Marriage Is No Fairytale

marriageI have been married for 14 years. Yes, to the same man! We were 23 years old on our wedding day. We were so in love, we couldn’t get enough of each other. He was my best friend, and I was his.

Truth: At 23 years old, I didn’t have a clue what a marriage really was…and at 37, I still find myself struggling to figure it out sometimes.

In the beginning, our marriage was bliss. Although we never went away on a honeymoon, every day felt like one 馃檪 And then reality set in. I don’t even know how it happened. As it turned out, the man who had the power to make my day with a simple smile also had the power to anger me to the point where I felt like a clip from the exorcist. And me, the woman who could jumpstart his heart with a look,聽 I had somehow learned to make his head spin a time or two as well. It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are both around today to tell the tale, there were days we could have happily killed each other.

It was a humbling lesson, but what I realized during the early years of our marriage was how very little I actually knew about myself and my husband. As I grew and changed, Curtis grew and聽 changed. We once seemed to have so much in common, and then it felt like we had nothing in common. He drove me nuts and I drove him equally nuts. How we survived, I don’t know. Sometimes I felt like he didn’t know me at all, and yet there were still days when I felt like he knew me better than I knew myself.

Here’s what 14 years of marriage has taught me…

Marriage is not a fairytale. It’s an adventure, a journey, a true test of patience and love. Marriage is about constantly exploring and rediscovering each other. It’s about falling in love over and over again. It’s about learning to ride the waves of chaos together. It’s not about following rules in a book, or taking advice that worked for someone else, it’s about figuring out what works for us in our marriage. It’s about finding joy in and for each other as individuals as well as together as partners.

My being a dreamer drove my realist, grounded husband insane. The other day I asked him if he wouldn’t prefer to find someone more stable like him (someone he often begs me to be), he reflected, laughed and said “no, after being with you, that would be too boring”.

I used to look at his realist personality as restrictive, now I see that it’s this part of him that keeps me grounded. His stability also allows him to be the provider he is to this family.

I love my husband more deeply today than I ever have. This past year has been my favorite as husband and wife. We have learned to appreciate each other for all that we are; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We may finally have this whole marriage thing down to an art 馃槈 Here’s to the next 14 years 馃檪

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The Idealist and The Realist

This is me. A.K.A. The Idealist (Dreamer)

i路de路al路ist 聽(-d-lst)

n.

1. One whose conduct is influenced by ideals that often conflict with practical considerations.
2. One who is unrealistic and impractical; a visionary.
3. An artist or writer whose work is imbued with idealism.
4. An adherent of any system of philosophical idealism.
My personal definition: One who tirelessly chases dreams.
RealistThis is Hubby. A.K.A. The Realist (Anti-Dreamer)

re路al路ist 聽(r-lst)

n. (as defined by Farlex)

1. One who is inclined to literal truth and pragmatism.
2. A practitioner of artistic or philosophic realism.
My personal definition: One who believes only in what can be irrefutably proven in the past or present moment.

What happens when Dreamers and Realists fall in love?

Ideally,

ideally

Realistically,

realistically

There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You鈥檇 think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not, the opposite is true. You see the dreamers need the realists from keeping them from soaring too close to the sun鈥 And the realists? Well without the dreamers, they might never get off the ground.

Dedicated to all the Realist / Idealist couples out there 馃槈

Please, take a moment to share a piece of your story below. What is it you find the most difficult in the Idealist/Realist partnership?

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post you may also like How Our House Became Our Home, Staying Positive In A Bad-Ass World, Friendships Forgiveness and Jelly Beans, Are You Worthy Of Love, The Solo Adventure of A Geographically Challenged Mom, Who Do I Think I Am?

Embrace your Awesomeness!

How Our House Became Our Home

home sweet homeHome renovations are the leading cause of divorce in the world. Okay, I don’t actually know this, after the week I’ve had I’m just guessing…although I’d be very interested to see the statistics.

