Marriage sucks sometimes. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. At points during our more than 20 years together (fifteen of them married) it’s been so hard, we’re pretty sure it must be over. That like all those other couples, Tim and I are done.
The sucky times always turn out to be necessary. They have ultimately invigorated our relationship and made us love each other more deeply and honestly. This is the gift of hanging in there–not through the struggle, but through the pain of not knowing where the marriage is going. We show up and say what’s true for each of us, no matter what.
Before we got married the Episcopalian priest who counseled us said marriages sometimes die. This and not literal death, was the ’til death do us part, part. Father Bradley had been divorced and had remarried. He wanted us to understand that while we were entering into a lifetime committment, there were exceptions.
Tim and I went through a rough patch around our anniversary this month. The details aren’t really important. On the surface, the struggle was related to finances. But really we were both struggling with change. Change in ourselves and consequently, change in how we see each other as partners, lovers, parents, and human beings.
Would these changes be the death of our marriage? Or were they simply part of the two of us growing up, and learning to be better people and partners?
We’ve come out the other side. It doesn’t suck right now. Not by a long shot. We’re closer. Standing on our own two feet more than ever.
We found out that how we love each in this moment is what matters. How can we do our best to see each other in a new light? How do we look for the humor, and not to sweat the small stuff even when it feels like big stuff? We’re figuring this out, and our marriage is stronger for it.
The other morning, I walked Tim out to his car. The air had that cozy crisp smell of autumn; the fallen leaves were swirling in the street.
“It’s fall, sweetie,” I said.
“Yeah,” he replied, kissing me passionately.
A few seconds later he came inside the house. He’d forgotten his keys.
“Can we do that again?” he asked.
I followed him outside again. The air still smelled wonderful, the leaves were still dancing.
“It’s fall, sweetie.”
“Yeah, it is.”
The kiss was twice as nice this time.