criticize my husband about, it's a wonderful thing. I don't know what I'd do without him.

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  22. Wow that wаs unusual. I juѕt wrote an extгеmely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment
    didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm nοt wгiting all that oνer
    again. Regardlеss, juѕt wanted to say fantastiс blоg!


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  23. Ali, you inspire me so much! I love how all of your love posts make me feel like when I get married, I'll somewhat have an idea of what I'm getting myself into. I've been thinking a lot about exactly what qualities a guy needs before he becomes a husband, but what calms me down is knowing that no matter who I marry, it's gonna be tough! Just gotta find someone worth it all. :)

    SaraM
    http://clochedeletoile.blogspot.com

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  24. Oh you look so happy together! Great cute post!!

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  25. Ali, thanks for stopping by my blog! I love yours! And now I'm excited to follow along :)

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  26. Thank you for sharing and reminding us what love is:)

    Larissa
    http://jlcarrick.blogspot.com/

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  27. I am so glad you stumbled on my blog! Your blog is so adorable. And this post made me smile! I can't wait to follow you. Also, I am so glad that we share a love for cafe rio and pitch perfect! :)

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  28. Aww. This is SO true... I'm not married, but can definitely relate... =) Any and all relationships takes two to work at... It is hard work but all worth it. <3

    Thanks for stopping and hope you find a cute teapot! :)

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  29. I love your description of "the talk"! I'm not married, but Forrest and I have had plenty of these "talks"...usually it's me overly-emotional and crying, him trying to laugh but realizing my pain, and always ending in the most awkward yet comforting hug!

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  30. This is the cutest! I don't think the hug thing is stupid at all. I actually read that you need AT LEAST a 6-second hug to release the affection feelings you get when you hug someone. So sometimes, when Jordan and I are mad, I say, "we need to hug." and we count for 6 seconds just to make sure. and i don't know whether it's the 6-second thing or the fact that it's so ridiculous to count that we both end up laughing.

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  31. You inspire me <3
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/

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  32. I. Love. This. Post. I've been formulating a similar one in my head. Glad to know we're not the only ones who have to sit down and have just the same talk. But I guess that's what shows our marriage is working, that we're talking and willing to work and try to be better.

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  33. Gahh love this so much! So raw real and perfect.

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  34. i love this post so much for its realness (pretty sure that's not a real word hehe)... I laughed because Sean also though "Austin" is about a gay guy and because i know he'll never love country as much as i do (or at all) but it's funny how little that matters :)

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  35. Ali I soo love your blog! You are truly inspiring :) I wish I was as brave as you to put it all out there. I have a really honest side to me but I never feel as though I can express it in my blog. Every couple fights and I've had moments like this, but you are so down to earth to open up about it. Love you for this. Awesome post!!

    Xo Jenna
    Demureindiamonds.com

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  36. Ha! I really appreciate this! My hubby and I were just talking the other day how we enjoy being married so much more now than when we were first married. We have things more figured out like what makes each other tick (or ticked!) ha ha and we just had that "talk" right before I read this! You pretty much nailed it;)

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