Saturday, August 13, 2016

Love Your Spouse Challenge

Love-Your-Spouse Challenge

The latest “chain” letter on Facebook was the Love-Your-Spouse Challenge (#LoveYourSpouse) where beaming couples (usually the wife) posted the best-of-the-best photos in celebration of their love and marriage.  Admittedly, I enjoyed looking at the happy pretty faces in their perfect marriage photos.  Nobody tagged or challenged me.  I’m sure it was an innocent oversight (*heh hum*…clearing throat).  Doesn’t really matter.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about Jerry Fuselier (well, and JBJ, too, but Jerry is my real man).  I throw it out there enough.  I would have never remembered or had time to post a new picture every day for seven days anyways! I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to my man.  *Gag*

After it started dying down, I read a blog that was SO relatable (  Building on what she says, marriage is not all blissful photos and happy moments.  The reality of marriage is that it’s a lot of work, fueled by dedication and commitment.  It’s not always sunshine and lollipops.  There are ups and downs, way too many, and hopefully you’re not both down at the same time.  So, I am going to list the top 7 real (or reality-sucks) pieces of our marriage.

7.  Fighting.  Thankfully, we don’t fight much, but when we do, it can be quite grand.  No matter who you live with, you’re going to fight at some point.  Your spouse is no different.  Whether it’s about the kids, chores, money, or who holds the remote, fighting is just part of the whole game.  Fight fair.  If you’ve ever fought with your spouse, congratulations.  You’re real.  If you haven’t, take yourself and your lies and move on.  In the end, we kiss and make-up.
10-years of marriage, 2010

6. Habits. I didn’t marry a perfect person.  Neither did he….although, I think he got pretty close ;)  There are days he flat unnerves me. He loves to play video games, ad naueseum.  I don’t know how he isn’t blind after looking at computer screens for so many hours per day! He sits on the throne until his legs are numb; I’ll never understand. I can’t sit still for too long. He can procrastinate with the best of them. I want everything just-so, right away.  He is Mr. Alternate Route and Over-Researcher (but it works for him).  I am sure I’m always a barrel of monkeys to live with, too. He’ll testify to that fact!  Truth is, I’m used to all the crap I don’t like about him. And, at the end of the day, I am cuddled up next to him in bed, grateful I have somebody to be annoyed with. 
Impromptu kiss, caught by my SIL in CA, 2007

5.  Tag Team.  With differing shifts, sometimes I only see him for minutes a day, if at all.  I give a full nurse-style report, usually accompanied by a list of a few things that need to be done, then hit the door.  Every day is not a picnic, frolicking in wildflowers. Most days revolve around work, taking care of the kids, taking care of the 8 animals in the house, cooking, cleaning, laundry, putting out fires.  Eventually, we re-sync our schedules where we are able to see each other, talk about whatever, and reconnect.  I think the absence makes us each a little fonder, so there’s an upside.
There's a lot of people to care for, so lots of teamwork

4. Baggage.  We each came into the marriage carrying along exes and two children.  Fortunately, only one ex caused undo drama and conflict.  Most of the time, we were on the same page regarding the said exes, but occasionally conflict (see #7) occurred because of the unnecessary pain and frustration of it all.   We are so fortunate now that the majority of those years are over.  Both of our sons (youngest from those first marriages) are 18 and graduated high school.  We only have to see exes occasionally and we are no longer legally bound to them in any way.  Our load is so much lighter. So, troublemakers can go suck on eggs, and we can move on with this new phase of our lives and relationship.
Our new family, 1999


3. Netflix-and-Chill.  No, really.  When you’re this old, this tired, and been married this long, it’s a literal term.  No euphemisms. We have so much going on (see #5) that when we settle down for the evening, we really do watch Netflix (or DVR’d shows) and chill.  It’s part of our treasured “Adult Time”. On select good nights, our Netflix-and-Chill ends with the euphemized Netflix-and-Chill.
Beach Chill time

2.  Bodies.  Oh, we all see the perfect body photos online, and most probably wish they or their spouses looked similar to that “perfect specimen” photos.  Reality is, nobody looks like that, especially me.  Some things are too big; some are too small. Cellulite, stretch marks, and now a C-section scar to boot.  I’m taking stock in L’oreal to cover the gray! I’m quite the specimen.  Fortunately for me, Jerry is either going blind or has the best set of rose-colored glasses ever!  (Wait, see #6. Maybe he has gone blind!) He thinks I’m beautiful. 

Him…he knows his flaws.  I know his flaws.  I don’t have to air them all out.  But I will say, he’s one of the most gaseous creatures I have ever met.  He can make dogs evacuate a room, and they lick their own bums! Sometimes he snores a little and I want to plug his nose. And his dry feet…ugh!  But, I really don’t care. (Granted, he could take his gas to the bathroom and lotion his feet, and I wouldn’t complain).  When I look at him, I see that handsome devil I met and married.  I really don’t see what he’s lost and what he’s gained.  I just see my handsome Jerry.  He’s my Blonde Bear. My Babuh.
My young beau, 1999

My handsome groom, 2000

1.  Diabetes.  You know it had to register, right?  Our perfectly healthy and beautiful Jerry-clone twins (yes, they are little blonde bears who can clear a room, too!) got sick in 2012.  Diabetes has taken a toll on our lives. So much of our time, energy, worry, and MONEY go towards the best Diabetes care for these little boys. It’s all about keeping these guys alive and healthy, because they have SO much to offer in this world.  When Diabetes kicked me down emotionally, Jerry was always right there for me.  Holding me up. Diabetes has knocked us both down at times, but it didn’t knock us out.  Fortunately, we’ve never been down at the same time.  The other has always been up to pick up the slack and extend a hand.
They have the same face ;)
Our little "sweet" winners, June 2016

So, the reality of marriage is that sometimes ... wait…  oftentimes it’s hard.  There are no fairy tales here. Our life is mapped out on plain white copy paper, not glittery card stock. Yet, I am so fortunate, that even after 16 years of marriage, I still really do enjoy and adore this guy.  He is so funny, and I think he literally makes me laugh at something every day.  He is wicked smart… (I am sure he is smarter than me, but I’ll never admit that to his face).  He’s there to talk me off the ledge when life is getting me down. He’s there to privately call me out when I am not being cool.  Jerry is SO super-fabulous about letting me be myself and encouraging me when I want to try something new.  New job; back to school; write a book…he says “Go for it!”  When I need to take off just for respite and to be around females, he holds down the fort.  When I Runaway to see JBJ, he doesn’t care.  He knows I am coming home to him! Happy wife, happy life.  My favorite part of the day is my “adult time” every night when it’s just me and him.  We relax, talk, watch TV, and hold hands. 
Happy 40th birthday kiss

Despite fighting, bad habits, baggage, weird body stuff, and Diabetes, most days are good. Even on the days I want to slap the tar out of him, I cannot imagine my life without him.  All the work I put into myself, my family, my marriage is born out of devotion to him, commitment to our marriage, and sheer determination not to fail again. This marriage, and all the drama and work that it entails, is a choice I make every day.  We’re working towards a common goal:   Happy, healthy, independent children so we can be happy empty-nesters. 
Can and can't wait to grow them all up and see what they become!

In so many ways, he's the male form of me.  We're Thick As Thieves ( Thick as Thieves ). I love you, Jerry Fuselier (Yes, you’re kind of a big deal, so you don’t have to say it!).  
Our latest photo, 17 years in!

#LoveYourSpouse Challenge.