It Takes Two

Dear Ladies,

So often I am asked for advice about love and marriage. I think that people are amazed that I have managed to stay together with Brian for sixteen years. We are about to hit our eight year wedding anniversary but we have so much history that begins far before eight years ago. I look at my relationship with Brian and I see it as always evolving. I don’t think that I’d ever say that it is perfect, because we both know that we are imperfect partners that make a perfect match.

We struggle all the time with all of the same things that everyone in this world faces. We fight over money, politics, love, tv shows, food, sports…. the list is endless. As much as we disagree though, we always agree on at least one thing. We are each other’s perfect match.

I guess the question that I am asked the most is, How did I know it was Brian, that I was meant to be with? Well ladies, I have bad news. There isn’t a letter that comes in the mail or a opening in the clouds with messages from above that will guarantee that you are in the perfect relationship. In fact, there will be many signs that will make you want to run the other way. Love is tough, so even when you think you got it right, sometimes you don’t.

For me, looking back, I do feel like I “just knew” that Brian was the one. I feel like I wouldn’t remember what he was wearing the day that I met him otherwise. I feel like I wouldn’t be with him today if he wasn’t. I just knew in my heart that he was worth the work to find out.

That’s right, love is work. It is hard work and it makes you want to give up sometimes. If it is worth it, there is no giving up and there is no turning back.

I listened to three women at the bar a few weeks ago. They complained about the men that were available. They went on and on about the men that just couldn’t be the right one for them. The vowed that they couldn’t give another man the time of day unless he could prove his undying love right off the bat. They wanted to be treated like the queens that they were and they demanded someone prince worthy.

Newsflash! We live in the year 2013 and we live in the United States, not in Cinderella’s castle. Every woman would like to be a queen. I would like to be a queen, but I’m not. Let’s leave that to Kate Middleton someday.

Here’s the thing that I think a lot of new couples miss. They all want to go through this honeymoon faze forever. Sadly, that is not how it works. As you get to know each other more, you are no longer feeling like the most important person on the planet. The reason for that is, that you are not the most important person on the planet. It is all a lure. It is a good lure too.

Brian and I made each other feel like we were the most special person in the world at first. And then we got real. We had to actually learn about each other instead of living in a fairy tale. Brian doesn’t open car doors for me every time anymore, but he still holds my hand in public. He doesn’t always remember to introduce me to people that I’ve never met, but when he does he always says “This is my lovely wife” or something sweet like that. Brian doesn’t always come home with flowers for me, but every so often he has a bottle of wine.

We have long since moved beyond our honeymoon faze but I promise you this. We are more in love today than we were when we first met.

Another thing that made me sad as I listened to these women gripe, was that they felt like he should serve them. Don’t take this wrong because I want to be served and catered to as well…. but, so does my husband. Honestly, who doesn’t?

Who wouldn’t want someone to bow down to their every needs? Everyone wants to be placed on a pedestal and worshiped, men and women. Trust me, it has taken me a long time to figure this out, but it is not all about what I want in a relationship. I could easily make a list of things that I demand out of love, but so could Brian. The really great relationships are the ones that can take those demands and compromise on as many as possible.

I know the little things that make Brian happy. It makes me feel amazing to do something for Brian because it makes him happy. I don’t expect something in return and neither does he. We do things for each other because we love each other. It sounds so simple but it is so foreign to young people today. It seems like it is the “what’s in it for me” generation of daters that just can’t find a match. Maybe that is why.

I don’t go through the day thinking about how Brian can make me happy. I go through the day thinking about how I can make him happy. The magic happens when both of you are thinking the same. When you are so selfless that you can give everything to your partner, you will really get something in return.

My best advice is that love doesn’t happen overnight and if it seems like a fairy tale, it is not. There just isn’t anything out there that is worth anything, that you don’t have to work for. Love is just like anything else. You have to put in time and a whole lot of effort if you want to see any kind of a return.

It is easy to try and rush through a relationship. Meet,  get married, have kids and live happily ever after. It just doesn’t work like that. It took me sixteen years to figure most of this out. It has taken us sixteen years to become as happy as we are. I am proud of our life together because I know that we have both worked hard to make it what it is today. It isn’t one sided and it never will be. It take two!

Love, Cherise

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