At every point of my life I’ve shouted from the rooftops that I will never stand in front of people and guide them in dating, marriage, friendship, or any other type of relationship. I don’t consider relationships a strength or proficiency and I laugh as i say that (so do the people who know me well and have walked close to me over the last ten years). It’s who I am, how I am innately wired and I’ve made peace with that.
When Brooks and I announced our engagement after five months of dating, then decided in the spur of the moment the week after Christmas to just get married a month later, my mom commented that she wasn’t surprised. She had always known someone would have to sweep me off my feet quickly and seal the deal before I could change my mind. And that’s how it went down.
No relationship goals are easy, but marriage affords you the opportunity to grow in every area of your relationship with yourself and your partner. As you each grow (and nothing says both of you will), your relationship will shift. Shifting isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different.
Where did we ever get the idea that happily ever after was the ultimate goal?
Although Disney and the Hallmark Channel have capitalized on this fairy tale, there is exactly zero percent of these stories that are grounded in reality. I won’t deny that a brand new relationship carries an exhilaration unmatched by anything else in life, we all know the shininess wears off sooner or later.
I frequently have conversations with women around imposter syndrome, only comparing ourselves to yesterday’s version of ourselves, and being appreciative of our uniqueness instead of wishing we were more like the women/mothers/entrepreneurs we see on social media. Winning in life is one hundred percent about becoming the best version on you. You can’t become anyone else and no one can become you.
I spend so much time encouraging women to find their own identity and lean into that, so it’s a natural progression that this would lead to relationships. If I coach you for six months to embrace your unique identity, how could I then look at your marriage and tell you that there is some traditional (aka archaic) stereotype to which you and your spouse must conform?
Why do we compare our relationships to those around us? Whether it was our parents’ relationship, a fictional tv couple, a celebrity, or anyone else we idolize, how can I ever compare myself and my partner to two other humans?
Both you and your spouse are unique humans, so it should go without saying that your marriage will be just as unique. Communication, physical intimacy, personal boundaries, parenting, and many more areas have space for complete autonomy.
There are many books on marriage and relationships, so I will never attempt to give you suggestions other than to challenge you to broaden your paradigm of what the perfect marriage is supposed to be. Social standards are poor measurements for healthy marriages or relationship goals. What’s healthy is when open communication exists and each of you allow the other person to be who they are, then determine your commonalities and how you want to define your life together.
Brooks snores and prior to buying the Smart Nora system, there were many nights I would sleep in our guest room because I couldn’t fall back asleep. I have suffered from IBS symptoms in seasons of my life (TMI?) and yeah, I slept in the guest room to spare Brooks.
I like getting up early in the morning because I need HOURS of quiet before I’m ready to start my day. This means that Brooks and I have very different sleep schedules and we have never, not once, gone to bed at the same time. Waking up early and being on different schedules builds in time for my devotionals, prayer, and preparing myself to be nice and wifely each day, whatever that means.
Many evenings I am ready to eat long before he is, so I make dinner when I’m ready, then he eats when he gets hungry. We don’t have kids, so I know it’s easier for us to have slightly different schedules. We have gone through seasons where we cooked and ate together the majority of the time and other seasons when we just listen to our bodies and each eat when we feel like it.
I go to church. Brooks doesn’t. We both believe in God, but our faith journeys look very different. And why wouldn’t they? We are different ages, have different life experiences that filter our perception of God, and have different styles of processing the world. How on earth could my pursuit of Jesus look the same?
We barely remembered our anniversary this year. Sure, it’s still COVID here in San Diego, but that’s a challenge we face every year. I can’t remember the last time we went out for a fancy dinner date and that’s fine because we are weekend brunch people. Mimosas and chilaquiles could sustain me for the rest of my life!
Disappointment occurs when reality does not match our expectations. Wherever you find yourself this week - a great day in your marriage, maybe you’re fighting, maybe one of you is sleeping on the couch or you both can’t work through a particular challenge - think about your expectation of yourself and your partner. Where did that expectation come from and why is that the standard you’ve chosen?
If you are expecting yourself or your spouse to behave a certain way, maybe that is your problem and not theirs. Back up for a hot second, take a look at the whole situation, and decide if you are boxing your relationship into a space it was never designed for.
Relationship Goals by Mike Todd
Relationship Goals Challenge by Mike Todd