Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage is always Sunshine and Rainbows. Duh.

One of my Weddingbee friends wrote yesterday about realizing how damn hard marriage is, and that post went up around the same time other people were discussing how marriage changes your relationship.  Turtle and I were sitting on the couch together, my eyes glued to the screen, my mind deep in thought, so I turned to her and said, “What do you think has changed the most since we got married?”

Trust her to be in the same mental place I am, right?  Um, no, wrong.  She looked at the dog at our feet and the cats, one on either end of the couch, and then at me: “Uh, our animals started getting along better?”

true love/mild tolerance

For us, so far, marriage hasn’t been Super Especially Hard, or at least not harder than we expected.  But I wonder how much of this is because we sort of expected marriage to be really hard.  Several months before we got married, someone on APW (I can’t find the exact post) mentioned that she’s been told marriage isn’t about getting through hard days or hard weeks – marriage can be about getting through hard years.  And at our premarital counseling stuff, our minister sat across from us and laughed and said, “Sometimes you really just don’t even like each other.” She laughed like, you know, she knew what she was talking about, like she’d been there.  “Sometimes,” she said, “You just want your mom.”

moms will help you fight the world, if you need them to.

And then the other part of it is that so much of what sealed our decision to get married was the Hard Stuff.  It was that Turtle could handle my sitting in the kitchen, just sobbing and not being able to stop; it was that I could handle her losing her job and subsequent depression.  It was that we figured out how to talk about the really big stuff or how to say “we need to talk about the really big stuff.”

The third part of it that I’m toying with is that there has also been so much other life stuff happening; if we needed something to be angry or anxious or stressed out about, let’s try job stuff or family stuff or sick and/or neurotic animal stuff.  I think that maybe all of this circumstantial difficulty has given us the option of falling apart or deciding How Our Marriage Is Going To Work.

The answer, again, is goats. Goats help our marriage work. (honey, can I get a goat?)

Guys, I am super duper for sure NOT saying we have it all worked out.  I am not saying we have answers or that our marriage is winning (though, ahem, it is winning for us!).  I am just thinking about why it hasn’t been as hard for us as other people (or as easy for us as some other people).  It sure hasn’t been sunshine and roses… but instead of waking up and being (as we saw on Mad Men yesterday) all, “WOW, someone is making me dinner and it will be waiting for me when I get home! Marriage is awesome!” we’re all, “Wow, this hard thing is happening but there are arms to hold me and ears to listen when I get home because that’s what it means for us that we are married.”  That, and also we are silly a lot.  There is a lot of giggling.

Has marriage been harder than you expected? Easier?  Are you expecting sunshine and roses or big changes or no changes at all? Who had a honeymoon period beyond their honeymoon? ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS.  Just kidding, you can answer just four of them.

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Bookstore Experience: The Wedding Sanity Edition

As it turns out, Barnes & Noble is a pretty hopping place on a Saturday night. According to a friend who works at the cafe there, B&N is really The Place To Be – which makes me feel a pretty good about admitting that our Saturday night date was at a bookstore. Not only are we true to ourselves and owning our nerdiness (yay bookstores!), we’re also the cool kids (I think this is a yay… hm.).

Anyway, I’m not writing to tell you about how awesome we are (pretty awesome). I’m writing to tell you what was supposed to be a story about how I got enraged at the bookstore, but I think that’ll be a post for tomorrow.  Today? Good wedding deeds:

We had our cocoa at the tables in the cafe, read through some magazines. Had to get through some trashy ones to learn about Katie’s Holmes’ apparent drug problem and bratty daughter (but Suri is oh so cute) and then continue on my quest to find a magazine that 1. doesn’t make my brain rot (Katie Holmes already did that; thanks, Katie); 2. Is interesting (sorry Runner magazine, you’ll just never be mine); 3. and doesn’t make me hate everyone (hello, every women’s fitness magazine ever). The quest was largely unsuccessful.

