3 Things I’ve Learned being Married to Dwight for 20 Years

img_1814You guys, as of today, I’ve been married for twenty years! I don’t care what anyone says. Twenty years is a long time to do anything. But quite honestly, I’ve always said, I married the absolute right person for me. I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else for two decades. One reason is because he’s taught me so much about living life. Here are my top three:

Leave the door open. I’ve written before about how I used to leave people alone when I felt rejected; however, Dwight has always suggested that I “leave the door open.” According to him, people might not get along with you today, but tomorrow it might be a totally different situation. The thing is, you never know unless you leave the door open for that opportunity. So whereas, I used to close the door, lock the door, and dare you to even knock, Dwight has always realized it’s a new day with new experiences. It’s challenging, but we can all do this.

Allow people to be themselves. This is not a new concept, but I’ve never met someone who allows others to be themselves as much as Dwight does. Sometimes it comes across as not caring, but it’s really not. It’s him allowing you to be yourself, no matter what. At first, this seemed odd to my little controlling self. But over time, I came to understand that allowing people to be themselves is the most loving thing you can do. Dwight believes that every person has his or her own journey and makes specific choices to walk that path. Consequently, who is he or anyone else to intervene or try to change that journey?

Be yourself. Anyone who has met my husband will agree that he is himself all the time. Whether he’s out partying, at dinner, at your house, or at our home, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to get the same Dwight Garland Jr. in each moment. If people are around him going nutz, he’s sitting there calm or deciding if he’s going to leave. He doesn’t conform his personality to the situation, but rather maintains himself in the situation. In 2016, it’s cliché to shout “be yourself”; however, I’ve had the privilege of watching someone do this unapologetically for decades. And finally, I can say that my private and public self match 100%, no matter the company I keep.

Me_n_DI believe that you can learn from any relationship, whether it lasts 20 years, 2 years, or 2 days. I’m so grateful for my two decades of marriage, not because it’s a societal milestone, but because it’s made me a better version of myself.

Have you learned anything from your relationships? Please share. You know I want to hear all about it.

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76 thoughts on “3 Things I’ve Learned being Married to Dwight for 20 Years

  1. I’ve been married for 10 so I have some catching up to do!The biggest thing my husband has taught me is to think outside the box. Very wonderful post😊.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations ! Next week our 12,5 years anniversary…and I start wondering; is it a ‘guys-thing’? Because my hubby teaches me the exact same life lessons 🙂
    I’m also wonder…what did you teach Dwight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Patty! Congrats to you too ❤ Ha! Maybe guys all learn the same lessons when they're born lol. Sooo, I asked Dwight (cause I hadn't before you asked me), and here's his answer: (1) It's okay to share your raw emotions with people who want to hear it; (2) Visualizing a goal is important; and (3) Having fun is an important part of living life too. Thanks for asking because I hadn't even thought to find out if I'd taught him anything!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m late as always! Congratulations on your 20th anniversary! What is it about you bringing tears to my eyes girl? Happy tears. There’s always been something captivating about your posts. You pull me in every single time. Now I see that Dwight has helped mold you into this intriguing person that we all cherish so much. He is one of a kind and such a sweet soul. For this I’m so happy for you both. You were an absolutely beautiful bride and are even more stunning today! Dwight, so handsome! Beautiful couple! Here’s to many more years together, Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Anniversary to you and Dwight! I love the way you share personal things without necessarily telling all your business. Me and my guy have been together for 10 years – which makes us look at each other with a bit of awe, now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks Leslie! I try very hard at that part lol, cause I got a lotta business girl 😉 Seriously, thanks for the well wishes and yes, anything at or over the ten year mark is like, wow…how’d we get here???

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  5. We share an anniversary! My husband and I celebrated our 21st yesterday. Although, y’all have us beat on total years because we only dated 9 months before we were married. Happy 20th anniversary to you two!

    I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to sometimes just be quiet. If you’re fighting either be quiet and listen to your partner or be quiet and don’t make the fight worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow 20 years married, that’s not even including the time you two may have dated. Congratulations to you and Dwight! Kent and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago 🙂 We have lots of years to go to reach 20. One of the things that I’ve learned from my husband is that it’s ok to be quiet and just observe and to take my time to make a decision. I’m usually super impulsive and want to get things done NOW and if it was done yesterday even better! Again, congratulations on such a wonderful milestone in your marriage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true! We were together three years before that! Yay and congrats on four years! Before you know it, you’ll be married ten, then fifteen, then you’ll wonder what in the world happened to the time 😉 I’d say those are some valuable lessons already. Being quiet is oftentimes where I find answers. Thanks so much for stopping by Mrs.A!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely couple! It sounds like you both found the perfect match in one another. Happy anniversary!!

