We scrambled eggs and toasted bread, this weekend. There was coffee in the press, aromatically tickling the best inside of us while the ice blew around outside tugging at the less best.
It is so hard to listen to another when we cannot seem to look over the hurdle of hurts and inadequacies we choose to fence ourselves in with. We have all done this, to degrees, and the letting go is overwhelmingly vulnerable but so necessary.
If I were to ever write a book on marriage, this is absolutely the angle I would take. I would title it something akin to Get Over Yourself, and it would probably be poignantly badass and awesome. Lives and marriages would be changed and the world would bloom brighter because the divorce rate would plummet…
All from my book.
Obviously, this isn’t true. None of that would happen, and I would honestly never write about marriage. The truth is that this isn’t because I wouldn’t be qualified as much as because the world around me feels that I am not. I am asking myself quite a bit lately, how much does the world around me determine my path?
My husband and I married very young, with a very unhealthy support system, very loosely around whenever it fit their needs. We were life-broken and hurt kids, walking down the aisle to some promise of a future constructed by a mix of the 90’s church, movies and top 40 love songs. These ideas sold as ideals were all we knew to look toward, and so it was devastating when they let us down. None of these things prepared us for emergency medical procedures in less than ideal locations, or badly mannered doctors brazenly promising you a healthy baby, while hours later you lay holding the sixteen week lifeless one in your hands while your husband wails and looks toward suicide to balm the horror throbbing from inside of him. Bloody bathroom baby funerals became the most consistent part about our early day marriage and when we looked up or called out, we were almost always left with only each other to look at.
Adultery honestly, with hind sight, kind of makes sense. Nothing within out lives made sense and everything hurt overwhelmingly, so escaping it for something which felt a little nice and was so separate from the worst life was almost a no-brainer. Of course, anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on knows that this doesn’t take the bad away or really make it any better. It simply piles on top.
Divorce follows broken, blistered years of crash-course-adulthood almost always. In our case, had any one element been different- the support system, the miscarriages, the drowning medical debt- everything else may have changed. Had one tiny sign of life been present, the funeral would not have had to happen.
But it did…
And then a rebirth came. It was painful and gut wrenchingly beautiful and organically everything that should come from a shattered marriage moving forward. Living it was unexplainably complex. Having grown up in the between helped immeasurably, and for that we were grateful. There was no condoning the giving up and not fighting, but we were attempting to redeem that short coming, and beauty abounded. A family miraculously came to be out of seeds of awful beginnings, and that next bit was real life littered hardships, sometimes discouraging but some how always intoxicatingly beautiful.
Gratitude. Always, there was gratitude.
But life is cyclic and shifts happen. The things which should have stayed most important slowly weren’t any longer and the slow-motion spiral stole our marriage’s breath away. Stole my breath away and silenced my heart. I have never felt so terrified, so incapable, so helpless, so worthless. So numb.
The train wreck following the slow motion fall was instantaneous and blinding. The deafening blows left my senses unable to grasp and be for weeks and weeks. When they did, I reached out to the supportive life I’d grown to nurture and found that the majority of them had been more shallowly inclined to love me than they had actually let on- once my life was shattered and bare. That is how it goes, really. Nearly every time. People love to show up when things are bright, and people love to take credit for the place they stand beside you, but when you fall most of them scatter…
Today I am with my husband. We made eggs and toast. We read a little, together, worked a little, together, and spent a cozy day confined inside while the world of never-ending winter froze just beyond our windows. The journey is long and hard and any one who has been married for any amount of extended time will know this. Not everyone tells the truth and so if someone tells you it’s great, just know they are lying to themselves more than to you.
Marriage is hard and it can be dark. It hurts more than any other relationship. When both people do their parts though, and put the other first, it is the most secure, warmest, most full filling and embracingly raw thing our human hearts can comprehend. Often what makes it so hard is that we cannot make the other person do their part or even want to, when they aren’t, which feels devestating. Sometimes they just don’t want to act on love, with us. And that sucks. When we each want to make the effort, it is so beyond anything I can find words for. Today has been a medium of that, while Friday was a not-at-all. Last weekend was a 10 out of 10.
And that is marriage. It is real, and you have to stay on top of it and protect it and work at it and honestly, there can not be time off. It is intensely 24/7, no day is a guarantee and no moment is scripted.
And when you are honest, in the train wreck times, there are people who will hold this in their memory until their very last breath. While they believe they don’t want you to fail, they also can’t get past that time when you could have. The worst part is that maybe they could have extended love and helped, but probably they didn’t, they just “care” so much to hold those moments against you.
My marriage is mine and my husband’s responsibility, but it is ignorant to pretend like no one else can hurt/harm/help it, because that just is not true.
For five months in late 2015/2016, my husband and I were separated and living in different states. For two months, leading up to the sudden separation, things were really disconnected between us. Over that time there were counselors and others sought because we each said we wanted to have a strong marriage, and every time we were turned away. Within those five months, other people were DEFINITELY a majorly contributing problem. Those five months were two years ago. The sad expressions and gossipy questions looking for dirt never cease. This is why any book, on the topic, would never amount to anything. The social system around me would squash it from blooming. Can you believe she honestly thinks she has anything to say about marriage? Remember that time…
Allow a micro rant here- Stepping back I see this same exact thing happening in thousands of lives around me, in so many ways. Why are we rooting for the failure of others while masking it as concern? When you “well-meaningly” ignore two years of progress and healing to cut me right back to that time- it isn’t loving and it isn’t support. If all you can think to ask is how my marriage is, since the separation, then perhaps you should stop and think about the 24 years of survival and work we’ve put into it instead of the five months we were flat on our faces- and then ask yourself how you could have actually shown kindness both then and now… And if you are one of those people and are married- shame on you for taking that self righteous path of crushing down.
When I want to look to someone for marriage inspiration and guidance, I look to the person who has been honest about their rollercoaster journey. THIS shows commitment, not the pretty filter image projected out there. When I want fitness/weightloss inspiration, I look to someone who has actually done it, not the naturally permanent size 4 girl with her own youtube channel. the time for authenticity is NOW…
I made eggs and toast, along side my husband. We had a few little irritations. This isn’t because of any other reason than we’re human, we have outside things in each of our lives that interfere with our thoughts and stresses. We were trapped in our house while an ice storm wailed outside. We are people. I love my husband more than any adjective could explain and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him, within my power. My marriage isn’t great, it isn’t fine, it isn’t anything other than REAL. Just like yours…
One thought on “Authentically speaking matrimony…”
Thanks for being real. I missed reading your email until just now. I went right to your blog. Wow! So delighted with you and what God is continuing to do in your heart and marriage. Sharing your real story is such an encouragement.