A happy life together doesn’t have to look perfect.
Marriage is hard work, period. Anyone who’s experienced being married to someone knows there’s no such thing as perfect marriage, because there’s no such thing as a perfect person — let alone two perfect people in the same union.
Mom and wife Nikki Pennington, who has been with her husband Jerry since they were teenagers, recently shared some of her thoughts on marriage on her Facebook account.
It’s easy to see why her post has now gone viral. Why? Because her response speaks to all of us.
“Jer and I have been together since we were teenagers,” she begins. “After thirteen years of being together and eleven years of marriage I’ve had people ask me, ‘So, what’s the secret to a successful marriage?'”
Many of us probably couldn’t imagine still being with our high school sweethearts, so the fact that this woman and her husband have been together for a long time means we’re all ears.
She starts out by sharing those old adages that get passed down at bridal showers, like “never go to bed angry” or “always say ‘I love you’ when you leave.” You know, those are nice thoughts that originated as Marriage Must-Dos during our grandparents’ era. You know what else those adages are? Horse shit.
“You guys, do you know how many times in eleven years Jer has taken residency on the couch prior to us having kids because we were mad? Do you know how many times he’s left without us saying ‘I love you’ because kids and life. His way of saying ‘I love you’ some mornings is letting me sleep in when he leaves and everyone is still asleep.”
Amen. Who among us wouldn’t consider a partner letting us sleep in as the ultimate act of love? Sleep > flowers.
Pennington mentions that when it comes to secrets, they’ve “broken them all.” Because there really isn’t a special secret or set of rules to follow in order to have a happy, healthy marriage. Sometimes marriages aren’t always happy, all the time. Because that’s real life. And real marriage.
“It’s a get up and try again over and over every damn day,” Pennington writes.
“It’s hanging on tight when you are young, newly married and living on frozen dinners because it’s all you can afford.
“It’s staying up all night in tears with your first newborn child because you both are over tired, overwhelmed and scared to death but you are in it together.
“It’s counting pennies when you are young so that you can build a life together for your future family.”
Being part of a marriage or any long-haul relationship means facing endless obstacles, but knowing you’re not alone when you do. We’re never fully prepared for what life throws at us, but if you’ve got someone down there in the trenches with you to share the burden? That’s success when it comes to marriage.
Pennington concludes her post with a piece of advice worth remembering:
“Just try every single day, in the trenches and on top of the mountains don’t ever stop. Because stopping, that’s one thing that isn’t a secret, it will make you fail.”