Marriage Monday: Ashley's Guest Post - How Divorce Has Shaped My Marriage

"I was feeling pretty good. You see, I've been lifting weights all summer for football. So yeah, I was feeling pretty good when I marched into that classroom on the first day of classes. I saw this really pretty girl sitting in front of the classroom. I noticed that there was a woman sitting across from this pretty girl, and figured that this woman was our professor. I approached this girl, cleared my throat, and gave my best smile while saying hello. And...nothing. This girl didn't even look up at me...didn't even acknowledge me at all. That was a blow to my ego, and I played it off as if it was nothing. I muttered, what a witch (okay, I may have used a different word that rhymed with a witch). I sat all way back in the classroom, and tried to feel better about myself. Suddenly, I saw another woman entering the classroom, and announced herself as our English professor. I was quite confused. Wasn't that other woman sitting across from this pretty girl our professor? I looked again in that direction, and saw that woman interpreting in American Sign Language (ASL). Then it occurred to me that this pretty girl was not intentionally ignoring me...she was Deaf. Suddenly, it came to me that I had to learn ASL just to get to know this girl..."


This is Stu's, my husband, favorite story to share when an opportunity arises about how we first met nearly 9 years ago. He claims that he saw this aura around me when he first saw me, and that was when he knew he was going to marry me. As for me, I wish I can say that I felt the same right away, and had this conviction that I was going to marry him, but I did not. 

I was more cautious, and reserved when it came to dating, and falling in love. You see, I came from a divorced family. My parents divorced when I was very young, and I was blessed to have parents that behaved very civilly around my brother, and me. My mom moved us in with my aunt and her children. I was lucky to grow up with my cousins, and my aunt. We were, and still are very close. While growing up, my mom, and my aunt often told us kids that our education came first, and marriage came second. My mom stressed it with every chance she had--go to college, get a good job, and find a good man after you've accomplished all that first. Take your time dating. Have fun. Don't be in a hurry to marry. 

My mom did not want me to make the same mistake that she did. She married at twenty-one, had me at twenty-four, had my brother at twenty-five, and got divorced at twenty-seven. Her twenties were over very quickly. Because of my mom's experiences, I knew that I wanted to enjoy my twenties as much as I could before settling down.




At a very young age, I viewed marriage as a very serious commitment, and knew in my heart that divorce was not in my cards. Marriage was something to be protected, cherished, and embraced as a gift. It was not something to be frivolous about. Too often than not, I saw among my family members, especially my dad, that marriages fell apart, and they had married for wrong reasons. Do not get me wrong; they did love each other, and even with that, love was not enough because the reasons behind their marriages were not strong enough to sustain the marriage. I saw how miserable people were in their marriages, and did not understand how they came to be in that position. I saw how divorces tore the kids, and parents apart.


As I grew older, some of my friends married at a young age, and regretted the decision to marry. I did not want to be in that situation where I came to regret my marriage. My feelings about marriage grew fortified as time went on. Sure, I dated guys that I had no inclination of being with long-term, and I learned from those experiences. I was not pressured to get married, nor was I in a hurry...until I met Stuart. 

On the other hand, Stu came from a family that valued marriage. His parents recently celebrated 35-years anniversary. Needless to say, divorce was a foreign concept to Stu. He placed a great value on marriage, and viewed it as a life-long commitment. It was not something to be taken lightly of, and when there were bumps in the marriage, then it simply meant that the bumps needed to be worked on instead of smoothing it over, and pretending that all was good when it wasn't. It was one of the reasons why we fell so naturally into our relationship was because we held similar values despite our drastically different backgrounds.


A month after getting to know Stu, he put down the notebook, the one we used to write back and forth because he did not know how to sign at that time, and started signing (which took me completely off guard because none of the guys I had dated in the past did this for me) - this was the exact moment when I knew I was going to marry him. Getting to the place where we finally exchanged our vows was a journey in itself!





