The biggest mistakes one can make before they decide to marry someone is that you think you can change them. There are warning signs that things aren’t quite right, awkward situations that make you uneasy; addictions to certain things, and yet, many choose to ignore these signs for one reason or another: they’re in love, their biological clock is ticking, or they think that they can change that person. They talk themselves into contuing with the engagement and make a decision to ignore these warning signs, and can assume they will be able to “fix them”.
The popular band Coldplay sings:“High up above or down below. When you’re too in love to let it go.If you never try you’ll never know Just what you’re worth. Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you”
Two days after my parent’s first wedding anniversary, I was born in a cold January evening in 1983 at Lenox Hill Hospital, on the upper east side of New York City.
158 miles North, in a small town of Rhode Island, an 11yr old boy was in his pajamas, probably watching Little House on the Prarie with his twin sister and younger sister by his side, getting ready for bed. Little did anyone know that this little boy and this newborn girl would grow up to fall madly in love and get married to that little boy.
My husband and I were brought up very differently, with different backgrounds and different family lives, and at 11 years apart, we were brought up in different times. He is Generation X and I am Generation Y.
I grew up on the Upper East Side of NYC- one of the most weathly areas of NYC, if not THE most richest of the island of Manhattan.
Here’s my appartment- one of the tiny ones in the middle. Despite living in one of the most prominent sections of the city, we were essentially dirt poor. Our 400 sq ft alcove studio apartment was on rent control and my father had it from the late 70’s. It was perfect for a single guy. What it wasn’t perfect was the growing family he and my mom created- by the time we moved to Rhode Island in 1995, there were six of us living in this tiny appartment. Despite living in this small space, I had a wonderful childhood. At age ten, I was taking the bus alone cross town to dance class- without a cell phone or any way to reach me, I’d be gone all day. This was normal. Kids grow up faster in the city. I learned to make my own spending money babysitting. I gained more independence sooner and was witness to all the good and bad that the city has to offer. I’ve been yelled at by mentally insane homeless people. I’ve been followed by and cat called by weird men… as early as the age of 8. I learned to watch my back. It made me tough. It made me street smart. I don’t regret my interesting childhood one bit.
By the time I moved to Rhode Island at the age of 12, my husband had lived an entire life of his own. He was finishing his first year being a RI State Trooper, he had completed four years of college and I assume he had experienced his first kiss, drink and heartache by this point. I was still a kid, who had experienced none of this.
Fast forward to 2007 which was the year I met my husband for the first time on a blind date. Luckily with my husband, I didn’t have to try to talk myself into anything. Unlike Coldplay, I didn’t feel like I needed to fix anything. I knew I wanted to be with him and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he was the one for me. No second guesses here. (At least on my end… you’ll have to ask him his thought process through out our engagement haha)
Yet, you really never stop trying to “fix” that other person, even if it’s subconscious. I was 24 when I met my future husband. He was 36. I was a recent college graduate and he had already lived a longer and much more enriched life than I had… experiencing things I hadn’t had the chance to yet. There are times when he looks at me in pure astonishment and says “you really don’t know what that is?” No, dear husband, I wasn’t even born yet. There are other times I will use current lingo and I can tell by the expression on his face that he has no idea what I’m talking about. I remember telling him a story that included me saying that someone got all “butthurt” over something and he looked at me like I was an alien. (If you’re interested in what it means, click the link).
Everyone has baggage that they bring into a new relationship. He certainly wasn’t perfect, and neither was I. A lot had happened to both of us between 1995 and 2007. I knew he was the right person for me one night, early on in the relationship. We decided to be truthful and tell each other about our past experiences in life; both very different, yet pretty serious. We started off on the right foot: a clean slate, and we gave each other the chance to get out of there if one of us weren’t comfortable.
We both chose to stay.
The crux of our relationship is that for better or worse, we’ve always been honest with each other about everything important. There are very few things that we give each other a break on and don’t press the issue. When he tells me he had one single beer at happy hour after work, I silently laugh inside, knowing this is probably not 100% true. But I don’t care. When I come home on a weekly basis with a new ding in my car, he doesn’t press the issue when I explain how exactly it happened. “Babe, all happened so fast, the details are confusing- the car is still drivable and I’m ok… ” I can tell as he rolls his eyes he knows that we both know we are telling half truths, however, we know that the other one well enough to know we are ok accepting these answers.
As our wedding date approached, one piece of baggage I carried with me was the importance of him wearing his wedding ring. He works in construction now and I was ok with him taking it off for work for safety reasons. In my mind, that thing should be put inside his cup holder of his truck and immediately put back on after. My father never wore his ring and it seemed like a huge slap in the face to my mother. A sign of disrespect. I guess, in retrospect, this was clearly a “daddy issue” I need to deal with. He started off wearing it, but within weeks, it was off. It bothered me. It hurt me. Didn’t he care enough about me to show his loyalty to me to strangers while out that he had devoted himself to the love of his life? I tried to fix him. Badgering him to put it in, day in and day out.
Personally, I enjoy wearing my ring. For one, it’s gorgeous and I am absolutely in love with wearing thousands of dollars of sparkly diamonds on my hand. If you know me, I’m outgoing and a TALKER. I’ve also found it more comfortable talking to people of the opposite sex. I’d go to the bar, or most recently the gym, and have no issue striking up a conversation with a guy. The ring speaks for itself: I’m taken. This conversation is purely friendly and I’m not hitting on you. It’s a safety net for me.
It wasn’t until recently, four years until my marriage that I realized that I was never going to fix him. After multiple conversations, he explained he would rather get a tattoo on his ring finger than wear a ring. He is not a jewelry guy and doesn’t have any tattoos. He didn’t feel comfortable wearing it, and it just wasn’t who he is. He said this in the kindest way possible and it finally clicked with me. He wasn’t intentially being disrespectful- it just wasn’t who he was. It wasn’t safe for work and he didn’t want to lose it,and felt uncomfortable wearing it. He reminded me that he respected me and our marriage and admitted that when he was out at Happy Hour, he mostly discussed our family with his friends.
I finally got it. I trust him and finally stopped taking it so personaly. I stopped trying to fix him. I trust him and I realized that ring or no ring, we are a team… and we always will be.
And that’s enough for me.
PS. 10yr Anniversary date at the tattoo parlor is set 😏