As we got up to leave, we noticed that the girl at the table behind us had a wedding magazine on her table. And next to that, a stack of about 15 wedding magazines. And, you guys, she looked a little stressed out. “Turtle,” I hissed, “should I tell her it’s going to be okay?”

approximate size of *one* of her stacks of magazines. poor girl.

Turtle gave me a look that said, I married you and I bring you out in public and yet I’m still surprised when you ask me these things – why? I should know better by now. You can tell we’re married because I can get all of that from just one look. But she answered, “See if she has a ring – you can only say something if she’s actually engaged.”

So I leaned over to pick up something that I, ahem, dropped (um, a piece of trash on the floor? A cup from someone who’d been sitting there before? You know, something I would have otherwise ignored), and confirmed: a ring! So what did I have to lose? I took a deep breath, leaned over, and said, “Excuse me, I just noticed all of your wedding magazines. If you’re looking for some sanity, you should check out A Practical Wedding. It really is wedding sanity.”

And she looked at me with sort of crazed eyes (I mean, I think? I don’t really know her, so maybe her eyes are always like that. But she did look a little panicked.) and said, “Oh my goodness, thank you so much. I definitely could use some sanity.”

I feel like I’m a happy little wedding fairy.  Why aren’t more people telling people it’s going to be okay?  Instead it’s “YOU NEED THINGS.  YOU NEED MORE THINGS! THEY. MUST. MATCH.”

If I weren’t as shy as I feel and I knew her a little better, or if she’d said, “tell me more!” I then would have listed off every website ever that has the sanity (hi all you readers who also write!).  But I am kind of shy and I didn’t know her and mostly I felt awkward.

What would you do?

Coming soon, the story of my bookstore experience: The Enraged Version.

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Coming out of the fog

Since finally being unemployed, a few things have cropped up, and mostly they are things in my head. I have referenced a couple of times that I’ve been dealing with major anxiety, which sort of snuck up on me and took over for no reason that made sense to my logical brain. The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle; it’s been hard when it gets dark out, it’s been hard when the TV is on and when it’s off, it’s been hard when my wife kisses me or if she doesn’t kiss me.

Luckily, I have a kick-ass relationship with my awesome therapist, and she knows me well; she hooked me up with a doctor who could prescribe things that might make me feel better, and after exactly 18 days of nearly paralyzing anxiety, I am finally starting to feel clear-headed.

looking towards clearer, happier days

This is something that’s sort of tough to write about, but also really, really important to read about. I find strength every single day from reading Karen’s blog, Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable: she is such a cool person and if she lived closer I would want to be friends with her, but also she deals with all this crap stuff all the time and talks about it in such a normal way.  Plus!  Heather Armstrong of Dooce routinely references the tough mental stuff she’s gone through – and all of this, I think reaches people who realize that it’s really okay to ask for help.

Again: It’s okay to ask for help.

So if posting has been a bit less entertaining than usual, it’s because real life has been a bit more challenging than usual.  But it really is getting better.  And along those lines, I want to thank Karen, for helping me realize that there is hope and that I am not the only person in the world who is dealing with this; I want to thank Ellen for sharing her experiences with anxiety, and how they’re over (i.e. There’s hope! There is an Other Side!); and I want to thank my wonderful wife.

Turtle and I have been married for four months today, and the last four months have been wonderful and challenging.  For the last 18 days, I have been needing her support more than maybe I ever have before, and you know what?  She’s there.  She’s checking in with me, checking on my meds, making sure I don’t get into bed with all my clothes still on.  She’s stretching her own limits and she is doing a damn good job.

best wife, on a better day

When we say “in sickness and in health” (which, actually, I am not sure we did say), I picture someone in a hospital bed, or vomiting over the toilet, or needing a ride to a doctor’s appointment.  I don’t picture the mental health aspect of it, but that’s it, too, you guys.  In sickness and in health is checking in, saying, “How are you feeling today?” and just asking about moods and emotions.  Funny, the things that we promise that we only learn the meaning of later.

And this, four months in.

So, to my readers: thanks for sticking it out, despite the foggy posts.  Knowing you’re out there makes it worth all the trying.

