Perhaps the craziest thing about marriage is that you can get divorced.
You can talk all you want about the commitment two people have made to one another, babble about their squabbles, and wonder at how they’ve made it work for so long, but I think people often have a hard time separating the two married people into separate people.
Marriage isn’t just about butterflies in your stomach, hope for a happy beginning together, and all the fun stuff. It’s about the seriously craptastic crap that comes along the way. Knowing how to solve – or, more likely for my husband and I, learning how to solve and deal with the pot holes along life’s road is the greatest test of marriage. The worst part is that the rest of the world doesn’t stop to take it easy one either person as they adjust to marriage or are going through something private.
And it’s scary. It’s easy to lose hope, to give up, to want out. But someone – sometimes both someones – comes through in a big way: with a hug, the humility to admit fault, and the wisdom to realize that arguing doesn’t make the situation any better.
But, as a girl whose home life wasn’t always the most stable little life, divorce is a big part of marriage. Not intrinsically, of course, but when you announce engagement, there’s always that one friend who talks about the divorce rate, one parent who thinks you should re-think the decision, and the knowledge that it has the potential to fail.
Then again, you can decide that failure is not an option. As Yoda quipped, “Try? There is no try. There is do and do not.” Some people force their marriages far past their expiration dates. Some people give up and people say they didn’t give themselves a chance to “make it work.” And, when the going gets tough, that idea can be tempting.
To be clear, I’m not saying that divorce is bad on a fundamental level. I actually am all for not forcing marriages in which the potential has run dry – I just happen to know my marriage isn’t like that.
But even if a marriage ends, there will be feelings there, maybe “just” nostalgic pieces of your life’s puzzle, perhaps offspring, a pet or two, and furniture from the couple’s life together.
Although I can’t say I’ve had the best examples of solid marriages in my life, I can say this: I have seen people do some incredible things out of love, respect, and courage. I don’t know that I could, years after dissolving a marriage, still have the compassion to call that person up when something terrible happens, and be able to communicate it well. I don’t know that I could let a child I love spend time with someone I didn’t trust anymore. I don’t know that I could be patient enough to watch someone’s life crumble and attempt to help, only to realize it’s useless.
But I’ve seen that. And I have done some of it. I’m stronger and better for all of it, but I have no desire to relive those days when I felt the most weak, worried, and worthless.
Thankfully, I have a husband who believes I can do anything. He thinks I look cute with short hair – even when it’s sticking straight up in the morning. He listens to my troubles and gives me honest, loving feedback.
“That’s how it makes sense to me, anyway,” he says, explaining a behavior I’ve been annoyed by in a way I’d totally say if I didn’t just need to get it out to the only person I trust with such information. “Not that understanding excuses the behavior, but if I understand it, then I can say, ‘Duck* ’em, if that’s how they want to be, let them be that way.'”
There’s only so much you can do for others before you’re hurting yourself and those around you. Tom simply doesn’t want me to get hurt anymore and I thank God for him each and every day.
I love that man!
*Those who are familiar with the iPhone’s auto-correct will understand this euphemism a bit better than others, though I think it’s rather clear. Don’t you? For the record, Tom
definitely didn’t say “duck.”
Welcome back to the return of Marriage Monday. I know this one seemed a bit rocky, but I promise – Tom and I are aces. We watched Psych and Frasier tonight. I’m about to do my coconut oil cleanse and move Fox into the bedroom for the night. I may or may not have been up just messing around with my hair for a while and getting inexplicably excited to get the neckline evened out a bit better tomorrow afternoon.
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I hope your week got off to a rebellious start. See you later!