Nobody ever said that marriage was easy. In fact, I was given that speech many times after Matt and I announced our engagement. A lot of our family and friends thought we were insanely under prepared for marriage and what it meant.
And we were.
Marriage, like any relationship, takes work…and a lot of it. You have to constantly keep an open mind and be aware of your partner and their needs, as well as learn how to effectively communicate your needs.
Probably the most accurate metaphor I’ve ever heard comes from the theme of a children’s book. We all carry around invisible buckets; when they’re empty, we’re sad and when they’re full, they we’re happy.
Work and other stressors can empty that bucket quickly, and it’s up to you to fill it again. Positive actions, positive words, and simply noticing and anticipating your partners needs is a sure fire way to fill that bucket.
Before you start thinking “why do I have to fill his/her bucket? We’re all responsible for our own happiness!”, I have to stop you.
Yes, we are all responsible for our own happiness, but you really should care about your partner’s happiness, since it’s tied with yours.
A thousand small positive actions outweigh a couple big positive actions, especially if those big actions come far and few in between. It can literally be as simple as preparing dinner for your partner when they’re indisposed with kids or projects.
You don’t have to take them on helicopter rides to exotic places or buy them glittering diamonds. It’s about noticing them, and letting them know you notice them in quiet ways.
I can understand how frustrating it is to feel as if your bucket isn’t getting filled. I’ve been there, and it hurts. But that’s when you must speak up about how you’re feeling, because marriages fail when there’s no communication, and people are not mind readers. We can’t notice everything and there are times when I’ve failed there, too; when I haven’t noticed something was bothering my husband.
There have been times when I’ve failed to fill his bucket when he needs it, too.
But marriage is also about forgiving those missteps, because everyone takes them. Nobody’s perfect all the time.
We’re coming up on eight years of marriage later this month. These past eight years have had their share of ups and downs, but there’s nobody else I’d rather struggle and triumph with than this man. He has given me two of the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for, and he works so damn hard to provide for us, to fill my bucket. To make sure I’m happy, and I try to do the same for him.
So, to summarize: fill each-other’s buckets, okay? ❤️