My husband Chad and I are coming up on seven years together, and one year married.
Throughout this time, we’ve gone through a lot—hurdles, successes, and nearly every milestone that comes up in a young relationship’s highs and lows. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. This growth has come independently and as a couple, and likely won’t stop anytime soon.
I hope to explore “married musings,” to sort through these experiences, and whatever lessons pop up along the way.
To start, one thing has stood out as a factor to a working marriage, at least for us: it’s important to have pieces of your identity that remain your own.
When I was 16, my softball team went to the state tournament. This, to say the least, was a big deal. It was the first time Gunnison High School softball returned to the ‘ship in many years (they haven’t been back since), and it was made even sweeter by our status as an underdog team. We were fresh faces, filled with hope and just barely learning how to win.
I was very connected to this underdog reputation. My best friend was the starting pitcher, and moved away that summer. In addition to being sad and lonely, I was also thrown into another large-scale change: my coach moved me from my shortstop position and into the pitcher’s circle. I was it. I went from third-string pitcher to first, and didn’t have a lot of time to deal with it. I just had to adjust.
Every win that season had a lasting impact. I was trading insecurity with confidence, even though it felt like my off-speed spin pitches could barely compete with other pitchers in the league spitting out fast balls at 60 mph. My teammates were supportive and talented and made every day fun and exciting, even in the throws of puberty, high school, and teenage angst.
Our state tournament game was reflective of our incredible season. We were neck-and-neck with our opponent, though the obvious team with more to lose. My team played their hearts out, making outstanding plays and holding each other up throughout the seven innings. Personally, this was one of my best games of all time. I walked off the field with climactic strikeouts and a base hit after each battle at the plate. We won, landing an epic victory for each of us.
After the game, I looked at my phone and noticed a text from a boy. He congratulated me on my great game. Apparently he had been listening to it on the radio, and was cheering me on, along with all of our ups and downs.
Spoiler: that’s the guy I married.
This day is one of the highlights of my life. We ended up losing the next game, but I’ll never forget that high.
People love to look back at the early moments of their relationship and recognize pivotal moments; he was there for me, that’s when I knew he was the one, etc. And while it’s nice that Chad made an appearance, this isn’t a favorite memory because Chad was involved too. I mean, his support was especially gushy and heartwarming at the time, and definitely made me feel cared for and special. But now, those details are ones I have to dig for.
It’s a memory that’s mostly my own, with a spritz of Chad. And those are things that we all need to have a healthy relationship: experiences and accomplishments that are all your own, with a dash of support on the side.
Shared experiences are undoubtedly important and essential. I love having them with my husband, and they make up most of our history as a couple. But don’t forget about you. Don’t forget that you are allowed to have things that you create, go after, or decide on your own time. Your partner, while always delicious, is allowed to be just the cherry on top, and not always the filling.
Don’t lose yourself. Regardless of what pop songs or cheery platitudes say, the best part of you isn’t your partner—it’s you. It’s your history, present, and future. It’s your own cunning and bravery and wit. It’s your love, compassion, and drive. It’s the traits that you are most proud of, that you bring to the table.
Continue to encourage each other to be the best versions of yourselves as a team and as an individual, without losing your one-of-a-kind spark.
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