a grateful heart

// image: melissa beaver //

love wasn't an emotion thrown around in our household growing up. we mainly knew survival. we knew that you make your mistakes. you live with the consequences. and you brush off any thoughts that that world has good to offer because things like that don't exist or so we were told. while to many, this would have broken them, leaving them hopeless and in despair.

but this "philosophy" imposed on me at such a young age molded me to be an opinionated, outspoken woman who was desperate to find her place. i refused to believe that life was anything like the dysfunction i was living in and that my life would be anything other than happy. i refused to believe that i couldn't ever make a home with people because i learned at a young age, people became my home. people became my refuge. people taught me the world has much to offer, if we accept it.

you make the life you want to live.

and i have. brandon and i dated young and he soon became a home to me. almost a decade later, this still remains true.

- we are a team. we have become advocates for one another. after all, that is what we signed up for with this thing called marriage.
- we laugh a lot. this one gets us through. you have to find the humor in life. and it is okay to laugh at each other as long as you can laugh at yourself.
- communication. the most important and yet the hardest for me. if you were never shown the proper way to communicate with a spouse, the adjustment can be quite a bear. the easiest for us was to be an open book. the better you know one another inside and out, the more trust you build and communication becomes easier. i often revert to shutting down instead of not talking things out. not a good thing, but it leads me to my next point.
- we don't like going to bed angry, and you have all heard the wisdom advising against it. but truthfully, sometimes a nights rest can make all the difference in the world. i once had a coworker tell that me that he took his daughter's phone away for the night when she was arguing with a boy. the point was to make her reflect on the situation and come back to it with an open mind. our marriages need the same. emotions can get the best of us all, and we soon say things we'll regret. with a clear mind the next day, you can begin to repair.
- learn to listen carefully. again, no expert at this one. but listening intently to one another will let the other know their needs. we all have different needs for our roles in this life. i have needs as a wife and as a woman. brandon has needs as a husband and as a man.
- don't loose who you are in the marriage. i learned this one in college. i dedicated all that i was to our relationship. when he moved to go to another school, i was lost. i had find who i was without him and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. i have my own opinions, my own friends, my own hobbies, and your spouse should too.
- dance. we have this one down! we love to dance and if you're lucky maybe one day you'll see brandon's rapper skills in person ;) just in case you didn't know. he can spit out Eminem lyrics like nobody's business.
- travel. see the world together. make memories. these you won't regret.
- fix what's broken. i once heard that a marriage is like a house. it needs to be fixed and cleaned. just like a house without that, it can become dirty and uninhabitable.
- appreciate the small. appreciate the big. gratitude goes a long way.

i wasn't shown these things. i wasn't told these things. they are things we knew to be true in our hearts. things we knew would make the world better. we have learned together that this world is beautiful. marriage is beautiful.

we are not perfect. but we do life together, and i wouldn't have it any other way.


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