February 8, 2012
I Do....Until Death Do Us Part...Or I Run Screaming Into The Night
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
I never thought Seal and Heidi would split. They were so dang cute. They renewed their vows every 365.25 days, had a kid every 9.5 months, and were always smooching. Love and affection oozed from them...till it didn't.
Same thing with Brad and Jen. Lordy I loved them. She was so...perky. I don't think I could go have a drink with her, but we could totally hang by the pool and gossip about all those other bitchy stars. Then that Jezebel came along and ruined it all. Granted, I might be a *touch* jealous. Angelina is, just, wow. I have given my husband full permission to cheat on me with her if she ever comes calling.
We expect these types of marriages to fail on some level, though. After all, they're those "Hollywood" marriages, and they can't possibly know what love is. Really, though, who the hell does?
My parents make marriage look easy. Sure, they're crotchety some day, and I always giggle when they use me as a sounding board for what the other has done. But, at the end of the day, I know how much of a package deal they are. I never knew marriage was work.
I was a different person when I wed my Better Half. I was independent and out-spoken and caring and my heart was open to the world. Then it wasn't. I had to become dependent and quiet and selfish and I closed my heart so I could protect it. That's how I survived and made myself okay again. That was the only way I knew to do it.
However, doing that, while it was the best in the long run, was hard on those around me. And I mean F-bomb hard. Hard in ways that make you wonder if you can make it through to the other side. When the person you love is broken and shattered, but you can't pick up the pieces...well, it would be easy to leave the pieces.
I'm not broken anymore. Maybe some days a little more fragile, but I'm finding my way back. Among all the missing days, we had to learn how to love each other again. He became my protector, my safe house, and I became his basketcase. It's hard to get back to normal because some days we can't get past what was and move on to what is.
Marriage is hard work. I don't think kids get that. I didn't. It was easy: You meet the man of your dreams, get married, find good jobs, have kids, die together hand-in-hand. I didn't see the balance you have to constantly seek between family and taking care of me or the battles of dishes, bathtime, and groceries. You fight against keeping score, but you do it. A smart man told me, "When you keep score, someone eventually wins. That person files the divorce papers."
Being married to the person who feeds your soul and holds you tightly while letting you fly is a gift, but it takes good old-fashioned elbow grease to keep that. It's asking how his day was even when mine was crap. It's making plans for a special date just for the hell of it. It's kissing him goodbye even though he's asleep and doesn't know I'm there. It's holding on to the good even when the bad seems like it will overwhelm us, and us knowing that we'll get it back to good. That's what marriage is...