I still can’t believe it’s been 7 years since we said “I do.”

We recently found the tape our wedding was filmed on and watched it with our kids. They asked all kinds of questions like, why did we get married on the beach? Where were we? Where were they? They loved watching us in a younger version taking an oath to make a life together.

Our wedding was small and simple. We were married at a beach house in Destin, FL on July 23, 2011. Only our immediate family was in attendance and your dad married us. My dad was so nervous and forgot to walk me down the aisle. I literally had to call for him to come back to get me! My mom did all of the flower arraignments and I purchased my dress online for $90. It was perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

We are officially celebrating our anniversary tonight with a little Staycation…sleeping through the night like WHAT?!? But I wanted to write a little note about the last year. Our 7th year together.

Truth be told, you and I both know it hasn’t been an easy year. Our relationship is stronger than ever, but exterior factors make it a challenge for us to spend time together. You are now working 6 days a week, many days you leave before the sun goes up and come home just in time to tuck the kids in bed. On your off day, you like to sleep or spend time with our kids…as you should. I don’t resent you. I know you are doing this for us, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the time to spend together. I know we both miss that so very much.

In the last year, we have helped open a new business and challenged each other to set new goals. You’ve pushed me to work harder on my writing, blogging and public speaking, and I’ve pushed you to stay focused on our future regardless of how tired you are.

You already know what you need to work on in terms of spending more time with the kids, so I won’t harp on that. I already know I need to be patient and value the little time we do get with you.

Tonight we will sit down to dinner and spend the evening talking about us. Not the kids, or the mortgage…just about our goals for the next year of marriage. I’m curious how often other couples do this, or if they do at all?

Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused in the eye of the storm, no matter how calm or rough the winds are. I’m looking forward to setting new goals with you. 365 day goals, 2 year goals, 5 year goals and so forth.

Thank you for asking me to marry you all those years ago. Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier when you marry someone who looks forward to the future as much as you do.

xx

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*Warning: this article contains graphic photographs that may not be suitable for all audiences.*

They say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Perhaps my dear husband takes that saying to heart and strongly believes his own trash is indeed my treasure. Or, perhaps he suffers from a highly classified disease. One, not yet technically recognized by scientists and is currently under review by the FDA. Yes, for the sake of this article I will just convince myself that his condition is a common disease.

It was early one Saturday morning when I found 3 photographic pieces of evidence in our refrigerator. Upon a little investigating, I diagnosed my husband with “Refuses To Throw Sh*t Away Syndrome.” Or RTTSAS for short.

I know my husband is not alone. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people are carriers of this disease. Who are the sufferers you may ask? Their poor, innocent partners who spend their precious free time discovering the “treasures” throughout the house.

If we’re being completely honest, I first noticed signs of RTTSAS in our early dating days. As most naive partners do, I chalked it up to the bachelor life and enjoyed cleaning things like his bedroom and refrigerator. I basked in the domestic duties with sheer joy and admiration for the new man in my life.

However, the RTTSAS condition did not seem to improve as the years ticked on.

If RTTSAS sounds somewhat familiar to you and you fear as though you have fallen victim or are perhaps a carrier of this disease, listen up. I’ve jotted down a short list of signs and symptoms. If you answer “yes” to 2 or more of these questions, you may need to seek immediate help:

  • Have you ever found a bag of chips with a few crumbs left in your pantry?
  • Have you ever found a bag of pretzels in your pantry with no pretzels left, no crumbs, just salt?
  • Have you ever found a jar of salsa, hummus or any sort of dip containing less than one scoop left in fridge?
  • What about tabasco bottles? Ever find one with one drip left in fridge?
  • Have you ever found a milk jug or orange juice bottle with approximately .5% of one swig left in fridge?
  • Empty Amazon boxes left in odd places?
  • What about appliances? Ever find an empty vacuum cleaner box belonging to a vacuum you no longer own?
  • How about an empty iPhone 3 box when you and your partner are on the 8th version?
  • And my personal favorite, empty and torn open envelopes left on kitchen counter….

Now, I wouldn’t be doing my journalistic duty without seeking expert testimony regarding RTTSAS. So, I found someone who has been suffering in silence from RTTSAS for much longer than a person should have to. With more than 40 years of experience, allow me to introduce everyone to my mother.

Me: When did you first start noticing signs of RTTSAS?

Mother: The second week of marriage, circa 1981.

Me: Did you feel alone, like perhaps you were the only victim or dad was the only carrier of RTTSAS?

Mother: No, I immediately knew that I joined a club. A tribe of wives suffering from the same disease.

Me: When did my father hit rock bottom with RTTSAS? Or did you have a breaking point?