And to my wife, as I said yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that: Thank you, in all the ways.

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Snow day!

Snow Day at the Turtle-Bird Homestead

I have few sassy things to say today, but here’s what I do have:

  • My wife is really pretty and has been the most supportive partner I could ask for over the last couple of weeks/months/years.  I’ve been dealing with some weird anxiety stuff, and she’s 100% here, making sure all is being taken care of.
  • My dog is very entertaining and gives me a reason to get my unemployed ass out of the house every single day.  Thanks, Daphne. (Also, daily posts about her at Flying Dingo. Have I said that already? I’ll stop soon.)
  • We have big plans for today: there’s already 15 inches of snow on the ground here, but we did our Ikea shopping trip last night so we have lots of projects to tackle. Fun!
  • Oh and I’m on APW today!  And I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on boyfriend/girlfriend vs. partner vs. spouse vs. husband/wife.  Comment there or come back here and tell me what you think!

Hope some of you are having a wonderful snow day and others of you are warm wherever you are.  Nothing like 1 foot + of snow to remind me how grateful I am to have a home.

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Reflections on a year I was grateful to see go

Well, hello, there!  I said I’d be back in the new year, and here I am.  I missed you!  But I also spent the last couple of weeks masquerading as a slightly insane petsitter.  Slightly insane only because I think sane petsitters occasionally say no to jobs so that they can occasionally care for their own pets; I, on the other hand, had up to 13 jobs in one day.  Thank you a billion times over to my beautiful wife for taking care of our own beasts!

I both love and hate year-in-reviews; sometimes I find it really boring to read about other people’s years, but really, if you find this boring? Skip it.  Because when it’s not boring it’s really interesting, so I’m banking on everyone loving my version of a year in review.  It’s a bit more of a reflection than review, but that’s what you get. Ready? Let’s go.

Our 2010 year started off with us screwing up a dinner party.  Seriously.  We thought we were being invited to just a “let’s all hang out, it’ll be fun!” party and we showed up 2 hours after it started.  Um, fashionably late for a regular old party, right? Yeah, well, as I mentioned – it was a dinner party.  Being 2 hours late is very, very bad.

I tell you this because, in retrospect, it seems like an appropriate beginning to the year that 2010 was.

In 2010, we had in our lives or in the lives of people we’re very close to a birth, a death, jobs lost, new jobs started, a separation, a wedding, we moved, we got a kitten, we lost our kitten, and we each turned another year older.  That last part is just how things work.  Other notable things: I started blogging, I started classes, I dropped classes, I got rejected by roller derby (twice!), our dog bit someone, I changed my life plan, we changed our last name, we merged our finances, and – yes, I already mentioned the wedding, but it feels worth mentioning again – we’re married now.

yes, I know you've seen this picture before... but it is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. So here it is again. Enjoy, because it's beautiful.

What I mean to say is that 2010 was a really big year, and I am really grateful that it’s over.  When the clock struck midnight and our little group of friends yelled “Happy New Year!” I felt this sudden and huge wave of relief.  Really, that’s sort of silly: who knows what 2011 brings?  Maybe more stressors, different stressors.  But I find a lot of hope in this: we made it through this last year, and we did a really good job.  The chances of all of these things happening in the same year again are probably not very high, but, regardless, I know we can handle it.

Being engaged and then married has been an enormous blessing throughout all of this.  When things get hard, I know that there’s someone by my side, someone on my team; even when we’re having a rough time in our relationship, we’re in it for the long haul.

So here’s to 2011, with hope that it is full of love and new beginnings and is only somewhat eventful.  Happy New Year, you guys.

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Across the Shoreline: What This Would Mean

Our vows were something of a production in the making.  We originally thought we would write them together, but that ended in both of us snapping at each other and one of us walking away (um, that one might have been me. Might have been.).  We eventually decided that we would write them on our own and then compare… and that evolved into “Our vows are a secret to be revealed on our wedding day! And also it’s a contest – most tears elicited wins!”

The contest part was mostly a joke.

