If you are lucky, you will survive your marriage. Sometimes it's a matter of grabbing an uprooted tree and riding out the vicious current. When you wash ashore, you may or may not recognize your partner. You will both be a bit waterlogged, and probably ....depleted. Yet, stopping to lay down on the cool grass under the mid-day sun can revive you. You will lie together, yet apart, fingertips touching, eyes tilted upward at the wide open sky. Breathing. Just breathing...
No one ever said marriage was easy. However, no one really says just how difficult it can truly be. You have two individuals with different needs and wants, and after a few years, you have to rediscover the overlap. If it's there... Often you may not allow yourself or your partner to grow. Because it feels too.... threatening. Yet, growth is inevitable. And, without it you're deep in a murky bog, feeling burdened, paralyzed, and trapped. You have to slog through it, or sink.
Marriage by its very nature demands you to be the very best you can be, and asks you to think of the other person first. Perhaps that is the biggest test of all.
My marriage has had its share of challenges. My husband and I, both mercurial beings, trying to fend our way. We have worked hard. We sought help when we needed it. We have had breakthroughs, and tears, and yes...lovemaking. We've always had that. Oooh la la! Lucky us...
Throw children into the mix, add a big dollop of a child with special needs, financial ups and downs, and you've got a recipe for stress. Or, an opportunity to come together. So far we've managed to make it through, and be the stronger for it. I try not to take my marriage for granted... but, sometimes I do. Days can go by with our only connection centered around our children. Invariably, I am too bloody tired to truly connect.
There have been times when I have been tuned out. I have been angry. I have felt alone. Marriage can do that. But, then there is that possibility of renewal. The sun comes out, the world seems steady again, and I am not alone. A deeper love and need and want...that comes from a core steadiness that cannot be felt if you haven't gone to those low, tough places that pull you apart.
Today, I am grateful. So blessed to have my husband by my side. I love that he thinks that marriage with me is for keeps, no matter how flawed and messy the process. That he believes in us. He is a good man. And, I am lucky. When the tough times come, it's good to know that we remember how to paddle...
"Keeping Focus" painting by Chuck Gumpert.