For 14 years we have lived in the same house. It was a repo and in desperate need of some loving attention. However with our impending marriage, new home costs, and other financial commitments at the time, the TLC our home needed was just too much to bear. Over the years, we dabbled in decor only to find out that there is one thing my husband and I agree on and that’s that we can’t agree on anything house related. We have completely different tastes and neither one of us have a clue when it comes to decorating a home. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. We once hired someone to help us figure it out, at least to take us through some options and mediate for us until we could come to some kind of compromise. I loved what she did but I knew we needed more. Our budget just wouldn’t allow it. My husband’s reaction was different, “We paid how much for toilet paper curtains??” and made reference to the off-white looped carpet being a bad idea with pets and children (right he was) And so, we did all we could do…we ignored it until we forgot about the excruciating pain of paint, renos, purchases, and decorating.聽 It took years before we decided to give it another go.

This time, we decided that we would try something new. Curtis put me in charge of all things paint; choosing the colors, taping, mudding and sanding the walls, and painting. I put Curtis in charge of flooring. We both checked in with each other regularly. The flooring went well, we went to see our options with the type we had in mind and ended up talking to a wealth-of-information sales guy and got something totally different that we felt would work in our home and we both loved it! I suggested we paint before laying the floor but Curtis adamantly insisted on laying the floor first. (Can you hear that?? It’s trouble brewing…!)

Curtis laid the floor. He did a fantastic job and great news…it looked awesome! We both loved it! I was still obsessing about struggling with paint color choices. Do I go with neutrals, do I go timeless,聽 vibrant, bold, what? It had to be something we could both live with. I looked through pictures and asked questions, I even started a heated discussion on a home decor and design site! I wanted to paint the ugly honey oak cupboards, Curtis was dead set against it! The compromise was I needed to find a way to tone down the bright, glossy, ugliness of them. Who knew what I had unleashed when I asked what paint color would do the job I needed it to do? The responses were passionate; “It doesn’t matter what color you put with those cupboards, any color will make them uglier”, “he should buy you new appliances for having to put up with those cupboards”, … even my husband got in on the action “I am confident we can make our kitchen look nice working with what we have” lol it was too much fun!

AHHH! The paint colors…you know I don’t like to commit. Commitment is just too final. I like change, I change my mind as my mood changes. I came across a picture of my ideal room, if I had my own place, this is what it would look like:

I showed it to Curtis, and guess what?! Once he got over the inital shock of it, he admitted he liked it. (!!!) There’s my green light! After asking for his feedback on the 50th paint swatch, he repeated for the 50th time, “I don’t want anything to do with the paint! Whatever you want is fine!” I’m thinking ok 馃榾 I wanted to give our home some personality…and personality I found! I excitedly shared my color choices with my husband. His reaction?

shock!

I started with Salsa Dancing in the living room…LOVED IT!! Warm, cozy, deep, rich, wonderful color! I love painting, I love the unveiling of color, I love to watch the transformation before my eyes, I genuinely enjoy painting, it’s a happy place for me. Curtis hates all things paint…especially watching me paint, but he can’t help himself. He stared at me, and nit-picked until I kindly turned to him and said “Don’t you have anything else to do?” By the time we got to the Yellow for the hallway, I was psyched! Until I saw the yellow on the wall. I felt myself starting to doubt, but trusted the wonderful lady at the paint store….surely, it would all work out in the end. It wasn’t a bad color at night…Once I hit the kitchen and tore into the green paint….Ah! O-M-G! What have I done! I’ve painted my house orange, yellow and green! I do believe my colors of choice may have been questionable!!

Right then, as my husband watched me with his-hate-for-painting eyes, and his constant reminders of “watch the paint”, “watch the floor with the paint” and my “I got this! Ok?” I gracefully tripped over a cord from the fridge he had moved, my foot landed directly in my tray of wet paint, I quickly pulled my paint soaked foot out of the tray and braced it securely on his newly laid grooved floor. (There’s the trouble I was telling you about!)聽 His reminders went silent, his eyes went crazed, and I got worried. He remained silent. Hot Tip: Laughing out loud at this point, NOT a good idea.

