Marriage is hard. When you start out you are excited about the future, making a family, combining two worlds into one, and it seems like nothing could go wrong. That it will be all breakfasts in bed and flowers every week. It isn’t. There is nothing wrong with that part of marriage. The beginning. We all have beginnings. We couldn’t get to the middle without them. It fades. For some fast and for others slowly. Before you know it you are knee deep in the muddy middle. The thick of it. The heart of it. The make or break of it.
No marriage is flawless, perfect, or smooth sailing all the time. There are doubts, jealousies, financial woes, pregnancies, pregnancy losses, sleepless nights, raising kids, job stress, not seeing each other enough, sexual appetites not lining up, tuning each other out, not sharing enough, feeling alone, or not feeling like you are on the same team. These things happen to all of us at some point. There are moments when we look at our spouse like our enemy instead of our partner. If we stay stuck in those moments, if we surround ourselves with people who want us to dwell on the anger or sadness then marriages can get lost or stuck. Your spouse is no longer your best friend or lover, they are your enemy.
I am not claiming to know everything about marriage because I don’t. I am fumbling my way along just like everyone else. There are times I really suck at being married. I am lucky because my husband has never once cheated or abused me. I cannot say how I would react in those situations.
Here is what I have learned. The days when you stay, the days when you fight for it, the days when you are there because you made a commitment and you want to uphold that commitment those are the days that make it count later. When the storm is rough and you don’t know what you are going to do or how you will make it through but you stay, you pray, you look at each other and reaffirm to one another that you will stand together and fight for your marriage, well, that is what makes marriage even stronger. When you lean into each other for support. When you open your heart through the tears and lay it all out. That is when your marriage becomes stronger.
In my marriage there is commitment to one another, by both of us, and that is the first thing. We laugh a lot. We flirt a lot. We are still very attracted to one another. Very attracted. We acknowledge each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to all parts of our life together, and we step in or up depending on the situation. Little things matter. A kind word, a text, a break from the insanity that is life, and quick kiss on the forehead. These things matter. They add up. They count. We support one another. I am his biggest cheerleader and he is mine. I tell others how awesome he is so he knows that I am proud of him. Having our extended family support our marriage is huge. They see the value of our marriage. They encourage us in our marriage and in spending time together without our kids. Time to focus on one another. We continue to improve ourselves for one another. We don’t just sit there on the couch gathering dust. We listen. We are best friends. We share life together.
The middle is hard. It is the part that defines the marriage. It isn’t always perfect. It has ups and downs. The struggles are real, but so are the good times. In the end it boils down to one simple thing for us-we don’t want to do life without each other. We are better together. We will work to make our marriage work. I am grateful I get to enjoy this life with my husband by my side.