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So many of you have asked, why did I name this blog—I Do Part Two?
Why, Part Two?
Because ‘Part Two’ means something different to each of us, it’s as varied as all of our marriage experiences. I wanted ‘I Do Part Two’ to be a space where readers could relate to different couple’s stories and know they’re not alone.
Plus, don’t we all have those moments we wish someone would’ve stepped in and yelled, “CUT…Take-two!”
Wouldn’t that have been great? Instead of, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that…” We keep getting chances to say what we intended to in the first place. No harm, no foul.
Unfortunately, that’s only in the movies.
Some of you also mentioned, ‘Part Two’ is about getting it right this time, and feeling confident enough to share the best version of yourself with your partner. And for others, ‘Part Two’ means finding love again after a heart-wrenching loss.
For us, ‘Part Two’ is all about discovering what it’s like to be “almost empty-nesters” as our kids leave for college and beyond. Last time we were alone in the house, everything was new, and it was all so exciting—but we had no clue what we were doing.
How can we keep that excitement flourishing with more experience, wisdom and a deeper affection for each other than we ever thought possible? Personally, I don’t have the answer to that—I wish I did. But, I do believe we each have something to contribute to this conversation.
Like you, our marriage has it’s own story. I certainly have moments in the last twenty-five-plus years I would love to do over again, but I wouldn’t want a complete do-over.
A do-over might erase some of the best moments of my 27-year marriage to my husband. So, even if it were possible to start over, I wouldn’t want to. We’ve worked too hard to get to this place in our relationship.
Of course, there will always be those moments I wish we’d done it differently…
I would’ve loved it if, in our early years, I hadn’t always been the avoider and my husband the fixer.
I wish I’d been naturally gifted with empathy, genuinely able to see through his eyes. Unfortunately, empathy wasn’t a skill I was even aware I was missing—let alone one I desperately needed—until a few years into our marriage.
I also regret not asking my husband for help more often, when the demands of motherhood, laundry, figuring out what to make for dinner every night, and running the kids to all their activities began to overwhelm me.
I wanted my husband to read my mind. I thought he should just know how to help me, but how could he—when I rarely asked.
So for me, and most definitely for us, ‘Part Two’ is a process of learning from the past, forgiving, and moving forward…
Instead of fixing and avoiding, we’re really listening to what the other has to say. And more importantly, we’re more aware of how the other is feeling. Even so, we still don’t always get it right.
Sometimes feelings get hurt… but we’re quicker to mend and more vigilant to repair what we’ve mucked up.
I remember the first marriage counselor (yes, there’s been at least five, but that’s another story…) that introduced the idea of responding to my husband with empathy versus the silent treatment.
Our counselor literally had to role-play how I was supposed to be empathic. I didn’t get it, and it frustrated the hell out of my husband. How could she not get this? Apparently, empathy is learned and I must’ve skipped class that day.
Our marriage will always be a work-in-process. So when we start to get off track, we have a little phrase we use. Actually, calling it ‘little’ doesn’t give it the credit it deserves. Many, many times, it’s been our saving grace. It’s only five simple words, but it’s protected us from misunderstandings more times than I can count.
“May I make a suggestion?”
It presses the pause button. It asks permission to give advice—you may not like what I’m going to say, but trust me, you need to hear this—it will help us both move forward.
We’ve learned to trust each other, as it’s only spoken with the best intentions.
This season of our lives is also about unwinding old patterns, finding our voices, having fun together, being more intentional, and continuing to learn how to be more empathetic with each other.
We are embracing ‘Part Two.’ I don’t ever recall a time we’ve been more intentional with how we’re showing up for each other and anticipating the other’s needs. We’re excited about the future, and we‘re looking forward to planning more adventures—together.
What will Part Two mean for you?
*Many thanks to Amy Leimbach, my friend for over 30 years, who thought up the name— I Do Part Two. We’d brainstormed countless duds, epic fails, and domain names that had already been taken. Then, I woke to a text from her in the middle of the night—isn’t that when most women come up with their best ideas? Amy, thank you for your support and creative genius!
Lisa considers herself a “writer-in-progress” and hopes I Do Part Two will be the conduit through which others feel compelled to share their story. She’s recently recommitted to her husband and best friend for the 27th year; together they have 3 growing children who still live full or part-time in their nest. Lisa also contributes to Her View From Home. She’s motivated by the quote, “What will the world miss if you don’t tell your story?”-Donald Miller