Once I got the floor cleaned, I called on reinforcements in sheer panic over the paint colors! They loved it. (Well, I think my brother had his doubts, he just laughed saying my home definitely radiates personality!) Maybe it was me…maybe the idea of commitment was just too much. I don’t know, but I stuck with it and you know what? Once I got the drop sheets moved, the curtains hung, and the hits of personality on the walls…I loved it too!

After 14 years, our house has finally begun to feel like a home. A home we created together. A home that showcases our personalities, ugly wood cupboards and vibrance on the walls.

If you liked this post you may also like: The Truth About My Marriage,聽 Not-So-Solo Trip to Toronto, On The Verge Of Crazy or Helplessly Charismatic

Thank you for being a part of the life I call my own personal chaos 馃檪 Embrace your awesomeness 馃檪

Not-So-Solo Trip To Toronto

My husband (sporting the Movember look) and I on Young Street in Toronto

It would seem that all the excitement from my recent solo adventure in the big city had caused my husband enough anxiety to insist on joining me when I was booked for another one day orientation back in Toronto 馃檪

Now, I’ll be honest with you…as much as I was looking forward to this mini trip, I had my reservations. My husband tends to be a little impatient in rush hour traffic when we go to Ottawa. He gets a little agitated when if he gets lost in the city. He can be a bit of a firecracker in highly populated areas. Did I mention that my orientation was booked in Toronto at the same time as the 100th Grey Cup game? And we were staying at The Madison Manor which was located just a couple blocks away from the stadium? As apprehensive as I was, I was excited too. We rarely get time to ourselves, just the two of us, it felt like I was dating my husband!

The drive down went surprisingly well…okay, I fell asleep 3 times. Toronto was congested with football fevered fans. There were people everywhere all dressed up, blowing horns, screaming, and cheering. We decided to grab a bite to eat at a place named “famous” for their wings. We ate the wings…we both agreed, they couldn’t be famous for anything other than a walking heart attack, they tasted like grease and we both knew our stomachs would pay for it later that night – if we even made it that long!

Our hotel was great. Not great in a fancy, over-the- top way, fancy in a cozy, quaint, old fashioned, hospitable way. It was nice. Perfect actually.

Being the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants (aka never-plan-anything-until-the-very-last-moment) kind of people that we are, we scrambled to find some entertainment. Of course, it was the Sunday night of the 100th Grey Cup…there was nothing else going on. NOTHING. We headed out to Kensington Market and arrived just in time to see all the shops close. I must give my husband credit here – he (like most people I know), doesn’t remotely relate to my sense of style. But, (I suppose to allow for me to bask in my happy place) he accompanied me to every hippie clothing store that caught my eye and with a curious look of bewilderment on his face, he smiled and nodded as I excitedly pointed out multicolored bags and jackets full of peace signs and banners with New Age quotes. (I think he was secretly relieved the market was shutting down.)

When we headed for the movies and I fought the urge to beg him to watch Breaking Dawn (why would I put myself through that movie again you ask? Read here lol) we got tickets for Freefall instead. It’s the least I could do considering I had fallen asleep 3 times while he drove for 5 hours and, well, we can’t ignore the hippie stores 馃檪 Note to self: Next time we find ourselves heading to Toronto during the 100th Grey Cup game, buy tickets to attend.

Monday night we took a short stroll down Young Street and ate dinner at Milestones before heading back on the long drive home…I don’t remember the last time we had a quiet dinner out just the two of us. It was weird nice. We talked about our days and at one point he told me I should become a Financial Advisor. I laughed and told him that maybe one day he would have the opportunity to marry one. He looked at me and said “I don’t think I would ever be able to get along with a Financial Advisor” Perplexed, I asked why then would he ever suggest that I become one. He simply replied “Well, that’s different. You and I, we don’t usually ever see eye to eye anyway. It would just be more of the same.” Great! 馃檪

Heading back home in the dark, I was determined to stay awake so he wouldn’t be driving alone. No worries, there….my insomnia never lets me down! Snow started to fall. At first it was light and beautiful. It gradually made it’s way to fast and furious. You know when you’re driving in a blizzard,聽 you look out the window and it feels like you’ve been transported into a Star Wars space shuttle flying through the universe? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who sees it. I know you’ve seen it too.