We both spent a lot of time scouring the internet for inspiration, and sharing a lot of the inspiration we found.  While we did look at a lot of people’s vows to each other, the ones we came up with were ours, and because of the sacredness of them, I am not going to share them all here.  But! I will share some of them.

“Turtle, 11 months ago, after you finally agreed to marry me, I sat down outside and thought about what this would mean, and here is some of what I wrote:

I know it won’t always be like THIS, it won’t always be the way it is right now, and things change over years and decades.  But I think we could always have this important place for each other, and we could always value each other this way, and have whatever adventures we are having together – in Massachusetts or Oregon or New Hampshire or New York.  With one dog or five… or, fine, just two.  It’s amazing and wonderful and lucky that we can both live the lives that we have individually dreamed about and they can fit together so perfectly, almost make the other’s POSSIBLE, almost fill in the spots we maybe didn’t realize were empty to start with.  I feel blessed to have you.

“Today, I, Bird, take you, Turtle, to be my wife, and, in doing so, I take you to be my partner, friend, and closest family…

“I promise to rejoice with you in the good times and to struggle with you in the bad… I promise to support you and to have faith in you… and to give thanks for you always.

“I realize that we will grow and change in our life together… I promise that I will return to the words we are saying to each other here today and to try always to live by them.  I will be my best self for you, for me, and for us… I am proud from this day forward to be called your wife.”

Then it was Turtle’s turn.

“Bird, you are the sweetest part of my day… Today, I ask you to be my truest companion, my cherished partner, and my wife.

“I promise to love you when love is simple and when love is complex.  I promise to create with you a home filled with joy, kindness, respect, and comfort.  Our home will be abundant with experiences that have shaped – and will always shape – our shared life:  more tea than we could ever hope to drink, a porch filled with plants in various states of aliveness, falling asleep on the couch, figuring out who takes out the dog and who feeds the cats, stopping whatever separate tasks we are engrossed in to dance around the kitchen, and all the other adventures that make up this blessing that is our life.”

AND THEN. I debated not stopping her, my beautiful about-to-be wife, in the middle of her vows.  But then I realized that I couldn’t not stop her: I don’t remember what I said, because I felt bad about interrupting, but I said something and I grabbed her arms as a beautiful hawk flew right over our heads.

I can’t express how powerful this moment was.  The hawk was much closer than you see it in this picture; it was right there.  It felt like a wonderful, beautiful blessing from the world.

After a few minutes, we all recollected ourselves and continued:

“I am unspeakably blessed that I have found my home in you and that one part of our journey has ended and another one begun.”

Turtle’s vows were, I think, the part of the ceremony for which I was most present.  I did not want to miss a word, an ounce of meaning, a look in her eye.  I soaked up those vows.  Funny, though, I also kept thinking, “Ooh, that is GOOD! I should have said that!”

I was going to tell you what my favorite line of her vows were… but I went back and read them again and realized I would have to post all of it, every word.  Each line is full of meaning, intention, and *us*.  I am so lucky, you guys.

How did your vow-writing go, or how do you see it going?  Did you/will you share beforehand, or surprise each other on your wedding day?

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“One of the biggest blessings of my life…”

So you probably heard how I’m about to be unemployed, which means that I am taking on a whole lot more extra work than I can handle in a sane sort of way.  Luckily, my amazing wife is supportive times a million and is taking care of things like the beasts and reminding me that it will get better.

Point being, posting might be a little light on substance, so I’m sorry about that.  Hopefully low substance can still equal medium to high entertainment.

Speaking of It Gets Better, here’s my favorite video of the series so far.  Have your tissues ready.

The part that gets me is at 5:18.  Seriously, have those tissues ready.

 

(While I never considered suicide because of my sexual identity, I do think that seeing a video like this would have helped me a lot while I was coming out.  To see people who are comfortable, who are grateful, who can talk of the hard times and also not talk about the hard times inspires such confidence in me.  I love 5:45: “It’s been one of the biggest blessings of my life… it’s made me such a stronger person to be gay. There’s nothing I would do to change that now.”)

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