I don’t write much about marriage. Mostly because with only (almost) 10 years of it under my belt, I still feel like a newbie when it comes to this sharing your life with someone else thing. And a little bit because I feel a tad bit of a failure at it most of the time. Don’t get me wrong. I know the places in which I am a good wife. I even know a few places where I am a GREAT wife, but mostly I find myself staring at this great big chasm of places where I am just completely lacking. And it’s not terribly inspiring; those big empty spaces where you just keep messing up over and over again.
And some of those empty spaces or blind spots I bring to our marriage have made an appearance more so than usual lately so I feel compelled to share the little bit of wisdom I have almost gleaned from my near decade of married life.
I failed pretty badly at my marriage this past week. I could claim temporary insanity due to a lack of caffeine as I cut my one true love, Coca-Cola, out of my life this week. Or I could point fingers and find the ways in which I was forced to behave the way I did this week. But really at the end of the day, my personal insecurities and fears came out to play full force this past week and they needed a safe space to land on and my marriage was the perfect soft spot to take it all on.
My husband received news that was exciting for him and SHOULD have been exciting for me because of how much I love him, but instead I turned his moment into my pity party. I turned his excitement into stress. I deflated him and I blew past any celebration we could have made and turned it into a funeral. I didn’t celebrate with him and I forced him to mourn with me.
I let my own fears and the stories of insecurity that I carry in my heart bury themselves deep into his news. And here’s the worst thing: I kept doing it. Even when I could see how it was bringing him down and disappointing him, I kept lighting the flame of self-pity. I would apologize and promise to do better and then the very next day I was at it again. It was a heavy weight around my neck that I couldn’t shed and so I brought him down with me. I still am, probably.
And so this little post isn’t about what I’ve done right in my marriage lately and its not even about what I’ve done wrong (because that would be too long for even the Internet to handle) but its about what my husband has done right in our marriage lately: He has loved me the same throughout my failings this week.
He has accepted my apologies with grace and he has accepted them over and over again.
He has kept no record of wrongs with me this week. He has listened to my insecurities yell at his excitement and he has comforted me and reassured me, rather than tuned me out or demanded me to give him his moment back.
And the best part of this experience this week is that I have watched him struggle to love me so well. This might seem masochistic or backwards to you that I would enjoy watching my husband struggle to love me, but seeing him take that subtle deep breath before comforting me or catching him out of the corner of my eye giving himself a mental pep talk before dealing with my pity not only makes him more human to me but it makes his love for me seem all the more sought after and fought for. It’s cliché because its true, but marriage is work. Hard work. All the time. And it’s a choice you make every day to work hard at it. You will feel like you fail more than you succeed. You will feel like your spouse fails more than they succeed. But you will tie your laces tighter, buckle down harder and fight for it. Because marriage is worth fighting for and your spouse is worth forgiving time and time again…for the same grievance, usually. At the end of the day, you are fighting for the same goal: A life lived with someone. That’s it. So simple and so complicated all in one small sentence. When you choose to live your life with someone you choose to barrel through the fears and insecurities and all of the baggage that your spouse carries with them right into the belly of your marriage.
I don’t know that you ever feel like you have got this marriage thing down. But I think with each passing day you feel a little stronger in your fight for it. And you draw on that strength on the days when the fight seems too big. Because living your life with someone is bound to get a little messy from time to time but the payoff is more than worth the fight.