We were both starting to get a little anxious about visibility – or lack there of – so I did all I could to calm our nerves…I started to sing. Hmmmm…..the look on Curtis’ face told me that my singing voice sounded better in my own ears than in his. He tried his best to keep a straight face. Well, at least it made him laugh 馃槈

The further we drove, the worse the roads became. At one point we couldn’t see anything. Not the middle of the road, not the side of the road, only millions of giant white snowflakes coming right at us. We both looked at each other and wondered how we would drive any further. There were no hotels nearby and nowhere to stop to wait it out. At that exact moment, the radio played “We Will Die Young”. I kid you not! We just looked at each other wondering out loud if this is how it ends? Does everyone get a sign like this when their time comes?

I told Curtis that if anything were ever to happen to me, he deserved to find someone who “had it all together”, someone who was always well prepared for each and every day, someone who would take good care of him, and be able to find their keys, someone who was my exact polar opposite. My heart swelled when he shook his head and said that no, he wouldn’t want his life to be any other way than what it was right now. I never knew until the moment I heard those words coming out of his mouth, how much I needed to hear them.

The roads cleared, I continued to sing, Curtis continued to practice tuning me out, and life returned to normal….with a just a hint of even-better!

Isn’t it beautiful how life finds a way of working itself out so imperfectly perfect?

Embrace your awesomeness, and the crazy beautiful world in which you live!

The Truth about My Marriage

My husband drives me nuts, and I drive him equally mad. All too often I’ve wondered how it is that we ended up married at all. From what I can gather, our marriage was based on a total misunderstanding. He was under the impression that because I was employed by the government working at a financial institution, I was a secure and stable girl and as an added bonus, I was a financial expert. Boy, was he in for a shocker!

At the time, my husband was doing work he loved as a Sheet Metal Worker. He was a caring father to his son and we always had a blast. We would take off on vacation at the blink of an eye, never making reservations, sometimes not even really being sure about where we would end up. In my eyes, I saw my husband as a carefree risk-taker, someone who took life as it came and had fun with it. Oh, if only I knew!

In our first year of marriage, we were blessed with a baby girl. My husband became the stable and secure provider. I, on the other hand, looked into my baby girls eyes and saw life through a fresh new lens. I vowed to teach my daughter to choose happiness throughout her whole life, and how could I do that without leading by example? I became the carefree risk-taker focused primarily on joy and being the best mother I could be.

My husbands career was stable and secure while mine was virtually non-existent as I bounced from one interest to the next never taking into consideration my husbands dream of a stable and secure life. I had quit my聽 job to open a home daycare. I took a dozen different courses and trained with best selling authors and spiritual leaders in my quest to find a source of income that would allow me to be the best me I could be while providing me with time for our children. The journey I took in finding myself was anything BUT stable and secure. The more I spread my wings, the more stable my husband became. I took his secure world and turned it completely upside down. As he worked to build stability, I fought to live a bubble of possibility, a beautiful bubble, but a bubble no less.
Every time I lost my keys, he sighed. Every time he talked bills, I rolled my eyes. When I talked memories, he spoke of the future. He sung “tried and true” and I shouted “been there done that”. Home renovations never came to be because we couldn’t agree on anything. I’m not going to lie, some days it was a virtual shit storm! We were throwing each other far outside our comfort zones. I misunderstood his discomfort and unease with my freestyle approach to life as a disappointment in who I was.

Things are rarely as they seem

Thankfully, becoming a published author has allowed me to find a happy medium and prove that I could achieve more than even I thought was possible. I still live in my beautiful bubble, I’ve learned to invite my husband in as well. He seems to like the bubble for the most part, he shares in my dreams, and agrees that what he may have considered impossible at one time, might not be so impossible after all.

The truth is, life is always divinely organized. For who better to teach me to keep my feet on the ground than him? And who better to teach him the beauty of life unexpected and the possibility of achieving the impossible than me?

I owe the life I’ve had the privilege of living to my husband and his stability. Without him, I wouldn’t be me.

Today, I choose to fully embrace my husbands awesomeness and the gifts he has brought to my life.

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