Friday, August 11, 2017

10 Years and We still Do

Is wedding anniversary overrated? I am thinking out loud. A response is optional.

Anyway, it has been quite awhile since I last wrote anything about "anything" here. Being said, the last thing I want to write about is... relationship (and all the crap that goes with it). But it looks like I'm leaning towards that topic now.
@The State Capital

Anyway, my favorite husband and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary last July 7th. And if I wasn't paying attention quite a bit I could have forgotten all about it. Well, as far as I can recall, we don't really make a big fuss about anniversaries like other couples do. For us, it is just like any other day. It has been like that for the past 10 years with the exception of our first year anniversary and the year after that. But lo and behold, this time we made a big deal about it. Well, I made a big deal about it, that's more like it because I dragged him into it. He had no choice because our anniversary coincided with the dates when my brothers came to the US for a visit and I planned a 5-Day US East Coast Trip for the four of us.
@The State Capital
We celebrated our special day in Pennsylvania, Washington DC and Niagara Falls. Yes, we celebrated our anniversary in all three amazing places in just ONE day. We went on a vacation on our anniversary and it was NOT in Maine! And that is simply - EPIC!
Near Niagara Falls
Here's the thing. We are not a typical couple who celebrates anniversaries with a bang. Nope. No gift-giving [well, we did a couple of times only]. No card-exchange [maybe we did just for a couple of years]. No fancy dinner [fancy dinner for us is KFC dine-in and not drive-thru or Chinese-to-go]. No flowers [well, technically he gives me flowers because I demand it]. No romantic getaways [except on our 1st year anniversary where we went to Nova Scotia which was actually our long-overdue honeymoon].
Near Niagara Fall
Perhaps, we did some traditional stuff during the first couple of years and as time passed we just treated each year as an ordinary day. Yeah, we are romantic that way. We are just like some couple I know who are not into a lot of b*llsh*t with regards to celebrations or we simply are cheap!
Ten. Years. We both can't believe it! It's a milestone for us.

Ten years are long enough to know a lot about each other, right? Well honestly, I really don't know. for the span of 10 years, I learned a lot about our relationship but not necessarily about each other. We may have passed the getting-to-know-you-more stage but I guess we are still in the process of discovering and rediscovering each other's strength and weaknesses every single day. But having come this far is a blessing. It means that we have a lot of understanding about being married and staying alive. The last one is crucial in a relationship to work. LOL
ON hindsight, I was trying to figure out what went wrong. No, I take that. Positive vibes only. So I was thinking, we must have done something good to come this far. Then, I came up with top 10 reasons why we are still married. I don't say that I am an expert on topics like relationship. I just wanted to put it out there to remind me of those things so that in the next 10 years (or so, crossing fingers here) I can use it as my written guidelines in overcoming future obstacles that would be thrown out our way.
Disclaimer: THIS LIST IS SUBJECTIVE. This LIST is only based on my opinion and personal experiences. This is NOT a sponsored blog and I wasn't paid (in cash or sh*t) or compensated for doing this by my husband, in-laws or third-party. This list may not be applicable to everyone but anyone can benefit from it or maybe not. And NO, this is not to give you advice on how to have a perfect marriage for ours is NOT. I am not a marriage expert or a relationship guru. [Scr*w that, those people's marriages aren't perfect either.] And if you are here to seek wisdom bomb or guidance on happy marriage or something to that effect, this isn't it. Go look somewhere else.
@The Smithsonian
10 Reasons Why I Am Still Married

