Winona Forever

“And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how
Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall.”

-Oasis

My husband and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, and I feel like we’re closer than ever. From the outside it may look like marriage comes easily to us, perhaps because we’re lucky, or soulmates, or don’t have kids. But the reality is that we’ve faced a lot of obstacles as a couple, and we’ve had to work really hard to come together when adversity threatened to split us.

When we started dating, it quickly became clear to us that we were meant to be. The love between us grew effortlessly, but getting from “in love” to “married” was an uphill battle. My husband’s parents refused to accept me and actively tried to sabotage our relationship. My family was supportive but couldn’t afford to contribute much to our wedding, so we decided to elope at SF City Hall. My husband hasn’t spoken with his family since.

It’s only been six years, but together we’ve experienced many highs and lows, from losing our apartment to buying our first home, from suffering grave illness to transforming our diets, from grieving the loss of loved ones to raising a puppy.

Sometimes we navigated these moments with grace; other times we fought our way through them. Our love has remained constant, but love alone is not enough to keep a marriage together. I think my husband and I have what it takes to stay together forever, but that is because I believe in our commitment to do the work. Every relationship will have their own issues that require work, but there are some universal principles that comprise the core of our lasting marriage:

Generosity- A great relationship is fed by frequent acts of kindness, affection, and sharing that are offered without agenda and without prompting. Practice makes perfect, so even if you have to set reminders for yourself, try to find opportunities for generosity every day.

Exclusivity- Your marriage should be the only relationship that is intimate physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your relationship with your spouse takes precedence over all other relationships, including your friends and family, and no one else should know more about you than your spouse.

Honesty- Trust is the most important commodity in your partnership and you must guard it with your life. This means an unwavering commitment to be honest with each other and yourself. Once trust is lost, it is hard for even the strongest relationship to recover.

Partnership- You are equal partners and therefore must make all important life decisions as a team. You must always consider what is for the greater good of the relationship and not just for yourself. When you get married, you are sacrificing the freedom to live autonomously so that you can enjoy the benefits of a shared life.

Personal Growth- There is no perfect man, and there will always be things you find annoying about your spouse. When you feel upset by your partner’s behavior it’s often because it’s triggering something inside of you that is wounded or unresolved. It takes two to tango, and it also takes two to change a pattern of conflict in a relationship. You cannot force your partner to change, but you can be the change you wish to see in him.

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