Friday, April 06, 2007

It's My Anniversary!

I wonder how many 35-year-olds can say they've been with their spouse half their life? On April 7, I will be married 17 years. John and I started dating when I was 17. (It's not my b-day. I was actually born 7-17-1971.)

This is highly unusual (not that I'll be 35, but that I've been married for 17 years). I think there are a few factors. But before I get to that, I have to say my marriage was NOT without struggle. I was a teen mom and had a baby when I married. (I didn't marry the father of my baby.) My parents had a difficult marriage, and I had no good role model. The first years were hard.

Also, I haven't gone through my marriage without temptation. In fact, last year my first boyfriend contacted me. He found my name on Classmates.com. He told me he'd been thinking about me for 20 years. He named his daughter after me. He said he loved me. He said we were soulmates, etc. My emotions were out of control.

It was exactly what I wanted to hear (it is flattering) ... but not what I needed at all. I told my Christian friends. I told my husband. I needed accountability, and I made them keep me accountable. I broke off communication, and every day for a year I was tempted to contact him. (Was he still thinking about me?) BUT I decided to stay committed to my husband.

I longed for an undivided heart. I worked (even more) on my marriage. My husband and I started reading a chapter of a marriage book EVERY DAY. We started reading our Bible and praying together. And we opened up lines of communication. Soon my emotions for the old flame faded and my love for my husband grew and grew. Yet, I have so many friends who've gone the other way ... only to find they aren't happy with the 2nd guy, or 3rd and more than they were with the 1st.

Recently the New York Times had a report that stated that more women are single than married. Here are some reasons why I think more women are single:

1. Gen Xers grew up with divorce. We know how painful it was being shuttled from mom and dad and having to chose sides. We think that by marrying later we will marry smarter. Or if we just live with a guy and break up that it's not the same as being divorced. Because of our pain, we don't give ourselves completely to another person.

2. Also, women today think that EMOTIONS rule. We are angry, we want out. We are depressed, so we deserve better. We feel attraction and desire for someone else and think we must follow it. We have set our emotions on a throne above all else and live our lives by how we FEEL.

3. When we don't have certain needs that are met, we search for some way to fill them. Like other men. Of course, when that doesn't work, we usually find ourselves alone again.

I've spent the last few years of researching this generation and finding out what makes us tick. These are few of the things I've found. Of course, you may not agree! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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7 Comments:

At Friday, 06 April, 2007, Blogger Lesley said...

Hey you, you know I've struggled in my 8 year marriage too. It's so easy to think about just letting it all go. However, if you really think about it... it's easier and BETTER to work at your marriage then to walk away. Look at all the pros of staying and what pros of leaving?

I'd say the pros of working on your marriage outweigh all the pros (or so-called pros) of leaving. Even more so if children are involved.

Now marriage is NOT a one person job. It take 3 individuals.. You, your spouse and God. (is God an individual?) Anyway..... yay Tricia - I would LOVE to hear more.

xoxo

 
At Friday, 06 April, 2007, Blogger amyanne said...

Great post! I would add that I think women get married later becasue they are looking for someone to fit into their lives rather than a joining of two lives into one.

We, as Gen Xers have been raised with a sort of Women Power role model in our homes and in the media. If you are raised in a non-Christian home, you really don't know any better.

Case in point...

I got married at the age of 20. If you had asked me a few years prior, getting married would have been the last thing I would have expected to happen to me at that age.

I was never one of those girls who dreamed about getting married one day. On the other hand, I was always looking for love, and hoped that I'd find someone to love me. But, my dreams never really got past that.

I was raised in a non-Christian home, my parents are still together. My mom pretty much wears the pants. She always worked and was sought after for her knowledge and expertise. She controlled her work and her home.

I realize know that sub-consciously that is what I expected to do in my marriage. Also, I found someone that worshipped me and would let me do that. Of course, through the years I ruined so many things, crushed him in many ways. Not on purpose, but as a result of my total self-centeredness and ignorance.

It wasn't until my husband and I become Christians six years into our marriage that the roles began to change a little. God has opened my eyes. But, it's really been in the last year that I've realized how much I throw the balance off in our marriage.

I didn't plan to 'rule' in my marriage, but I wasn't taught or shown how to defer to my husband or that he is to be the head of the wife. I didn't know who God had created man and women to be and the separate roles he has given us.

I've seen many of my friends struggle because of this.

 
At Friday, 06 April, 2007, Anonymous Diane D. said...

First, Happy Birthday!!!! :)

You know the subject of marriage has been near & dear lately since I've been helping my friend whose husband has left after 18 years. Like us, she comes from a divorced family...knowing that they are now passing on that emotional baggage to her own children is breaking her heart.

Greg and I have been married almost 14 years...Our first years were pretty tough, until we came to Christ. It hasn't all been easy since then, but we're learning together. I think the key is having a husband who is willing to put God FIRST (before his wife even).

I tell all my friends, my children and anyone else who will listen to NEVER make decisions based on feelings or emotion. Love is a choice...sometimes you "feel" it and sometimes you don't, but that doesn't mean you walk away.

Putting away my soapbox now... }{grin}

Diane

 
At Sunday, 08 April, 2007, Anonymous Mary said...

Happy Birthday!

Thanks for sharing that...I know my heart would flip-flop if my first boyfriend ever contacted me and said what yours said to you...what a test...and you are to be commended for handling it as you did, I bet as a result, you and your husband are even closer than you were before. I got married when I was 18...and feel like Dh and I really matured on the same pages...I often wonder when our "testing" time will hit. Sometimes things seem too good to be true, though we have had our share of outward conflict (finances/family, etc) melding us together...

Anyway, I find your blogging about generations X'ers to be fascinating!

 
At Monday, 09 April, 2007, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

The best thing about pressing through and facing any conflict is the promise on the other side. John and I are closer than ever before. I'm thankful that God is not only with us as we face struggles, but He has blessings for us on the other side!

 
At Monday, 09 April, 2007, Anonymous Mary said...

I'm sorry I mixed up your birthday with your anniversary! Happy Anniversary...late!

 
At Friday, 13 April, 2007, Blogger cmpctjen said...

Happy belated Anniversary! I guess if I had taken time out to puruse the blogs, would have been on time. I know the ups and downs, ebbs and flows of a marriage can bind a couple. I grew up with a strong desire for God, but fighting my mother to allow me to go to church. My father dropped my sister and me off at church on Sunday and from there ... I fortunately answered God's call. My husband led me to believe he had also answered the call. Perhaps, in his own way he has. But, I find the fight over my attending church with him since our second year of marriage. I pray for the Lord to continue building us and to call my husband into His house. I know it will happen in His time, not mine. Because of the arguments, I find myself turning to the Bible ... searching as to whether or not I knew I was unequally yoked or was truly deceived. Infidelity...harsh words...loss...all have entered our marriage. But, I know God has a plan and we have worked through the struggles. We continue to work through struggles. But, right now, He has given us many blessings and this is a good time. I will just keep praying and loving.

 

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