Last weekend Sean and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. We had a much-needed weekend at Sodwana Bay in South Africa. We snorkeled, scuba dove, laid on the beach, stayed at a fabulous house for cheap, ate lots of pizza, completed our anniversary book, and relaxed. And. It. Was. Good.
I wish I could say these 5 years have been blissful. Maybe Year One was. Certainly Year Five wasn’t. Now I’m being for real, folks. When people say, “Marriage is hard.” They don’t mean hard like sometimes you’ll want to cry. They don’t mean hard like birthing a child out of your body. And they don’t mean hard like smashing your face against a rock. No. No, they mean hard like What if I killed my husband and went to jail for it? Yah that’d be easier than this. They mean hard like a natural disaster wiping out everything you own. They meant hard like death.
Lately, Sean helped me see how much I complain. How I groan and moan and bemoan the weather or work or a cup of tea too cold. I blame this on my family laughing at me when I was a child, of course. I’d get all dramatic and dump a giant glass of milk on my head because I was jealous of my little sister getting attention. And they would laugh. I’d moan as a teenager that “my life could not be harder if I was orphaned and shipwrecked on an island inhabited by man-eating baboons. ” And they would laugh. So clearly, I figured I was pretty funny.
Except somewhere my dramatics-for-humor turned into something serious. And it grates on my man’s ever-loving nerve. So he told me (fair enough I asked!) And I’ve been working on it. I’ll catch myself complaining, stop myself. Or if words coming racing out without my control, I’ll stop and apologize. I complain a lot. Ugh. But it’s funny what you’ll do for someone you’re committed too.
There were several fights we had where I thought, “Lord have mercy. Is he going to give up on me? Am I going to give up on him?” But we didn’t. We won’t. We had to repeat it. Through screaming voices or gushing tears, we would say, “I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. I’M NOT GIVING UP, BUT YOU NEED TO GET YOURSELF TOGETHER!” or “I SERIOUSLY HATE YOU RIGHT NOW, BUT I WONT LEAVE YOU.” [for the record, declaring hatred was one of my low points, I admit. I sucked pretty bad right then. I don’t recommend telling anyone you hate them, let alone someone you actually love.]
Sometimes we let things get really ugly. Our selfishness clouds our vision. Our pride draws a blanket over our charging bodies and it causes big bruises. It causes serious hurt and sadness and disappointment. I hope no one knows what I’m talking about, but I fear too many will. It’s ok. When you open yourself up so wholly to another being, it’s meant to not always be easy. Vulnerable isn’t ice cream and a beach.
But when you’re committed. When your partner is committed. To making it work. To sticking it out. To apologizing and forgiving. Then it’ll be okay. At the end of the day, I should just be good to Sean because if we’re stuck together, we might as well make it enjoyable.
And so we’re learning how to be good to each other. I’m learning patience and positive speech. Sean’s learning to listen and patience and grace. [my family didn’t even know how to warn this poor sob about what he was getting into when he asked to marry me!]
And another thang – it’s really important that when you hate your spouse (again, not recommended!) that you speak to someone who will honor them. Who will encourage you towards marriage. Will hold none of the horrible things you say against you or your spouse. Having someone to speak to is important to me. My sister tends to talk me down off ledges. OR in talking to her, I realize I already launched myself off a ledge and can hop back Into line before I get too crazy. And it’s great. Because my sister knows I’m just as much a schmuck as Sean. And Sean’s just as great as I am. And she forgets the horrible things I say and holds nothing against me or my fabulous husband. For real. Because I do the same for her. And when I say, “Dude. Pray for my marriage. It sucks.” She does. She will. And it helps. And she’s never going to plant lies in my head, or whisper temptations about divorce or ‘you deserve better’ crap.
So I say to you. Marriage is hard. Hard like head-banging against concrete is easy. Commitment gives lungs and legs to a marriage – allowing it to grow, begin anew, and move on. Be someone who not only upholds the marriage commitment for yourself, but for those around you. Help each other out. You’re just as screwed up as I am (at least this thought helps me through the day), so ain’t no shame. And for heaven’s sakes, go on a long get-away weekend. Anniversary or not.

Categories: just for fun, Public Confession | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Commitment

  1. I’m so glad that you got to have this weekend! I know one of the biggest things that stuck out to me in our premarital counseling was when the counselor said that when we agree to get married it isn’t conditional on the fact that we are loved back. We are committing to always loving(to the best of our abilities)our spouse even during the times when we don’t get any in return. And as you mentioned above, that is so different than what our culture says, the “we deserve better,” is such an easy lie to swallow.(This obviously doesn’t work if there is a truly abusive relationship) But it can be hard for sure!

    Right after getting married I was also given great advice, on how not to tell everyone and everything about the down sides of your spouse. Some people will hold on to those things and only ever hear the bad things and have a very bad picture of them, but always be uplifting about your spouse. So glad that your sister and you can talk through things, I know it is has to helpful for both of you!

    • Yes!! Jessica. Your two points are spot on. And I’m not always perfect at it, but I agree that it’s so important to speak highly and respectfully of your spouse. I find myself saying, “that man.. I mean Sean’s really wonderful. He really is fantastic and loving and kind. I’m finding myself getting…” And flipping the responsibility back on me. Keep the good ideas coming! đŸ˜‰

  2. Great post. So many today do not understand the vows they took on their wedding day meant you would do what you need to do to make the marriage work forever.
    It is a tremendous amount of work- and both people must be committed. But , if you look at it like divorce is not an option ( I am not discussing abusive scenarios ), it forces you to work together to find solutions. My grandmother always said that if at the End if your life you looked back on your marriage and there were more good days than bad, you were successful at it. Note, she never said the whole process was bliss. I count myself lucky to still look at my husband and realize he is always the first person I want to share news with, we still laugh and enjoy spending time together, and we haven’t killed each other yet!!!
    I am glad you and Sean are committed to the long haul- that us as God wants it- and He will bless you both.

  3. Sue

    Truer words were never spoken in public !!!!! I agree with you and I have lots of experience…62 years
    For sure of ups and downs ,but every day I thank God for the ups and downs ,because it shows that’s
    You will go up again ,when you are down ! Divorce is not an option ,nor is killing each other ,but after more years….you can be glad that someone loves enough to be by your side and you will probably learn to just mutter those little complaints to yourself and thank the Lord for the years behind !
    The challenge of raising children ….also ,puts a lot of different angles to the relationship…..but not to worry …you have belief in a big God and he will provide !!!!! Glad things are working out at the hospital
    Also ….love to you both …,Maa Maa

    • Thanks Maa Maa. I would love to quote you: “Divorce isn’t an option and neither is killing each other!” Hah!! But so much wisdom in your thoughts. You and Paa Paa have got some serious years clocked. Hugs and love to you both from us both.

  4. Thanks for your honesty, it is so refreshing!

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