The Greatest Thing about Being Married…

…is being with your best friend for the rest of your life, assuming that you’ve married your best friend, which I highly recommend.

If your spouse is not your best friend, then I’d suggest you and s/he at least be friends.

Here’s why:

You probably wanna be married to a person with whom you’d like to actually be around for long periods of time, and with whom you’d like to do activities. For Dwight and me it’s important because we enjoy traveling.

img_7647Our adventures together began twenty-two years ago when his parents paid for our honeymoon to Puerto Vallarta. We saw an ocean for the first time ever! We snorkeled. We partied. We rode motor scooters through the tiny streets where I thought I was going to face plant onto the cobble-stoned roads and die. To this day that memory makes him chuckle. Those were good times and there’s no one else I’d rather have done it with than my husband.

Since then, he’s chaperoned a study abroad trip with a group of high school students and me. Aside from keeping track of everyone, we ate really bad fish and chips, saw the Globe Theater, and visited the British Museum.

vegas2We’ve flown to Vegas four times and each time I’ve wondered how this trip could be any different than the last. Well, each one has been. Every trip has been at a different stage in our relationship, with different people, and for a variety of reasons. Sin City never disappoints, but quite honestly, neither does our affection for staying up all night, gambling, strolling up and down the Strip, and eating fine cuisine.

japan2

For some couples, travelling stops once they begin a family. But not for us. In fact, the girls have joined us on a few trips. Years ago, when they were little, they went on their first real flight across the country to Seattle. We saw the first Starbucks, visited the aquarium, and watched fish fly through the air at Pike Place. By the time they were rolling their pre-teen eyes at everyone, they’d eaten authentic Philly Cheesesteaks in Philly and visited the Liberty Bell. And although it was a bit expensive, I insisted they come with us on our sixteen-hour flight to Japan. I wanted them to know the rest of the world existed before they left our little bubble.

I could continue recounting years of vacays, but the point is, there’s no one else I’d rather see another part of the planet with than my hubby.

Happy Anniversary Dwight! Here’s to twenty-two more years of sightseeing.

22 Years and Counting: Falling in Love Intuitively

IMG_2990I’m glad I had the opportunity to “find a man” when I was in my early 20s.

I’m glad I fell in love in my youth.

I’m glad I fell in love when I was younger because I was  not as conscious of all of the things I wanted and needed. All I knew is that this guy is a cool dude. He likes hanging out, having a drink or two, or four and walking in the rain. He was about to graduate with an accounting degree and wanted to work on a cruise ship.

I thought that was brave. I mean who finishes undergrad and then aspires to work on a cruise ship?

I didn’t have the list that so many of my friends over 25, 35, 45 seem to currently have. I didn’t even have the list that has accumulated after two decades of marriage.

I wasn’t thinking about if he saved money or if he had a 401k. He made about 27k at first, and he spent most of his money. I wasn’t consciously thinking about how or if he would love our future kids. We eventually had two daughters; he avidly watches superhero films with one and advises the other about the importance of self-respect. I wasn’t worried about if he would clean the house or take my car to the shop. He ended up being obsessive about cleaning, at first, and he rarely serviced any of my cars. I wasn’t concerned about if he’d support my future goals. He does. Always.

He played tennis and I barely ran across the street even if I saw a car coming. He only ate rice for lunch and dinner, while I devoured several servings of any and everything in front of him. One of our first dates was to Red Lobster. Because he didn’t have enough money, he let me eat what I wanted while he ate salad and cheddar biscuits. I didn’t condemn him for not having money, cause he was 23. Plus, I didn’t have any money either.

I didn’t follow a 90-day rule.

I didn’t care if he believed in God, was a Christian or an atheist. Our philosophies about a higher power developed and intertwined like violet Wisteria on a white trellis. Most days we would just be. We would talk about hypothetical situations and what-ifs grew to be realities.

I didn’t read a bunch of magazines (or blogs) about how to get a man, how to keep a man, how to stop your man from cheating.

I’m glad I fell in love in my youth because I had the time and space to follow my intuition and my heart each step of the way.

Image. ©2013 K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.
Image. ©2013 K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.

And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 22 years of our marriage.

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.