Updated: Jun 17
Doug and I just enjoyed a weekend sans kids (thanks to my in-laws) and I didn't realize just how badly we needed it. Marriage and parenting is hard on a regular day. Sheltering in place takes things to a whole new level.
I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately. Maybe it is because Doug and I celebrate 18 years in a couple of months - or that we have known each other now for 20 years. Maybe it is because the pandemic has thrown us all into the house together, and well, if you are like us we aren't used to having so much together time.
But today, its because I heard of an influencer that I really respect announce her divorce. It punched me in the gut and I've asked myself why. Maybe it was because she and her husband talked so openly about their marriage. Maybe it was because I bought what they were selling because their marriage seemed like none I had heard of and I wanted the same for myself. Maybe it is because I'm feeling a little sucker punched that I perceived something that wasn't entirely true. Or maybe I'm just recognizing for the umpteenth time that this thing called marriage is oh so fragile.
I have experienced the utter brokenness and pain that marriage can bring and I have also experienced the extreme highs and joys that come from this partnership as well. But if there is one thing I have learned it is that it takes a lot of intentional, hard work and that hard work doesn't always mean that it will last, be healthy, or a relationship that exists in your old age.
I don't know where you are today, but if you are weary and feel the strain of this pandemic on your relationships, you are not alone. Doug and I have laughed and said, God didn't intend for us to be together all the time. I'm not sure this necessarily is true, but all the togetherness can be a bit much. We all need our space and I think this is important to recognize.
But you know what I was impressed with as I have struggled with this reminder that marriage is incredibly fragile. It is a choice. You keep choosing each other for a myriad of reasons - sometimes they are good ones and sometimes they aren't. You choose until you can't choose anymore. And that choosing looks different for different people. The goal is to choose until death but for some of us you choose until it isn't healthy anymore. Sometimes choosing your spouse is an overwhelmingly easy one and sometimes you will be choosing hour by hour, day by day. It's in those moments that I tend to cry out to God and I pray that we are choosing to stay together simultaneously.
If you have been married or partnered for any length of time, you know that the intricacies of relationships are complex. It is easy to cast judgement and say that someone didn't try enough. We don't live in glass houses and there are a lot of things in relationships that are kept between a couple and their counselor's office (as it should be). So, I don't fault anyone for choosing to leave or quit. It's something I think you at some point realize, this thing just isn't guaranteed.
And if there is anything I'm walking away with today, it's I need to do better. I need to appreciate more because I'm grateful for the beautiful life Doug and I have created together - hardships and all. I want to keep choosing us and I realize that I should approach each year with gratitude - because none of it is guaranteed. And maybe we need to institute more date weekends (wink, wink to the in-laws).
Love ya, babe! Thanks for continuing to choose me too.