The Communication of a Lengthy Marriage

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Being 14 means dealing with the tail end of puberty, learning algebra and realizing that soon enough high school will be a reality. For Maria Gorman it was about all of that, and meeting the guy who would wind up being the man she would be engaged to only five years later. While they’re a good looking family with a strong marriage and two kids, she admits it’s not all great all the time, “It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. We struggled a lot not with each other but with life experiences.”

One of those experiences being cancer. Her husband Brett has beaten it once before, but recently got diagnosed again. Sticking by one another and being strong for each other has been their ammo since day one, and while I wish them the best as they go through this health scare a second time – I feel like they’ll get through because reading what Maria had to say about their relationship, how they make it work and more – they got this.

Kendra: You’ve known your husband since you were teens. Did you ever imagine that once upon a time teen would be who you’d share a life with?

Maria Gorman: It’s so funny and I don’t mean to sound all mushy, but yes I did actually! We talked about it daily, and I still have EVERY letter we wrote back and forth to each other; his letters and mine! We met when we turned 14. He asked me to be his girlfriend December 21st 2001 and we have been together ever since.

Kendra: Do you remember a moment back in the day when you realized Brett was “the one?”

Maria: I do! We met in church at a youth group called 180. He rode skateboards and was very active in extreme sports; snowboard, skateboard etc. Well we (the whole youth group) went to a concert the band’s name was Dismas. If I remember right, anyways we had JUST started dating and we were young but we (a group of us) had snuck out of the concert and decided to walk to a near Kmart. Well me and another girl had the same crush on Brett.

We were walking along this sidewalk and he grabbed my hand. I was all giggly, ya know. Well she then grabs his hand, and now he’s holding two girls’ hands walking down the street. When we get to our destination to meet up with our friends, he tells me it was my hand that he loved holding the most – cheesy, BUT at that moment something hit me and I said this one might be the one!

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Kendra: I’ve heard dating and marriage are a world apart from one another. Did you notice any significant changes in your relationship when you made the move from dating to engaged to married?

Maria: Not so much with our relationship, but our families! He proposed to me when we were 19,  so we pretty much grew up and molded the kind of relationship we wanted. So we didn’t change, but I noticed it more with my side of the family! My dad in particular. He was against us getting married for some reason. Long, long story, but let’s just say I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my dad! He was so wrong about Brett. I knew in my heart I was choosing the right one and he hasn’t stopped proving that to me.

Kendra: Of course communication is the key to everything in this world. Would you say it took you and your husband some time to find that open line to be able to talk about anything at any time?

Maria: Not for him! He’s pretty much open. Me on the other hand, it took awhile to share my feelings with him. He’s so easy to talk to, and not judgmental so it was easy for me to talk to him! I still struggle a little with it though and he’ll say, “What’s wrong?” He knows me like the back of his hand, so when I say “nothing” he’ll tell me put that on our marriage, and if I’m lying I won’t say it and it kinda forces me to talk. Silly I know, but it’s worked!

Kendra: Even couples with the best communication can wind up fighting about this and that. What’s the dumbest thing you two have bickered about?

Maria: Hmm, that’s a hard one there’s been a lot “Ohhhhhhh where to eat?” Seriously though not sure why this is such a difficult thing to decide on but it is! Date night too, that’s pretty much it!

Kendra: On a more serious note, not every marriage lasts and some people fear divorce and often let it keep them from ever saying their wedding vows. Do you feel people should have that negative undertone about getting married?

Maria: You know I’m not a person to say who should do what with whom, but I will say this – to each their own. Marriage isn’t for everyone. I don’t expect it to be. It’s very hard, but so worth it if you give your all on both ends! It takes trust, communication, respect, a lot of praises, space and time. I mean the list goes on and on.

I’ve had a lot of friends and family, including all of my siblings, divorce and find new love! It’s tough! Some always ask me and Brett what makes your relationship work, continue, etc. I always say communication and love!

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Kendra: Just to backtrack a bit, you got married pretty young – which is not too normal nowadays. More and more women are waiting until their 30’s even their 40’s. Thoughts on the idea of having a late start to being husband and wife?

Maria: I think it’s great! Everyone deserves love and happiness, and if you happen to find it early or late I think it doesn’t matter. Everyone has a path in life and some find and do and experience earlier or later than others! And that’s the beauty of life and love, everyone has their own stories to add to this world. I think it’s great young, old, in between, straight, gay – love is love!

Kendra: Let’s talk about kids now. You have two beautiful sons today, but with each – what changes came between you and your husband, if any?

Maria: So our boys are six years apart and we had a miscarriage in between them. That was hard and I’d say that was the biggest obstacle with dealing with our kids. Before we had kids we talked about how important education, discipline, love, structure, fairness and all around letting our kids express and be who they want to be in life! We were pretty much on the same page with our kids. It hasn’t been easy, and some days are better than others but we are right there to help pick up, support and encourage each other and our kids. There are no rules for being a parent. All we can do is try and hope the best for them.

Kendra: Being well out of the newlywed zone, what advice do you have for those who are engaged today about sustaining a healthy marriage?

Maria: I say this to everyone – communication! If you don’t have that or trust, it’s doomed from the beginning. I also say never go to bed angry, never. That falls under communication. Seriously love is a beautiful gift so choose your battles, care for the others feelings and hobbies. Have surprise dates or make their favorite dinner, bring a coffee or flowers home. Also when the time comes for kids, ALWAYS remember you had you partner first. Never forget about them. Make time to be you again. It’s so so important. Plus, always always say I love you.

Kendra: In the grand scheme of things – what is the biggest high and the biggest low of marriage?

Maria: The biggest high is I’m with my best friend forever! We have had such a beautiful journey together so far, and I  am so blessed to have been chosen to be his. The biggest low would be watching the people you love hurt, and not being able to do anything about it!

We have been through a lot together in almost 10 years! He had a motorcycle accident two days before my 16th birthday. Dating two years at that point, I was at the hospital every day watching him go through that. He is paralyzed on left side, but he works so hard for our family he’s never given up!

Even to this day he’s beat cancer and now he’s fighting cancer again as it’s came back but I have never given up on him! We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders and we love and support each other! Life is so short and so beautiful! If you have the chance and have been blessed to be someone’s life partner never take that role for granted. Marriage is so beautiful and it’s so messy, but it’s your story. You can write it however you choose.

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