Today I’m sharing a 40-something guest post from a woman who shares “what she knows now about marriage.” I first discovered Tammy Renzi through her insightful comments on this blog, particulary about relationships. I found it refreshing that she and her husband write a blog together. Upon further reading I quickly discovered that they have a pretty special approach to their marriage. They truly live the idea that you need to put your relationship first. Here is her story about her lessons learned and how she and her husband transformed their marriage so it worked for them.
We met at work. In fact, we had the same position and attended many of the same meetings and happy hours. At these gatherings, I wasn’t interested in being my coworker Diana’s sidekick. She had a penchant for hooking up with married men, so many-a-Friday I found myself scanning the crowd for CJ. Beers in hand, we chatted and laughed and chatted. The topics escape me, but I remember walking away from every conversation feeling like I grew in some way. After 15 years of marriage, I still feel that way.
Knowing He is The One
What do I remember from those early days? The kiss in the rain. The handwritten notes in my mailbox at work. The corny things we said in the heat of the moment. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away. Yes, that was actually said. No, it was me. Yes, he still brings it up.
It did not take me long to realize he was the one. Why? He was someone who stimulated me above the neck – below as well, but that’s another post entirely.
Perhaps it was the fact that we worked together. I noticed the equanimity with which he handled difficult people and situations. He generated solutions to problems and made his point in a gentle way absent of the bravado I was used to when encountering the male species. At our social gatherings aka Happy Hours and house parties, I took note. He loves fun and laughter. He loves beer.
I Do Doesn’t Mean You’re Done
In retrospect, we made a huge mistake – not in getting married or moving to a new place where we relied heavily on each other, but in diving into the rat race. Less than a year after we were married, we moved from New York to Houston for new jobs. I started a new career. Eager to make myself look like a good person, a good worker, I stayed late and later and later. My work weeks spilled over into the weekend. On Fridays, we ate all things beefy and cheesy at our favorite Mexican restaurant and passed out by 9pm. Saturdays were filled with random errands and strolls around Peer 1. On Sundays, I worked.
We didn’t even realize we were on the hamster wheel. Work-consume-work more-consume more. Our waistlines expanded, our sex life died, and while we loved each other with all our hearts, it wasn’t enough.
Conversation and Stimulation
It took us more than ten years of marriage to put the kibosh on the fast track to Mediocre Marriageville. We wanted to be together every day as much as possible. After many conversations and overcoming our illusions of safety, we left our jobs and started our own businesses together. Our sporadic exercise became daily three mile, four mile, and eventually five mile walks. Not wanting to thwart our efforts, we met in cafes to discuss and plan a dietary overhaul. I no longer cringed when he hugged me around the waist while I was washing dishes.
We started reading the same books and discussing them. The genre didn’t matter. We could apply the lessons of Bob and Mel Blanchard’s Live What You Love as well as learn and grow from our analysis of The Picture of Dorian Gray. If a difficult situation arose in our lives, we might joke, How would Lord Henry handle this?
If one of us finds a particularly poignant quote, we share it with the other. Don’t settle. You’re either living or you’re dying. While these maxims might seem dramatic, we use them to guide our daily decisions.
We don’t save our conversations for date night or some arbitrary date in the future. Someday became every day. Every day we make the time to exercise, laugh, and talk together. These are the things we want to do. It is a choice. We choose growth. We choose love.
About the Author:
Tammy Renzi is a 40something who transformed her life and marriage. She and her husband blog about how they choose to live a life they love every day.