The One with the Lessons

Let's not be shy here, Kip and I are officially experts at this marriage thing. We've lasted 6 whole months without threatening to divorce one another. Woohoo! We'll take our award now.

I guess that's not how it really works.

Shock alert to you engaged couples: marriage is hard! People said it would be and they told me the same thing I'm telling you now. But I obviously never had any idea what they meant until our honeymoon when we fought every day.

I yelled at him for taking too many pictures. He yelled at me for yelling about something so dumb. You know, the usual. Ok that all sounds way worse than it was. But to be honest, those silly stupid ridiculous why-am-I-even-mad-about-this fights happen often! It's not the end of the world though, and there's so many great things about every day married life that I just had to share the positivity to get you through some of the bad.

Will you fight? Absolutely. But you'll still wake up every day married, and that's better than anything else I can think of right now.

Step in to my I've-been-married-for-6-months-so-I-know-everything office.


Lesson 01

Split the housework.


I'm not a good cook. And Kip knew this before marriage (side note: air out all your secrets before you stick that ring on your finger). But that's okay because today while he's cooking and I'm perusing my phone, he knows tomorrow I'll be doing laundry while he peruses his phone. Our marriage is all about balance. I don't trust Kip to do the laundry and he doesn't trust me to put food in his belly. So we'll split it! I'll dust. You vacuum. I'll clean the toilets. You take out the trash. We both have our thing and it's kept us from wanting to kill each other when housework piles up.

Don't get me wrong: Sometimes he doesn't want to cook so I do it. Sometimes I don't want to do laundry so he does it. There's no hard and fast rule. I'm sure you know all of this already, but dang sometimes I watch him make dinner and think, wow I appreciate you.


Lesson 02

Spend time apart.


During one of my bridal showers every guest went around the room and gave some words of wisdom for the bride-to-be. The only one I remember (sorry everyone else!) was, "It's okay to spend time apart and have hobbies that are different. The more you develop your own interests, the more interesting you'll be to the other person." 

Wow! Talk about one of those aha moments. I love (or am learning to love) running and Kip doesn't. He loves golf and I don't. That's okay. Spending time apart is good to re-energize yourself, feel passionate about something, talk about it together, and appreciate the other person for the fire they found within themselves.

Don't get me wrong: We love to do things together, too! Sometimes Kip will run with me at the gym and sometimes I'll golf with him and his family. Just because we don't necessarily love the other's hobby doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't go out of our comfort zone to show we care.


Lesson 03

Commit to your commitments.


Probably 6-ish years ago I was really bad at committing to things. I'd make plans with someone weeks in advance only to cancel an hour before. Until one time my brother called me out on it. I wish I had the text still but it said something like, "You can't keep backing out on people, Brandi. They're going to start noticing and eventually you won't have anyone to make plans with in the first place."

That hit me hard. And it's thankfully carried over into our marriage!

Kip and I (especially I) rely heavily on our phone calendar to sync up on plans and truly commit to every detail. Kip used to be bad about never making plans because the commitment was scary. But that's no way to show friends you care. We both had our faults in the plan-making department.

Recently, two of our friends had a holiday party and sleepover on the same night in towns separated hours apart. Because Kip and I had committed to a party in Lincoln, I had to turn down the sleepover in Columbus. Neither plan was better than the other! We just made a commitment and were determined to stick to it, together.

And someone noticed! Two of our other friends commented on the fact that I missed the sleepover and told us how they've noticed Kip and I commit to our plans and how admirable it is. Yay! It's not about the recognition, but that was definitely a good turnaround from the text I received 6 years prior.

Don't get me wrong: Sometimes you have to back out because life happens. In May our friends were getting engaged and we planned a huge party together but Kip's grandma passed away the day before. This caused us to back out on our plans to photograph the proposal and drive 8 hours across the state for the funeral. Again, there's no hard and fast rule. We evaluated our priorities and decided as much as we love our friends, family needed us. And that came first.


I'll stop there with my lessons. Obviously we all have our things that work for us and sound crazy to others. I'm no expert, but I think these three are our biggest lessons in marriage so far.

Check back with me in 6 months and I'll let you know if we've threatened divorce in our last why-are-we-fighting-about-this moment.

Brandi Arnold