Mother: Your father hit rock bottom probably 15 years ago. My breaking point happened around the same time. Despite my breaking point, your father was beyond help. I appreciate what you’re doing here, honey, but there is NO cure for him.

Me: What do you want to tell other wives suffering from RTTSAS?

Mother: Be very watchful for early signs and please nip it in the bud.

After interviewing my expert, I confronted my husband on my findings. He was in denial. Totally understandable for our first intervention. Would you believe he even blamed our 5 year old on being the culprit of some of my findings? I hope my innocent 5 year old son is not an early carrier.

In conclusion, I’m writing this article to let you know I’ve taken the appropriate steps to fully diagnose this disease and I’m proud it finally has a scientific name. RTTSAS is very serious and it’s currently being reviewed by the FDA. I am hopeful researchers will develop a pill, vaccine, or DUMPSTER very soon to help put us all out of our misery.

Shanisty Ireland RTTSAS

My weekend fridge findings….

I confronted my husband

Photographic Evidence #1 and step 1 toward intervention.

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Photographic Evidence #2 and husband’s denial.

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My genuine concern for his wellbeing.

Calm down, stop dialing social services because of the title of this article. Listen, I love my children very much. It’s really hard to quantify my love for them because my heart literally bursts at the seams for each and every one of them. They are loved and cared for and live in a very safe home.

But, here comes the boom. I love my husband more. Let’s begin with the reasons why:

  1. He doesn’t ask me to wipe his butt.
  2. He understands what an “inside voice” is and exercises it when deemed appropriate.
  3. He respects the word “no” (trust me, sometimes he doesn’t want to hear it either).
  4. He picks up after himself (most of the time).
  5. He doesn’t throw himself on the ground in the Target parking lot when I tell him he cannot have another Rapunzel doll.
  6. He can go on a walk and not ask me to hold him every 30 feet.
  7. He can have an intelligent conversation with me beyond golf, Disney princesses, and what he ate for dinner.
  8. He likes the same kind of movies, and doesn’t ask to watch the same scene in one movie 4,837 times.
  9. He is a great date.
  10. I chose him.

Obviously this is very tongue and cheek, but number 10 is so important and really the focus of this article. I CHOSE HIM. God chose us to be the parents we are today, but wchose each other. Now, let’s ask a question.

Do you ever sit on the couch (probably watching Netflix, probably not “chilling”) and wonder who the hell the person is on the other side of the leather lounger?

You step back and suddenly realize you are so caught up in life (diapers, potty training, soccer games, ballet, preschool, carpool, doctor appointments, making meals) that you literally forget about your significant other. The one partner in crime who actually helped you get where you are today…love it, or hate it.

Dudes, life is hard. Raising humans is hard. Jobs are hard. Paying bills is hard. It’s easy to put your significant other on the back burner. I mean, they are the other adult in the household…surely they will understand.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Now, making more time for my husband doesn’t mean I stopped caring for my children because my husband needs his underwear washed. I also do not lay out the newspaper, kick off his shoes and rub his feet. Sick. Rub your own damn feet. It just means I work really hard at making time for us a priority.

It’s taken some undercover (not those covers) digging to figure out how this can be done with a job and three little monsters fighting over my attention. For us, it’s mainly quality time. We spend a lot of time when they kids go to bed sitting outside by the fire. Sometimes we drink, sometimes we don’t. We talk. We plan. We write down ideas. We discuss the future. We focus on us. Sometimes we kick the kids to their grandparent’s curb and get a date night. Whether it’s a 5 star restaurant or pizza at home, the focus never changes.

Two reasons why:

  1. These tiny humans we are raising are going to grow into school aged humans. And then off to college and the work field aged humans. And then it’s just us. Back to square one. One of my biggest fears is we’ll become strangers. I want to be more than a friendly “hello” in the morning and a polite “how was your day” in the evening. This is the person I plan to spend the rest of my life with.
  2. A healthy marriage translates into a happy household. It’s very important to me our three kids watch our relationship and learn. How we talk to each other, how we respect each other, how we interact with each other. Sure it’s not perfect. We argue just like the next couple, but it’s how we handle it that matters. I want our children to grow up and find spouses that are like-minded. I want them to have healthy marriages and happy households. I want them to take what they learned from us and implement it 30 years from now.

So, it starts now. I realize not all marriages are the same, but I do making your spouse a priority is important.

Want more, be more, do more. Our 60, 70, and 80 year old selves will appreciate the hard work we put in today. Not to mention, those tiny people are watching you.

Be the role models they deserve. Be the parents they aspire to be. Be the spouses they will one day become.

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