This past Saturday morning I was going to “Shabbat Yoga” with the fabulous Other E. (Okay, fine, it was a CorePower class, but let’s not get technical.) Class started at 10am and while I’d never been to the class before I knew that the studio locked the doors right when class starts. While the E’s were to be busy getting buff in class the Misters were going to go get breakfast and talk of man things. It was all planned out.
Except . . .
There’s a ton of construction going on around here and it’s not so easy to navigate from point A to point B. While we left at 933am giving us plenty of time for what should have been a 10 minute trip, G-d was not on our side that morning. We didn’t put the address in the nav. I assumed Husband knew where he was going. He did not. Then a truck died in the middle of a 1-way bridge that should have been detouring us to the street we needed to be on to get to our destination. Absurdness. Tension ran high in the truck and at 10:03 I tugged on the studio door to confirm that they do indeed lock their doors. Just like the website says.
What’s this have to do with marriage?
Everything. It’s all about navigation, especially in the beginning. I’m starting to realize why “they” say that the first year of marriage is the most difficult. What with new families, new traditions, newness all around – it’s a wonder anyone makes it out alive! Well, at least some days. Its exhausting, hard work – and we’ve only been at it since September!
In many ways we have it a bit easier than some. We both come from families that place value on the same things: family, love, honesty, education, etc. We don’t need to have a conversation about whose family will host Christmas dinner, and we don’t need to discuss at whose house the Sukkah is going to be built. So at least I don’t need to explain to my husband why I talk to my mom at least once a week. He gets it – he even encourages it.
At least for now we get to avoid the holiday shuffle, rotating Christmases and Thanksgivings between NH and MN. For now it’s simple. Christian holidays with my family and Jewish holidays with Husband’s family as much as time/the Army allows. My family is very involved and quite supportive and so eventually I could see my mom offering to build a Sukkah, host a Hanukkah party or perhaps even break fast after Yom Kippur. (After all, she did text to see when that holiday fell so she could fast with us). While I don’t imagine my in-laws to be comfortable having Christmas stockings I have no doubt they would join us for Christmas dinner and they would love nothing more than to include my parents/family at their Seder table.
Of course we come from different families with different backgrounds that have different expectations of marriage/relationships. Is arguing normal? Is it something we want in our relationship? How would we prefer to handle conflict? Just because we grew up with a particular style doesn’t mean we must do that ourselves. It’s taken a few months for each of us to realize that.
Saturday morning I expected Husband to put the address of the Yoga studio in the Nav if he didn’t know where it was. Husband had expected me to have directions.
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Ops.
Prior to this, we discovered many differences in expectations when planning our wedding. Husband frequently suffers from “it’s the right thing to do-itis” and I frequently suffer from “I don’t give a damn-itis” which did not make for pleasant conversations. We figured it out gradually. We learned to choose our battles and to choose our words even more carefully. In the end, our wedding was beautiful. It was a combination of what we wanted, what was expected, and what fit in the budget.
Like any newly married couple, we are building our life together and we’re creating our own traditions. Our own melting pot of past experiences, celebrations, expectations, trials and errors. Together we’re figuring out what observations we’re comfortable embracing, slowly, gradually braiding our stories together. Much like the bread I’ve tried to make, so many times, we’re tweaking our own recipe – now that we have the basics down.
Like navigating to a yoga studio when every road is under construction – it sometimes looks ugly. Defiantly takes patience, love, communication and genuine commitment – otherwise you’re not gonna get there. While I didn’t make it to yoga on Saturday, there will be other classes. Other places to get to and lessons learned along the way.
Together we’re twisting and weaving our histories into our future.
What things have you had to navigate through in your marriage? Any tips or tricks to share?