Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marriage 101

Yesterday was my 19th wedding anniversary.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of Chris and I’s first date.

It is official. I have now lived longer with Chris than anyone, including my parents.


In this day of rising divorce rates and single parent households, I must admit, I do consider this something of an accomplishment. Now I don’t mean to imply I know everything there is to know about marriage and staying married and making it work. I learn new things every day about marriage, life and other hazards. That said, over the years I have learned a few fundamental truths which I will share now.

Marriage is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work. I cannot stress this enough. Even if you are married to the "right" person, and no matter how much you love the other person and he/she loves you. If someone tells you, "When you are married to your soul-mate, it will/should be easy," you can just about bet that person has never been married more than seven years and/or is lying through his/her teeth. It is not ever easy (at least not for more than about 10 minutes at a time). That being said, if you are married to the right person, it is worth all (and I do mean ALL) the work. It has gotten only infinitesimally easier, but Chris and I's life together gets hugely better and better and sweeter and sweeter through the years.

Marriage is never 50/50. Maybe over the course of the past 19 years it has been one or two days, but if it has, I don't remember when. Days, weeks, months and years can go by when you feel you have been giving 90 percent and your partner's 10 percent doesn't look like even that. You are angry and hurt and frustrated. Then days and weeks and months and even years go by and your five percent is all you can muster and suddenly you are just very grateful that your partner has found the energy for 95 percent plus. I don't expect that even at the end of our time together here on earth Chris and I will be able to look back and say, "Look, over all it was 50/50." That being the case, there's not much point in keeping score. You just have to give and give and give and then when you think you haven't anything left, you give some more. You see one another through the tough stuff, cause you know there's a reward down the road and it is gonna be great!

No marriage is perfect. We all hide the ugly stuff from the people around us, our friends and family, because we don't want them to know we have our problems and that it just might be possible our relationship isn't perfection itself. Chris and I have our "ugly stuff," just like everyone else. But we love and we work and we take turns putting forth the effort required to make our marriage go. We do this because we know the reward is worth it or because we are both just too stubborn to walk away, some days I'm not sure which.

Well, there you have it, for whatever it is worth: Marriage 101.

Happy Anniversary to me!


Early said...

As our friend Sue Henry says:
"For richer or poorer,
In sickness and in health,
Come hell or high water!"
Happy anniversary to us!

mags said...

Wow. Happy Anniversary, my dear friends. Good for you!

You worded this so well, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. My dad always said that marriage is equal parts love, stubbornness, faith and acceptance. It's pretty clear that you have that - and what a beautiful marriage you have created with it!

Oodles of love to all of you!