Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How We Got Here...

So often in our lives we live in reaction to our previous experiences. Some of the reactions are negative, like the hyper-rebellion of someone reared by unusually strict parents. Some of the reactions are positive, like the parent that disciplines their children in reasonable ways after a lifelong promise to never be abusive to their children as their father had been to them. 

Brook and I live life in healthy and unhealthy reactions to our families of origin. Like most everyone else in the world, our parents modeled some wonderful behaviors for us and like the rest of the world, our parents modeled some behaviors that proved to be detrimental in their lives...and ours. 

As you look at your preferences, attitudes and expectations of life you will no doubt recognize some of your life as being eerily similar to that of your parents. Such is the case for Brook and me and we still learn of new reactions all the time. 

One such reaction has served us as a theme of our relationship. Our reactions and thoughts to growing up in broken homes have become positive reactions for us. Having lived in and through really negative and tumultuous divorces we naturally never wanted to be in those situations. We certainly never wanted to expose our children to the nastiness so often present in those situations. Our experiences lead both of us to two conclusions even prior to meeting one another. 

First, we would marry once and that marriage absolutely last the entirety of our lives. That came with a particularly interesting caveat for me. My paternal grandparents we married for roughly 60 years before my grandmother's death. On the surface that is a success story. In reality, they hated each other. I never remember an exchange of kind words, a loving gesture or affectionate act between the two of them. I remember thinking, even from an early age, that I never wanted to live like they lived. So the idea of simply staying married was of no comfort to me. 
Secondly, I specifically had the drive to make sure, in so far as it was up to me, to insure that my marriage didn't simply last. I wanted to insure that my marriage lasted well. My goal was to one day sit on a porch with my wife, holding hands as we reflected over our lives and know beyond a doubt that we were more in love after decades together than we were the day we married. 

Brook and I made very intentional choices about marrying one another. We both could have chosen an easier path for our lives and even in the spouse we chose in one another, but it isn't our nature to choose easy paths. It is both of our natures to seek the right path, the best path and the path that leads to excellent places. In our zeal to do those things we often make gigantic blunders that seem to only sabotage our stated goals. Even with those mistakes considered, the paths we typically choose are challenging, difficult and at time they even seem impossible. After 10+ years of walking a difficult path with Brook I can also state beyond any doubt that it has been the most fulfilling journey of my life and it is so hard to think of what would be missing from the fullness of my life had an easier path been taken. Regardless, the amazing, though difficult path we are on has been built upon the reactions/goals above.

With those goals in mind we have lived through brilliant times of life and love and have also navigated troubled waters and heartbreaking moments. Life and death. Success and failure. Love and loss. Great decisions and horrible behavior. The moments that forever bless and curse are also the moments upon which all of us build our lives.

I would love to hear from others about the ways in which they find themselves "reacting" to thier parents' in their own marriage. The good ways, the bad ways and the really awkward or funny ways.

It's funny.  I know we are probably going to get into some really vulnerable things in this blog (as much as I would like to keep it light and practical and funny).  I do think it's important, especially for people going through hard times, or for newlyweds who must be going through hard times (or they will be eventually), to know that Blake and Brook have been through some serious serious shpit.  We really aren't the dimply little happy couple who is all innocent and happily ever after.  Because, let's face it, hard times come for everyone, but for people like us with very real pasts, very real expectations, very real issues, and some very real differences, they come hard and fast.  

{This is so crazy to start a blog about such a broad and personal thing as marriage. I hesitate to say it was my idea because I am certain it is far too likely to end in disaster than anything else.  After all, no one can immulate our relationship, and I promise they wouldn't want to anyway.  But, anyone who wants to can judge it once we hit post.  That's crazy.  I mean crazy like two celebrities getting married crazy, or like signing up to be on Jerry Springer, crazy. Crazy like being on a reality tv show, crazy, but even crazier because there is no professional editor sitting behind this screen.  Oh, Jesus, what am I getting myself into...Okay, freak out over.}

No, I think you are right, Blake. We marry each other's mothers and fathers.  Like in communication.  You married my parents fight-to-the-death habits, and I married your parents habit of over-articulating (which I thought meant you thought I was an idiot).    

I think what Brook hits on in her comment above is a great idea for a second post..."Fighting...doing it real, doing it hard and doing in a way that builds rather than destroys" or something like that.

Okay, so we are really doing this.  Airing our dirty laundry, and hoping to help some marriages.  Alrighty then.  Here's our first post.  Ready, set, post...