We dated for six and half years before tying the knot. It was not because we did not want to get married. We had individual goals that we wanted to accomplish before entering a life-long commitment. We felt that by doing individual goals that needed to be accomplished strengthened our relationship. After our college graduation, I went to graduate school in Washington DC, and interned in Twin Cities while Stu worked toward his teaching, and coaching careers for two years. It was difficult to be apart, and maintain our relationship long-distance especially with so many of our friends getting married. For a short period, we were uncertain of where our relationship was going because our goals became so individualistic. We remained each other's biggest supporters, and that helped us to remain committed. Love was what held us together despite only seeing each other twice or three times a year. 


Stu, and I had our bumps in our relationship that we had to overcome as individuals, and as a couple. We felt that a part of reason why there were so many divorces among people we knew was because they did not address their personal struggles which ultimately effected how they related to each other, and it effected their marriage. We bettered ourselves for our relationship, and it made the world of a difference - especially with how we communicate with each other when we are upset. We focused on our health, amending our communication, finding a healthy balance of sharing similar, and personal interests, and strengthening our bond by using humor. We started looking at things with a sense of humor. When things went wrong, instead of harping or bickering, we figured that it could have been worse, and laughed it off. It was not that we didn't take things seriously when a situation called for it. We did. It was also so vital not to take everything so personal. All of these became our buffers against the big D word.




It  helped tremendously to carry this attitude into our marriage. Sure, we were not always perfect. We still made mistakes. We had our bad days. Instead of holding resentments, and scores of what had happened, we let it go, and forgave. Good days far outweighed the bad. We were blessed with our newest addition to our family, our son, and he became our daily reminder of how blessed we were to have each other to lean on.

By recognizing that we are not always perfect, we are more prone to be forgiving, and understanding when we make mistakes. We are confident that we can get through snags, burls, and bumps that may crop up in the course of our marriage. We believe strongly in the verses, 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails. 


We are fully committed to each other, and that is what makes our marriage strong. 


Quick Questions:
What do you admire most about your significant other? Stu has a very big, open heart. He would gladly take his shirt off his back to anyone. It is one of many things I love about him. 

What was your first dance song? We made an agreement that Stu was going to pick the first song, and I was going to pick the last dance song for our wedding. He ended up choosing My Best Friend by Tim Mcgraw. He said that he felt that it described our relationship perfectly. 

Describe your significant other in 3 words. Determined, loving, and altruistic. 

If you could redo one thing from your wedding day, what would you do differently? I would change how big our wedding was. As an oldest kid in my family, there was an expectation to have a large wedding, and while that was wonderful, and a beautiful day, I would have liked to downsized the wedding attendance. I would like to make it more intimate, and just about us. Perhaps renew vow ceremony someday? :) 


Ashley's Blog: Every Beautiful Little Piece
Easily one of my favorite blogs (and bloggers!) that I keep up with - Ashley shares so much about the many facets of her beautiful life.  First of all, there is her wonderful self.  She frequently posts topics in her "It's a Deaf Thing" series, which is getting much attention these days - as it should! Next, the hubby, Stu.  And then, her lovely son, Forrest (and nope, he isn't deaf, in case you were wondering).  And I can't forget about their three fur-babies, Layla (the basset hound) and two cats Missy Girl & Mr. Jinxy.  The house is full, yet Ashley still has tons of love to spread around.  I am a huge supporter of hers, am thankful to call her a friend, and enjoy following in her beautiful life.  Thanks for stopping by & sharing, Ashley!  Don't be a stranger.  :)

Comments

  1. It was so much fun blogging for you. I really enjoyed doing this! :-)

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it because so have I and lots of others! :) You are welcome back anytime!!!

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  2. This is such a beautiful story! I did long-distance with my boyfriend for almost a year, and it was so difficult. We're still "medium-distance," but it's much easier. I can't imagine only seeing him a few times a year! That is true love and devotion!

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