1. We love each other. I think.
Well, it's a given. I don't think anybody wants to stay married to someone he or she is not in love with. If I don't love him, I might be happily married to Gorge Clooney now. Amal should thank me. You're welcome, Amal. But seriously, this guy I am married to is my first (and only) husband. I was in love with him when I married him in 2007 and I am still crazy about him, as of this writing. But I will not lie that there are times that the degree of my affection for him can be varied and changing.  Meaning: There are times that I am very much in love with him and there are moments that I don't love him that much. [Translation: There are times I wanted to kill him for leaving his dirty clothes around the hamper and NOT in it!] Maybe it depends on the time of the day or the "period" of the month. You know what I mean. But whatever my issues are, I think I do love him because I still look forward to seeing him at the end of day regardless of my mood and to cuddle each other to sleep.
@The Breakers in Rhode Island
2. We hate each other, sometimes.
I know. Hate is a big word. My man hates it when I say "I hate you". I'm from another continent. I have different values and culture. What is good to him may not be so to me or vice versa. Saying "I hate you" for me (especially when I am very very mad) is not that horrible in my world. It's not what it is. And it's not what he thinks I mean. For me, I just say it out of frustrations and without meaning it. I can be his "incredible hulk" when I'm angry. I may not turn into a "green monster" but I can be as horrible. It's just being me. My Sweetest, on the other hand, is not a saint either. He is as horrible as I am. Maybe that's the only thing that we are compatible. And yes, we can be angry at the same time. Think of flying plates and broken furniture. We tried that once and it wasn't good. So we didn't do it again. We learned quickly that we're no Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And we learned that it's OK to be mad or angry or worse hate each other as long as at the end of the fight, we have resolved to do something to change the situation. In most cases, either of us just walk away to save us from losing our sanity (or broken plates and furniture) and to give each other space. Then, we kiss and make up.
Another at the State Capital
3. We listen but not necessarily at the same time.
Listening is hard. If you were a teacher and your student won't listen, it's frustrating. In our case, it's not working well too. I am the teacher. He is the student who wants to be the teacher. How frustrating is that? No one can listen if both are talking at the same time. In our case that is the - case. Well, for the most part until I shut up. So I realized I was the instigator. So from then on, when we argue, I would just state my case and when he starts defending himself (or more like giving alibis) I'll shut up. Then he shuts up. Then there will be peace. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And for some reason, after we kept our cool, we'll start talking again as if nothing happens. But that doesn't work all the time. We still argue. We love to argue. Are you kidding me? It's in our DNA. And we still fight so we can kiss and make up.
@the top of Empire State Building in New York
4. We stop talking when arguments started heating up.
More on talking. Not talking is a skill I need to learn. Blame it on my profession. When you are a teacher for more than 11 years before you met your husband that is close to impossible. If you are an only child and used to getting things your way, that is darn unfeasible. So he needs to acquire the skill as well. To sum it up, we are both in big trouble when we got married and it was too late when we realized that. Nevertheless, we talked our way in and out of petty hang-ups for 10 long years. Some egos were bruised and healed but at the end of the day, we still accept each other's shortcomings and move on. Good thing my Sweetest doesn't keep grudges. In the middle of our fight he can walk away fuming like hell and come back like he had an amnesia. He can easily recover from a bad situation and moves on quickly... and he drags me. So I have no choice but to move along.
On Top of the World (a.k.a. Empire State Building NY)
5. We suck it up, Buttercup!
One thing about being married is I learn to suck it up. Marriage is like going into an adventure or camping or war. You need a survival kit for emergency purposes or a Swiss knife that you can pull out in any situation called for.  In our case, we suck it up. Example, I cook his favorite dish when I need something from him and he does something special when he wants me to do something for him. Sucking up! It's a marriage survival kit. In my opinion, marriage is a matter of sucking up or hanging-in-there. Choose your battle and use the right weapon wisely because when you are already married the magic is gone. This is not an urban legend. It's a fact. When you marry your man, he automatically turns into a transformer right after honeymoon. I'm not lying. Oh, I can even come up with a - "LIST of what happened when you married your man". But anyway, I know you know what I mean and where am I getting in to. All I want to say is things change when you get married. The trials are already over and you need to up your strategy. Don't get me wrong, married life is a workout. It's a 24-hour job with no pay and benefits. [Or I may be wrong. Amal must be paid and with great benefits. wink*] You need to stay strong so build a strong marriage muscles. Suck it up so you don't need to deal with #2 in the list.
@The Breakers in Rhode Island
6. We do things together even if I don't like it.
This thing is actually the hardest for me to learn. In fact I am still trying to learn how to be good at it. Imagine yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere all day doing yoga poses, repetitive squats, jumping jacks and whatnots just to pass the time because your hubby is down the river dredging dirt. Well that's only one of the worse scenarios I can think of. At first, I was OK with it but doing something like that repeatedly even if your heart is not 100 percent into it is a torture. That's the story of my life as - a wife of a hobby-ist. Gold panning is just one of the 100 plus hobbies of my Sweetest. And gold panning is one of the few hobbies that he bribes me to do with him. This is just between you and me. Nothing should come out from here, OK? I hate gold panning! But I still go. The reasons of course are subjective. One, if I want to do something aside from doing laundry and other housework on the weekend, I might as well go camping and gold panning in the weekends. (Refer to #5 in the list.) Two, I don't like it but I like to spend time with my man. It maybe a win-win situation for him and not for me but it works. Sort of. But of course, I won't let him get away with only him having fun and me - miserable. There are also instances that the table is turn in my favor. I only need to be creative to get things my way. Because in this marriage, it's my way or the highway. In other words, we are normal.
Cruising the Hudson River in New York
7. We ignore each other.
If you are married or have a partner, raise your hand if there came a time when you can no longer stand your significant other. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt! But I can imagine my Sweetest raising his hand too in the corner. I can't blame him. He married a brat. But hey, we both have our flaws and the only way to stay married is either to close your eyes or turn away. Acceptance is the key to happiness and ignoring your partner's craziness can solve the loopholes to a happy marriage. Just turn a blind eye, after all love is blind. Get it?
During our 4th of July Train Adventure in New Hampshire
8. Leave each other alone.
This one is my favorite. I will not lie. It's not fun being with your significant others all the time. Or maybe it's just me. I'm not the kind of person who needs to see my husband all the time. I don't want him with me every hour, every minute, every second of the day. Puhleeeessss! No, I need space and so he does. One thing I like about him is he even push me to see my friends and spend time with them. At first, I was thinking he wants to get rid of me so he can do stupid things without being judged. Well partly it was that but for the most part, he wants me out of the house so I can do things that he can't do for me like, following me in the Mall and carrying my shopping bags (and paying for it maybe?). And besides, there are things that only my friends and I can talk and laugh about that he can't understand. And yes, we need to loosen up the leash sometimes. If it's good for the dogs, it's good for husband and wife.
@The Lincoln Memorial
9. We are each other's pain-in-the-butt.
Being normal people as we are (are we?), we can't help but be an a$$h*le to each other sometimes. I'm saying this without pretense. Seriously, I did not marry a saint nor did he. Married people find themselves married to a totally different person at one point (or several points) in their married lives. But that doesn't mean that they need to call the divorce lawyer right away. No, we don't want that. We don't want lawyers to get richer. What I meant was, my secret identity sometimes leaked out without warning. It was like my undercover mission was blown when I get out-of-control or cranky. I could really be ugly as sh*t when I don't get my way. And he gets even when gets a chance too. But even if we are both a pain-in-the-butt most of the time we ended up kissing each other 's butts too. Literally and figuratively. Oh, that one is gross. We don't literally do that.
@Crawford Notch New Hampshire

