It’s been a while since my last post. I’m a little embarrassed, possibly slightly horrified, but mostly I’m unrepentant over neglecting my blog. This year has been so jam packed full that it is a miracle I have a few minutes today to sit down and type! And what better topic to reflect upon than things I learned this year, among all the chaos and clamor?
The year is nearly over, and in one week I will be celebrating a wedding anniversary. This year, more than others in the past, I am especially grateful for my husband. You see, this year we struggled a bit more than we had before, and there were days when I wasn’t sure we’d make it. I guess after ten very good years, we were bound to hit a small bump. We fought a lot, I cried — a lot– and gave my husband the silent treatment, he hid in the garage to avoid my icy glares. Had we become terrible at communicating and getting along? Were we just too lazy to try hard enough? Were we burned out? Were we incompatible? I worried about the dreadful possibilities and What Ifs.
Then some things happened. We started to walk in each other’s shoes, to see the world from each other’s point of view. Now, with our anniversary just seven short days away, I am feeling as though my worries and doubts have been swept away by a giant cosmic broom. Okay, that was a bit sappy, but after surviving the year and every obstacle that presented itself, I am looking with joyful anticipation into the future. Both my husband and I have grown this year, trough trial and error (lots of error), tough decision making, sheer stubbornness, and a refusal to give up on ourselves or each other. It wasn’t always easy, but we grew together and moved forward as a couple.
When we tied the knot, I was unsure that I could be a good spouse. The demands, real and perceived, seemed too intimidating, and I spent many years feeling like a perpetual failure. I am very lucky that my husband never gave up on me, because there were days when I wanted to give up on myself. Many people use the term “better half” in jest, but in our case, I truly believe that he is mine. He is the one who completes me, complements me, and tempers me. And if you ask him, he will tell you that I am his better half for the same reason. It took a few years to get to this point, but thank God for the situations that brought us here!
So, to tie things up neatly, on to what I have learned. A marriage, or any long-term romantic relationship for that matter, is not a complete thing upon inception. It’s more like an empty vessel which must be filled to be of any use. The couple must contribute constantly to the relationship, creating an abundance of memories, warmth, forgiveness, trust, encouragement, and of course, love. A full vessel will help the couple remain resilient through the tough times. A vessel that isn’t constantly being refilled will produce nothing for the relationship. My biggest mistake over the years has been neglecting to contribute as much to my marriage as my husband deserves.
I’m really lucky that he is about the most patient person I know, because despite my flaws, he is still here. And yes, I give myself some credit for sticking with him despite his flaws. 😉 This year we both learned how valuable our individual contributions are to our marriage. A good friend of mine who once gave me invaluable marriage advice would call this ‘growing together’. What better way to grow together than to tell our significant other “I choose you every day” during the difficult times. So, I am delighted to wrap up my eleventh year of marriage with a new found wisdom and a deeper appreciation of what I have (everything).