The Truth about Marriage - guest post by @JaymeCinDallas

Kicking off After the Broom week is JaymeC. Jayme is our resident family psychologist and moral conscience. In addition to having more degrees that I can keep up with and being an all around good friend, Dr. Jayme is speeding towards her 20th year of marriage (a good one at that). So with that in mind: Respect, learn, share.

One of the things I find alternately fascinating and frustrating about society today is that there is so much emphasis placed on finding The One, catching The One, and having a perfect wedding with The One. I hate to say this (but I must) - as hard and trying as it is to find The One - multiply it twentyfold and it's that much harder to be married to The One.

Things that are sexy while dating can wear thin when you are also arguing about why the trash hasn't been taken out and whose turn it was to pick up the orange juice. 

The truth about marriage? It's hard work if you're doing it right. Marriage is a fluid, living thing. It must be feed, nurtured, allowed to breathe and change. It ebbs and flows and sometimes neither party in the marriage has a clue of where you are along the journey.

I have a system with Mr. C. When something feels a little "off" between us, I ask "Hot or cold today?" He answers honestly. If he's not feeling me, it's chilly. If everything's fine, it's room temperature. If we're all good, it's tropical. If we're room temperature or below, we schedule a time to get out of the house (away from the kids, the TV, the internet) and have a talk about it. Too many lukewarm days are (as Chele says) "no bueno." He does the same with me. Neither of us are mind readers. Pursed lips over coffee and cereal could be about the kids, the news, the weather or... our marriage. The only way to figure out is to ask.

The truth about marriage? It's not fidelity or finance you have to worry about... it's complacency. The minute you completely relax and start taking your spouse for granted, that's when someone spends money that's not in the budget, someone looks twice at that hot person in the gym, someone gains fifty pounds, someone stops communicating with you. It's the slippery slope from "we're okay" to "I have no idea who I married" that you have to be on the look out for.

You have to be willing to let your spouse become someone other than exactly who you married. As long as they morph into someone you still like and who still likes you, embrace it. 

The truth about marriage? If there's not mutual respect, chemistry and an agreed communication style to begin with, you're never going to make it. It's kinda cute when you're dating to settle every argument by swirling the cocoa. But three kids, two cars and a mortgage payment later - that's not always the ideal solution. I ask people in pre-marriage counseling to set up a standard of how they will 1) Manage Money 2) Make Decisions 3) Swirl Cocoa 4) Communicate 5) Split Household Chores. If you can agree on those five things, you are way ahead of the game.

The truth about marriage - It's totally worth it. I wish healthy, happy marriages on everyone at least once in their lifetime. That feeling of having someone on your side through thick and thin is amazing. The ability to look across the table and know exactly what the other person is thinking ("it's time to go, why did we come to this party?) is immeasurable. There's nothing to compare it to. Just trust me on this. 

When I do marriage counseling, I ask couples if they have the following feelings about their spouse 1) They won't hurt me intentionally 2) They love me unconditionally 3) They have my best intentions at heart 4) We're in this together. If one of those is missing, I know I have a lot more work ahead of me. But when those things are there? It's worth it.

Okay Bougienistas, Jayme has spoken. For the single folks - what struck you the most about Jayme's revelations? Any surprises? Anything really resonate? Married folks - agree or disagree? Any truths to add? Do share. The floor is yours...