Monday, October 26, 2009

he didn't marry me with an out clause

My husband and I differ when it comes to our wedding anniversary. Each year I check off the year as if in wonderment that we have arrived here. It is both with gleeful surprise and satisfaction that I can say that we've scaled another year together as husband and wife. I feel victorious. As if we entered an obstacle course race 14 years ago, and we continue to be in it, not giving up on the hurdles.

E looks at things differently. He assumes that we have gotten through another year, and he assumes that we will get through all the years that lay ahead. Why? Because, of course we will. As he says, he didn't marry me with an out clause. I love this about E. It is what I need. He is the solid oak that I can lean against. It helps during the challenging times. Even when I can't see straight, I know that he is not going to sneak out the back door.

Actually...we're not a back door couple. Ahem...We lean toward the dramatic, both being very passionate people. If there is a door to go out of, it will be the front door and the exit will not be quiet. Fortunately, we do not fight often. However, the challenge for both of us is to remember that we have two small children listening to every word we say, and...perhaps most importantly, to communicate to our children that grown-ups do argue, but it doesn't mean that we don't love each other or that we are headed for divorce.

These days, 14 years is no small feat. Especially when there is the continual journey of discovering who we are as individuals - which can redefine how we are in our relationship to each other. As I look around and see so many of my friends' marriages in crisis, I know that these issues - of balancing children, careers, financial stability, and mid-life awakenings, are all valid reasons for dividing couples. Or opportunities for growth, if you're lucky enough to be with the right person. But, growth is hard. And, messy. No one gets out clean.

My parents divorced after 17 years. I never remember them fighting. Suddenly our family exploded, and life was never the same. Perhaps there were signs, but as a young teen, I didn't see them. Now, as an adult, I can understand much more of what challenges my parents faced. I will always be sad that they divorced. Yet...I think it was the right decision for them. And the richness that my step-parents have brought to my life is full and deep.

Some marriages make it and some don't. I haven't quite gotten to the place where my husband is. That assumption that we will be together for the duration - soaring and plummeting as the cycle of marriage always does. But, I like to think that I'm closer to being a solid oak for him. Because, every marriage needs two oaks - growing separately, yet letting their branches intertwine and soar toward the sky...

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  1. Congratulations and much love to you both, dear Jen!!!

  2. Happy Anniversary, JCK! That was beautifully written, and every word true . . .

  3. Wishing you a happy celebration of this anniversary and a lifetime more.

  4. I love the way you worded this. I looked at the exact same way.

  5. Happy, happy anniversary to both of you.



  6. Happy, Happy Anniversary, my friend! Indeed 14 years is no small feat. We just passed 9 a few months ago and I feel like it's really starting to count for something.

    In my mind, and thankfully my husband's, marriage is forever.

  7. I like that your husband assumes you will make it. Mine is the same. It's very comforting. There is a fine line, though, between assuming and complacency. If we assume that we'll be together, no matter what, it takes away some impetus for working, talking, arguing, compromising. At least, this is my rationale for frequently (always?) being the one to address conflict. My husband would run a 4 -minute mile if conflict were chasing him around the track.

    Congrats on another successful year, JCK and E !!! As you say, there are so many factors that come between spouses. It really is a show of loving stamina that we make it from one year to the next.

  8. I like what you say here.
    As we grow and change individually we forget that our changes affect our marriage. It takes some work and tending to, but worth it, absolutely.
    We just celebrated 10 years this summer!

  9. Happy Anniversary! I hope you were able to spend some quality time together as a couple. You are lucky to have each other.

  10. Beautiful post about marriage, commitment, love, and the passage of time and how it changes us.

    Happy Anniversary!

  11. Then, with a Prenuptial?

    Happy Annualversary.

  12. Happy Anniversary!

    No out clause is just the right idea to keep you working instead of walking.

  13. First, Happy Anniversary to you two!

    I love this post JCK. I really do. I have so many friends around me having so much problems with their spouse, on the verge of separation, yet struggling to keep it together because of their children.

    And here, you shared about your parents, not fighting much, yet still didn't end up as all marriages 'should'.

    My family, my hubby, everything seemed so perfect, yet I fear JCK, I truly fear....

  14. Congratulations!! It's wonderful how you braid together two different ways of looking at it, and they become entwined.

  15. Felicidades. A milestone of which to be most proud!

  16. This is wonderful....My husband always says to me "I take my vows very seriously. . ." and I know he means he and I will work through even the tough times. I meant that the part about you sticking it out and being happy together was wonderful. So many marriages don't succeed. Yours has and that is wonderful.

  17. I'm sorry, this was truly a lovely post, but I'm still stuck on

    "We're not a back door couple."

    Hahahahaha hohohohohoho heeheeheehee!

    Okay. All done. Sorry. Good thing you like me so much!

  18. First, happy anniversary <3

    Next - how wonderfully, thoughtfully, and beautifully said. I'm pleased to say Stu & I are of the assuming group; it has not, even in the midst of hair-raising disagreements, occurred to us to think about divorce. I realize now my best friend was like us, but her husband was shockingly not.

    Continued blessings to you both.

  19. What a lovely post, Jennifer. Congratulations to both of you.


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