Friday, August 10, 2012
10 Years of Married Happiness...How Fast A Decade Goes By
I'm feeling really blessed like Jill Scott today as I have reached Year 10 of my marriage to the former Nkechi N. Okoro. Ten years means alot to me, and I see it as a milestone because it is half as long as my parents were married. It makes me reflective about what has worked so far and what I need to continue working on. I'm only riding the marriage coaster once, so I plan to do everything I possibly can to maximize the experience.
At ten years, with two kids, and living in a house with an actual picket fence, I feel like we have achieved many of the goals that couples set for themselves when they come off the euphoria of the wedding and honeymoon. The Mrs. and I are now into what I call the Foundation Years where we are building our family and looking to cement our brand so that we are maximizing the return on our labor. When we reach the empty nest Legacy Years post-retirement, we'll have solace in knowing that we have left something for the next generation of Carrolls. In arriving at this point, I feel like the eighth grader who has graduated and is now about to start high school. I'm more concerned with how I can learn from the upperclassmen, then what I can tell a sixth grader about surviving middle school.
I often silently observe married couples whom I respect, and try to distill which qualities I think most help their marriage. Through those observations I have realized that discipline, patience, and efficiency are the qualities that I need to continue to develop because they make me a better father, husband, and professional. Here's why:
- Discipline is necessary to make sure that when I plan to do something, I execute the plan. My disposable time is not as abundant as it used to be, so in order to achieve my goals and maintain the life balance I want, work time has to be just that so that I can play when the opportunity arises.
- Patience allows me to be a better father because it enables me to take the time to teach my sons the lessons they need to learn. It helps me be a better husband because I don't take it personal when I can't have as much of the Mrs. undivided attention as I once got. Patience keeps me from being selfish. The minute you start to feel like you're entitled to be selfish in a marriage, the foundation starts to crumble.
- Efficiency is making sure that my efforts are focused. If it's time to write, then I've got to put the focus there, and not split time writing and Facebooking/Tweeting/Instagramming, etc. The same is true for spending time with the kids. I'm a Iphone addict, and I'm trying to recover. Time with the kids and Mrs is just that, and in order to enjoy it fully I can't be distracted
The beauty of marriage is that it's the partnership that allows you to see the things about yourself that you want to improve because the growth is for the good of the union. The self-work that I do allows me to be a better captain of the ship, and the better I captain the ship, the less chance there is for a Titanic vs. Iceberg moment, or in my case, the Mrs. running off with 50 Cent, or some other Hollywood leading man.
One of the things I'm most excited about for this anniversary weekend is the chance to celebrate with many key members of our support network and express to them how much they have meant to us. Marriage peers and mentors are instrumental in making it last, and we have a number of role models who have taken us under their wing, and have given us a roadmap of what the road looks like ahead. At the same time, our peers have been able to share in the successes and prop us up in the seasons of struggle. While ten years is good, there is much more marriage ahead that I'm looking forward to. There is not a day that I don't think I've got the best partner I possibly could have riding shotgun with me. Love you Nkechi.