The Marriage Mistakes

Today is my eighth wedding anniversary.  I have three thoughts about that:

1.  I’m thankful that we’ve made it this long.
2.  We’re old.
3.  I wish I didn’t screw up the first six years.

I was 22 when we got married back in 2005.  Thus, I didn’t know anything.  Unsurprisingly, we got off to a rocky start.  Three days before our wedding, Amanda wanted to pull a “Runaway Bride” and ditch everything.  She told me to marry one of her non-sister bridesmaids instead.  That would have been awkward for Amanda’s family who showed up for the wedding.

Thankfully, I didn’t get left at the altar.
The Mistakes of Marriage

Law school and the pressures of teaching a classroom full of middle school kids didn’t help.  Neither did watching too much trashy TV.  We talked about divorce in 2009.  We talked about divorce in 2010.  We talked about it a lot more in 2011.  However, by the grace of God, we stuck it out, mostly because neither one of us wanted to be responsible for taking the dog out twice a day.  Back in October 2011, I returned from a ten-day trip to Turkey, and BAM, everything was different.  We got the fresh start we desperately needed.

Wedding Chapel

Although I’m not a marriage expert and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I’ve learned these important lessons from my many mistakes over the past eight years:

(1)  Your wedding is not that important.  Yep, it should be a fun, amazing, and joyous day of celebration.  However, it’s just one day.  Don’t lose sight of the person you are marrying and why you are marrying him or her because you’re too stressed about floral arrangements and seating assignments.

(2)  I love TV.  I love the internet.  However, I’ve spent way too much time looking at screens over the past eight years instead of hanging with my wife.  I regret that.  The two of you sitting on the couch while you each stalk people on Facebook or watch “Heroes” shouldn’t count as your “quality” time (especially because “Heroes” sucked after the first season).

(3)  Work is important.  School is important.  Neither is more important than a relationship with your spouse.  It’s hard to live that out day-to-day, but if you don’t, those lost days will quickly turn into months and years.

(4)  When you get mad at your spouse, it’s easy to start thinking about how your life would be so much better if you were single or if you had married someone else.  Don’t go down that road.  It usually leads to dark places full of discontent and lies.

(5)  Don’t dwell on old drama.  It’s fun, in some sort of twisted way, to reopen old wounds and play the blame game.  However, those types of shenanigans will poison your relationship with bitterness.  You need to learn from past mistakes, not dwell on them.

To avoid ending on a serious and depressing note, here’s a picture of our dog wearing sunglasses:

Napoleon Sunglasses

How to be a Man

Although I’m infinitely excited to be a dad, I’m also terrified.  I’ve never been a parent before (I think), I feel awkward around babies, and I’m a pretty immature dude.  Thus, it’s a little intimidating to think that I’ll be responsible for two little humans (and a Chihuahua) in just a few months.

Thankfully, I spend two hours a day on a bicycle, which I use to think and pray about this sort of stuff (while repeatedly listening to Miley Cyrus and Florida Georgia Line).  I often think about what sort of advice I’ll give my kids.  I’m pretty sure it will be the same regardless of whether we’re having two girls, two boys, or a mix of the two.  However, because I don’t know much about being a woman, I’ve been thinking a lot about the advice I’ll give to my potential son(s) about being a man.

How to Be a Man

Of course, this list is nonnegotiable:

(1) You will love sports.
(2) You will love rock and roll.
(3) You will lift weights.
(4) You will not listen to any sissy boy band music.
(5) You will vote Republican.
(6) You will always…

Wait, nevermind.

None of that nonsense is true.

Here’s the real list:

(1)  Be yourself.

(2)  Respect everyone else.

The.  End