I came across an interesting quote a few weeks ago and it crossed my path again this weekend, on Valentine’s Day as a matter of fact. “You will be married 7 times in your lifetime…hopefully to the same person”. When I first found this quote…or as I like to think, it found me, my mind shifted and I began to see my marriage differently. All of a sudden, things just made sense. It also reminded me of some wise words bestowed on yours truly by my grandmother Leah. My grandparents had been married over 50 years so I asked her one evening what was the secret to a long and happy marriage. “Never fall out of love with each other at the same time – that’s the secret”. Words I have cradled and held tight ever since.
Everyday at the Salon I meet or chat with a woman who thinks her marriage is falling apart. Seriously. Everyday. Most of these confessions happen as she is looking at hair color swatches. She thinks her husband has lost interest in her. She thinks he is having an affair. She thinks he thinks she isn’t as pretty as she once was. She thinks they have nothing in common anymore. She has noticed that things are just…different. Another constant – she has never discussed any of these thoughts or feelings with her husband and has usually drawn her own conclusions and has played out the divorce court proceedings in her head. Ladies, for the love of all that is good and holy, take a breath. Take another. Yes, your hubby may have changed…guess what? You have as well. Think about it. Look back at how you saw the world 10 years ago, how you dressed, how you viewed yourself. See? You’re different. You are still you, the same person, you’ve just… evolved, and that’s okay.
I am 42 years old and I have been married 20 years. I have known my husband longer than I haven’t known him. Looking back, I realize how much the above quote and my grandmother’s beautiful words ring true – I am sure due in part to my forties and getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy). Over the past 20 years I became a mother. I have lost loved ones dear to my heart. I have been witness to loved ones losing a parent. I have had health issues and scares. I have witnessed health scares and issues of my loved ones. I have been a stay at home mom. I have been a working mom. I have had financial difficulties -some my own fault, some the fault of others. I have had short hair, red hair, brown hair, permed hair – you name it – I’ve done it. Experiences and life changed me, changed my views and my perspectives. Over the past 20 years, I have been many women – always myself – yet depending on the situation at hand, a selected version of myself. I have also been that woman standing in a Salon, staring down at the color swatch book, believing that the right hair color choice would end the search for answers to the never ending stream of questions about her marriage running through her mind.
I am not a hair stylist. I am not a marriage counselor nor am I a therapist. What I am is a woman who has been married over 20 years and is not afraid to talk about those things that people don’t talk about at parties. I am a woman who doubted herself so much that the doubt began to seep into all aspects of her life – her marriage, her parenting, her career, her abilities…you name it – I doubted it. I was afraid of the hard conversations. I was afraid to ask my husband certain questions for fear of his answer. I also was unhappy – with myself – it was easier to blame my marriage, my job, my stylist for giving me the wrong cut, the scale for being broken…you get the picture. In my experience, the majority of doubts of my marriage were of my own making. Yes, gentlemen, you can get up…a woman has admitted her fault…lets move on, shall we? Looking back, many of my doubts were not mine, but the doubts of others. All day long I heard negative after negative about men and marriage and I began to let all those negatives reside rent free in my mind and then the moment an action matched a negative, all hell broke loose…proof it’s love. I am sure there were moments my husband was waiting for my head to spin around.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, for some. For me, I try to make it everyday. A stolen kiss in the kitchen while my daughter is watching T.V., saying I love you and meaning it with each goodbye every morning and kiss goodnight, giving space or a helping hand when it’s needed. Remembering that when my husband is quiet, maybe he is just quiet. Remembering not to take everything personally and reminding myself it’s not all about me…still a toughie, but I am working on it. Ironing the bed sheets for a comfy slumber (yes, I iron my sheets. It takes 20 minutes out of my week and it feels divine and makes the love of my life happy). Remembering that although we may not agree or like each other’s behavior, we still love each other. Remembering that having separate lives (work, friends, etc…) and separate interests does not mean we are separate – it actually brings us closer together, and always remembering that although the road may get bumpy and words may get ugly and life will tirelessly try to get in the way, love is always waiting for us, if we take the time to find it once more.