Relationships tend to be one of the most important things to me. In fact, my theory is that men have an instinct to be hunters, while women tend to be the nurturer. Once upon a time, mothers spent a lot more time with their children than the fathers did. Dad was hunting for food; Mom was taking care of the homestead. So, maybe it is natural for me to be so concerned with the relationships in my life.
As with anything that is important to us, I spent a lot of time working on my marriage and my kids. Getting a promotion at work wasn’t particularly exciting for me in comparison to my husband bringing me home roses for no reason. My heart lies with my family.
By all of the world’s standards, my marriage shouldn’t have ever worked out. For instance, we only “dated” for about two weeks. We lived together for 10 years before I would marry him. I’d been really burned once before, and I was terrified to do it again. We’ve had to overcome poor financial decisions, blended family problems, ex-wives/ex-husbands, infidelity, drug/alcohol addiction, eccentric families, hostile families, being unequally yoked, and probably just about any other problem a marriage can have. And yet, everyday we both tell each other we love the other one, and we both mean it.
I’ve been reading other people’s blogs a lot recently, and I am beginning to see just how hard life can be for the modern-day married couple. I would never wish my problems on anyone else, but I would wish the bond that one develops with their partner when you’ve made it out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death with your marriage dented, but in tact. We didn’t have a marriage where one person was bringing in all the problems, and the other one was just trying to stay on top of them. We equally sucked. But we learned pretty quickly at the beginning that we were both pretty broken souls, and to expect the other one to forgive, forgiveness had to be quickly forthcoming. And real.
We still go through hard things in this marriage of ours. Recently, Don had been going through a mid-life crisis. I can’t pretend I can truly understand what he is going through. But I am here for him, encouraging him to keep on keeping on. Don, in turn, is helping me through my empty nest feelings. It is an adjustment. But because we’ve come through so many trials, it makes it easy for us to know that this marriage will last until the end. We just don’t give up, even when the rest of the world is planning our metaphorical funeral.
If there were any words of encouragement that would make things easier back then, I don’t remember them. I only know that it was a stubborn determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, we lived minute by minute. But always we forgave. Always.
I hope things get better for the authors I’ve read who are suffering. If my marriage didn’t die a horrible death, yours has hope too.