Friday, July 10, 2015

Marriage...The Ultimate W.I.P.

By Nikki Wilson

This is a writing blog, so why would I post about marriage? Mostly because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. My husband and I recently celebrated our 20 year anniversary and I would love to say it’s been a perfect 20 years but that would be like saying the first draft of my books are perfect. Anyone who’s ever seen even a glimpse of one of my first draft knows that is far from the truth. 

Often times movies and books portray marriage as the ultimate happy ending. Especially romance books where the whole plot is to get two people together despite all the obstacles in their way and hopefully lead them to the alter where their happiness is now assured because they have found their soul mate. But marriage is more than that. Yes, you can find some of your greatest joy in a marriage, but you can also find some of your greatest pain. 

Recently, my husband and I had a disagreement. It was over something stupid like our arguments usually are. But I was suddenly thinking of all the things that had annoyed me about him over the past 20 years and I realized he is never going to change and this is what I will get to deal with forever and suddenly eternity felt like a very long time. I voiced this thought and suddenly all the fight went out of him and he asked very sincerely, “What am I doing wrong?”

This question actually excited me. This was my chance to tell him about all the little annoying things and then maybe he could finally change. After all, he can’t read my mind so if I tell him everything that bothers me and he tells me everything that bothers him, maybe we can make our marriage stronger and it will be better. I opened my mouth to speak when a very strong thought caused me to close it. The thought was this: Stop! He isn’t your critique partner!

I realized I’d been going about this all wrong. I thought back to all the times that we have nit picked at each other and realized that it had never made our marriage stronger. This wasn’t a book I was writing where I need to see all the flaws so I can fix them. I wasn’t dealing with letters on a page that can be rearranged and changed by the touch of a key.

I opened my mouth to speak again but these words came out, “We have done enough of telling each other what we’ve done wrong. We need to tell each other what we are doing right.” I think he was surprised by that but he didn’t even hesitate before he began listing my positive attributes. As I began to do the same I wondered why I found it harder to speak about the positive than the negatives. Not that there wasn’t enough positive things to point out, but talking about them brought out emotions so much stronger than the emotions of anger and frustration brought on when we were focusing on the negative. 

I realized that for the past 20 years I’d been wearing rose colored glasses when it came to my husband but I’d suddenly out grown the prescription and I didn’t like what I saw. I knew as we talked to each other about what we love about the other that I wanted a new pair of rose colored glasses. But this time the prescription would have to be stronger to last the next 20 years. 

I recently watched Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version of course) with my daughters. As we were watching the part where Elizabeth Bennett started to soften towards Darcy, my 15 year old daughter made the observation that he had always been that person that she was falling in love with, she just wouldn’t allow herself to see it at first. 

This struck me very personally. Because I could see that my husband is still the man that I fell in love with all those years ago, but for some reason I wasn’t allowing myself to see it anymore. I had to change what I was focused on. My perspective needed rearranging. 

It would have been easy for me to say that my feelings had changed towards my husband and that we should part our separate ways. After all, the world says you can’t help it if you fall out of love with someone (not that I ever fell out of love by any means). But there’s a voice inside that tells me I can help it. There’s a voice that sounds a lot like Pres. Uchtdorf saying, “Doubt your doubts first.”

I'm happy to report that those feelings of doubt were fleeting and I am able to focus on the positive parts of our marriage again. And because we have been focusing on each other's positive attributes, our marriage continues to grow stronger. But it's something we will continue to work on because it's important to us.

So marriage may be a lot of work, but fortunately there are no deadlines, we actually have eternity to work on it! And as any good writer knows, the joy is in the creating of the story and not the perfecting but both work together to make something to be proud of!


  1. Beautiful! This post inspires me- especially the part about the rose-colored glasses. I love the comparison. :-) Congrats on 20 years!

  2. A bloody great post, have to say marriage takes work, I have been married to Tim the love of my life, my soulmate for coming up to 31 years and it has taken work to make it last we didn't give up when things got touch

  3. Sounds like a beautiful love story still is in the making.

  4. wonderful post, Nikki. So true and genuine. I have felt the same way over the years in my 40 year marriage. Over time, it's so easy to see just the negative. The best news I ever heard on marriage was from a priest who advised some newlyweds, "Commit to the commitment." Marriage is sustained by two people honoring the vow to each other, not always feeling the love for this particular person. Congrats on your 20 year milestone!



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