Marriage is hard. There seem to be days when no matter how hard we try, my husband and I cannot get on the same page. We have at least recognized this in ourselves, and in those moments, he calls us Scarlett and Rhett, with hopefully a much less tragic ending.
I can remember being a kid, and my parents were just my parents. I logically knew they were two different people, but I couldn’t comprehend what it meant for two different and separate people to operate as one unit until I myself was married. As a child, I could not imagine a life in which my parents would no longer be married. As tragic as it is, it makes sense to me now how such a thing can happen. There is no “home base” for marriage. Your relationship will never reach a place where it’s totally safe from ending.
Is divorce the inevitable?
Every time I hear of the divorce of the parents of one of my friends from high school or college, I start to wonder if monogamy is possible. I wonder if marriage is an institution doomed to fail.
How can you be with someone for so long and then suddenly not be? But then it makes me stop and face the fact that marriage takes work. It’s a choice every day. It takes effort. It needs attention. My relationship is not something I can just set on a shelf and know that it will always be there. These marriages don’t just suddenly end one day, they erode over time. Likely without much notice at first.
I frequently think that my marriage is in the middle of the hard years – little kids, tight finances, building careers and that if we make it through this, we’ll be home free.
I realize how foolish that is. These years are hard, and all the years will likely have hard times. But these years are sweet. We get to look at each other and laugh at the silly two year old, smile at the baby’s coos, feel pride when our kindergartener got all his sight words correct.
I recognize all of this only comes with my limited wisdom of 7 years of marriage.
Just like I didn’t know how much work a marriage could be 7 years ago, I likely have no idea what it’s like to maintain a 30 year marriage. I feel like admitting I don’t know, accepting I need to learn, and vowing to keep trying is a start.
We’re still writing our story.
As long as we’re both breathing, our story will be a work in progress. It’s a story that we may not get to chose every detail of, but we do get to narrate it. The theme of that story is ours to make. Each day is a new day and not something to take for granted.