    My new love is still very new so I’m learning to trust again and be completely honest with how I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. God, what wise advice, thank you K E. I love this, especially about keeping the door open – it’s like being open to what the abundance of Spirit has for us …. 🙂
    I’m on my way to Japan (see my latest post) so I’ll be off blogging for a few weeks.
    Many blessings and much love to you,
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy, Happy Anniversary! We are coming up on 34 years in October. We were having a talk with our son who is getting married this January. We told him respect, be willing to give each other space to grow and change, understand there will be battles to fight and that working it out together is the key.

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  10. Happy Anniversary! 😀 Wise words of experience and I so agree with you. A relationship where one tries to change another is doomed but where you have freedom to be yourself but both grow together stengthens you both. I was worried about feeling trapped in marriage but the support and love over the years has only helped to make me more self-confident and stronger. We celebrated 17 years of marriage in July – the scary thing is how quick those years went and that our 15 year old son now dwarfs us both!

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    1. Congrats to you both! You know it’s funny because I felt trapped for a very long time, until Dwight said one day, “I don’t want to change you. I married you the way you were.” It never dawned on me that he actually like me just the way I was…weird how our brains make up stuff. Anywho, I totally agree about the time flying. Sometimes I’m still amazed that I had babies (who are now teenagers) lol. Hope you’re having a fab day Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As with your other bogging friends here, I wish you a very happy anniversary! As to your three top lessons learned, then I certainly chime with leaving the door open, or to use another simile, “don’t burn bridges” – that took me a while to learn, but is definitely high on my list of life’s lessons learned. As regards the other two on your list, then the idea of ‘being yourself’ seems tricky in some respects, given that good communication necessarily entails a shifting in the identity of one’s social self-construct. We don’t inherently change in these shifts, of course, but the dramaturgical display (see: Erving Goffman) adapts according to circumstance. It’s not a dissembling, but a bid to connect with the other at an appropriate and effective level. So this kind of adaptive capacity may or may not be part of one’s make-up – the innate and essential identity of who we are. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Hariod! I see what you mean about the challenges of being your “self” and I’ve read your writing about selfhood. I suppose if your “self” is always wrapped up in a self-constructed identity (e.g., mother, wife, etc.), then it would be hard to always be oneself. I’ve spent the last two years deconstructing those selves and literally peeling away layers. That’s the self I want to show to everyone, no matter who I’m speaking with, ya know? But I do understand what you’re saying here.

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  12. Sounds like an awesome guy! Really got respect for people that can see the world in a non-discriminatory cultural-ethnographical frame. A cartoon, Attack on Titan, has a character that is told, “How can you understand me. How can you understand what I’ve gone through? You are a good person.” He looks back at her, without batting an eyelash and says, “No one is good. No one is always good to everyone, and no one is always bad to all people. Every person no matter how good or bad you think they are is someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father. That someone is someone more important to that person than anyone else. To him he is good, but to the rest of the world he may be the epitomy of evil.” I have a saying I like to use, “people are people.” It sounds simple and it is, but it isn’t. We all share the same good and bad possibilities and we all do things we regret or we feel proud of. When we realize this and we can look at others without judging them by the words given by others and we can listen, then, and only then, can we hear.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hey! Congratulations! Our next anniversary will be our twentieth too. I think allowing people to be themselves is so important. We can never really force to people to change in any case. All that happens if we make clumsy attempts to do so is we build resentment. 🙂

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  14. This post is up there amongst your other brilliant posts Kathy. First of all, congratulations on 20 years of marriage – him to a wonderful woman, and you to a wonderful man. How ironic it comes on the day that Brad and Angelina have split. Perhaps they should have read your blog! Secondly and perhaps just as importantly: I love your 3 rules. Aren’t they amazing! I’m not married (the right person hasn’t found me) 🙂 but I shall certainly start incorporating these into my life. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Marie! lol hope Bragelina (is that right) work it out.I’m glad you love the rules. They are a bit challenging for me sometimes, but I’m happy to have had “living” examples. Certainly hope these three lessons help you, and of course, I’m thinking positively about you attracting the “right” person for you 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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