Andy is a tricky nut to crack. I often describe him as a deer. The best approach is "no sudden movements". If you move in slowly, munching on the grass as you work your way towards him, then he is peachy with your presence. But if you trample towards him BAM he's off like lightening! The problem is - my brain tramples. It doesn't move slowly and quietly. It is like 'Hey what if....?' and then there is no slow down filter between it and my mouth and then Andy is running scared, so to speak.
Here's what I am talking about. So his semester just started....like as in this is the second week of classes. So any normal wife/significant other would chill the fuck out and not start thinking about things that might take place 9 months from now. But is that what Natalie does? Nope.
The program Andy is in highly recommends doing an internship. Unfortunately unlike my internship, his is sort of an out-of-the-country kind of deal....you know being International Affairs and what not. What? That takes place not in America? you don't say. Although Andy has said he would like his area of focus to be America and how he could work at the American embassy in America. 'You're having issues with your passport, no problem, you're already home. Voila!'. Easiest job in the world.
Anyhoodles. As you may have figured I am a
Anyway, after his first day of classes....hey at least I waited until the first day of classes...I started asking him about summer internship opportunities - were there any of interest, etc. Wouldn't it be cool to get the CIA internship because those are formatted to turn into being hired by the CIA after you graduate. Blah Blah Blah. I can hear myself and I am sitting in the back of my head yelling hey! calm the hell down crazy pants! But do I stop? Nope. Anyway I really am trying to not annoy the hell out of my husband these days.
Marriage is hard y'all. But I'm working at it....hell I will be working at it until I am dead, but in reality it isn't that hard. I mean on a scale of one to ten I would say it is like a 4.27. Not bad right? Lately I have been wondering what would happen if Andy and I had not gotten married.....don't get the wrong idea about this statement...the reason it has come to mind is that Bret is engaged (Hi Bret! if you are reading this!). Now I don't want to go too into all that has transpired over the past 6 months, but to give you a quick breakdown basically between the time when Bret was out here for Jack's birth and when she came back out in July for a friend's wedding: she changed jobs, moved, started dating and got engaged to a fella. They had been dating for two months prior to becoming engaged.
As one might imagine, I was more than a little like: blink.....blink.....WTF?.....blink.....blink. True to form, I attempted to give Bret advice, caution her, etc. She listened, responded to my concerns, and then went on her merry way. The good news is her time frame did slow down a bit. The original thought was they would get hitched in October and now it is looking like next summer. That has definitely helped me get through the initial shock. My intent is not to belabor timeframe but rather to talk about how my point of view has changed. When she first told me about her engagement I just couldn't fathom a marriage happening without a strong relationship "foundation" of sorts. I have seen my fair share of short-term relationships turned marriage - military....nuff said there - and the majority of them have imploded. In my observation the relationships that have had success have been those where the couple has spent a lot of time together. So that was where I was coming from.
But when I started thinking about myself 8 years ago, at the mature age of 20 years old (thick with sarcasm), I started wondering 'did I really know what I was getting into?'. And the answer is - no, not really. I knew who I was getting into it with, but I didn't know what was coming. I had spent 4 years with Andy before we tied the knot. Meaning, I was 17 years old when I chose my life partner. At first glance I would say in terms of knowing what you're doing, Bret ranks much higher on that scale at 27 than I did at 17. So basically what all this is getting at is.....I have come to a place of acceptance. Acceptance that this is her life, she will make the choices that are right for her. Life and relationships don't fit into this little box of "how things should work".
Where am I going with all this?......um I can't really remember....oh right, basically after a lot of thought I have come to the conclusion that I am very lucky. I would say the odds were stacked against Andy and myself - around 99 to 1 as a rough estimate. I honestly don't know why it has worked or how it has worked. I guess the only thing I can say is that we knew getting into it that we had a LOT of growing up to do and we chose to do that together. We've come to points in our life that have been extremely hard. If we had chose a different way to deal with them we would have gone different ways.
Basically our tactic to a "successful" marriage (however that is officially defined) is what I will thus dub the "Rubberband Tactic". Rubberbands are flexible right? Thus allowing growth, change, etc. But there are limits to a rubberband. You can't just stretch it as far as you want or it will break. Therefore the Rubberband Tactic means you realize the stretchy limit of your relationship and when it gets close to that point, you make the effort to come back together.
Dang sometimes I am like Socrates. My brains are so big and developed and shit. So there you have it, two marital tactics in one post the "Deer Tactic" and the "Rubberband Tactic". Maybe I should write a marriage book.....yeah that is a bad idea.