10. We laugh it out and cry out loud.
I'm not a sucker for reality shows. Life is a huge melodramatic show as it is so why mess it up with more drama? It sounds negative, isn't it? But hey, I don't dig the Kardashians or the Bachelor or what-the-heck-they-are-doing reality shows in planet earth. Sorry, I just don't. The Gregoire household is just simple, plain and boring. Just kidding. The Gregoire Household is actually a reality show in itself sans the commercial interruptions and paid advertising. We just don't sell so producers are not interested in airing our too common married life. We laugh our stupidity out most of the time and learn from it. We cry out our pains, frustrations and anger then laugh some more for crying about them. We try to stay positive for the most part. It's hard but it's manageable. Well, he is manageable. I am not. But he tried his best to understand me and that is the beautiful part of this marriage. It's a two-way street. Give and take. He gives. I take.
Somewhere near Niagara Falls

There you go, my friends. I told you, my list is out of the ordinary. I can't pretend that I have a perfect marriage. It's just not me. And it's not possible or feasible. What's a perfect marriage anyway? All couples, in my opinion, are weird in their own special way. They all struggle and face challenges to stay in love and to keep the relationship in good shape. And we are no exemption.
Staying in a relationship doesn't mean that we found the right person. Staying in a relationship means we have accepted each other's flaws and imperfections. And no matter what the odds are, we are both working to keep on loving each other unconditionally. I know that there will be times that we will find ourselves pushing each other's buttons and fight about stupid things but that's freaking OK and normal. It's part and parcel of being stuck with each other.

Yes, there is always a way out when things get ugly. But that is not always the solution. Maybe it is. But for us, we chose to stick around and work it out. Maybe if time comes that we can no longer stand each other, we just stay married and annoy each other to death so we can save in lawyer's fee. Just kidding. And I don't want to be negative about negative things. We still do crazy stuff because we can't help it or we are getting old and having some senior moments but what is important is that we always have the option to "kiss and make up."




NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Sorry for the photo-overload. We don't have a lot of pictures together because my Sweetest is super shy. And we don't have a 10-year span couple photos that I wish I can put here so I just put all the photos that my brothers took during our vacation. CREDIT to my brothers Gary and Japol.

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