Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ode to Marriage

I'm looking at my husband napping as I write this blog entry. I've been married for sixteen years. These days, that's a long time, but really, it seems like just days ago--a series of seconds and minutes and days we've been in proximity, experiencing the same things and comparing our feelings and reactions.

As I look Jimmy, I think of how many times I've caught his eye. Sometimes it's a shared joke, a smile, a loving grin--and, often, it's to share a glare when we disagree, or are cranky, or hit a snag in our walk together.

I'm so glad we got married believing it is a permanent union. Like every married couple, we've had our moments. I tell friends who get married to be sure to have a honeymoon, because "at some point you'll wonder why you married this jerk" and having happy memories from a honeymoon will give you
perspective when you have hard times.

But we've learned a lot by struggling through problems together. The biggest lesson I've learned is about unconditional love. I love Jim because he's Jim--not because of what he does for me, although he does a lot. Not because he loves me, although he does. But as we have drawn closer over the years, I have come to love him just because I do. Even if one day he does not remember me--as sometimes happens to couples who have the heartbreak of Alzheimer's or brain injuries or other tragedies to deal with--I will love him.

Right now, marriage is pretty fun. We're together, we're fairly healthy, and see eye-to-eye on most issues. But I've sat by the hospital bed at 2am, wondering what the morning would bring. He's had to care for me when I was too sick to take care of myself. We've been to funerals together and comforted each other when we lost family.  And finally, these past few years, we've gotten close enough to pull out our deepest hurts and fears and work on healing them together, knowing we are safe in each other's care.

Marriage is not always easy--but being alone is hard, too. Nothing worthwhile is easy to build every day. But marriage--when two people come to it determined to be best friends and build a life together--is one of the most rewarding parts of life.

Sadly, it is not always possible to stay together if both people are not willing to stretch and give. I feel so blessed to have a spouse who sees me, my quirks, and my ever-present faults, and loves me with gentleness and a sense of humor.

I hope all of you reading this blog have that kind of relationship, or can grow it in your own lives. There are plenty of resources out there to grow your marriage. I hope you will take the time to hold your spouse, and build a marriage that is full of love and peace.

Thanks to Ann at Say Cheeez Photography for the picture of Jim and me.

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