That’s how long I will have been married, when this post publishes tomorrow.
Impressed? Incredulous? Shocked? Amazed? Miraculous?
Yes. All of the above.
I was barely 23 when I got married and I now understand fully why my mom said my whole life that I shouldn’t get married before turning 30. I have lived some life. My daughter is 3. I see her baby-face in 23 year olds fresh out of college. I get it now. I was so young! We were so young- my husband 2 years older than me (who is robbing the cradle, I say, to make myself feel better about how young he looks compared to his actual age!) I sometimes don’t know how we got through those early years because we barely knew our own selves, let alone knew what marriage meant.
Now, after 10 years, we are total experts.
Oh yes. We totally are.
For example, I got impatient with my husband last week… OK OK OK actually I got angry and picked a fight.
I’m sure it was because of something silly- I don’t even remember what it was- but the REAL reason I got upset was because I kept thinking “We have been married for almost 10 years now- shouldn’t we have it figured out by now? Shouldn’t it be easy by now? Why are we still having this issue? WHEN DOES IT GET EASY?!?!” (Says the Feisty One in the relationship. HA.)
Marriage relationships are HARD. I read some cute inspirational post from a newlywed that said this shouldn’t be the case, that it is actually EASY. Thank you for enlightening me, oh non-cynical other-blogger. Now I realize that it is easy. *smirk* What she had to say was good, it was about how having a committed partner in life is a blessing and all that, but I just think she hasn’t gotten to the part where you start seeing the real you. Not just the accidental farts, the burned cooking, or the morning breath, but the REAL you.
The easy part is when the real you is awesome! Your spouse notices the kindness you showed a stranger. You notice the amazing leadership qualities in your partner. It’s amazing and fun and exciting to see how awesome the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. It really reflects well on your choices and works out great in your everyday life! Easy!
This reminds me of when our daughter was a newborn and had a huge poop blowout in the middle of the night (yes, another poop story. I can’t help it) and she had one of those long sleeve/long leg pj onesies that closed not with a zipper but with about 20 of those damn snaps. She was crying and wanted to nurse, and I was trying to hurry through the diaper change as quickly as possible. Despite being a hard sleeper her cries woke Joseph up- he immediately came to my side and asked how he could help, so I asked him to “Do the snaps.” He started snapping his fingers on both hands over her face as fast as he could, making quick motions back and forth as he snapped. Still focused on getting her pj’s back on I very firmly asked “WHAT THE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
He replied “You said to snap so I’m snapping!”
I fell in love with him again right then and there. He had no idea why I was asking him to snap but he figured the baby was crying and I knew what she needed so he better just go ahead and snap. No questions asked. Easy. (Until we actually started to try to snap up the pj’s which took forever because at 3 in the morning who has the mental capacity to match up 20 sets of snaps on the world’s tiniest set of squirmy pj’s?!)
The flip side is what I’m talking about. When it gets REAL. The emotional responses that escalate small disagreements and can lead to cold rifts in the relationship. The actions or words that mean one thing to one person but the complete opposite in the most horrible, awful way, to the other person.The internal workings of our own hearts that are flawed and inadequate. These are the are the areas that can make or break marriages.
We can respond by judging and saying the problem is the other person and slowly, secretly separating our heart from relationship. Or, we can stop, dig deep, figure out what is actually going on in our hearts, re-establish from whom we have our identity, and then choose to seek both personal healing and restoration of relationship.
I am thankful to say that Joseph and I have learned (and are still learning) to do the hard work. As I look back I am thankful that we haven’t had an easy relationship. If we did, we wouldn’t be the people who we are today- stronger, more loving, more open, more secure. We can have the heated conversation because we can be honest with where we stand, all the while secure because we know we are fighting to get on the same page, not just fighting to get our own way. As believers in Jesus we also recognize that we aren’t in this on our own, but that through the difficulties we are being shown our weaknesses and being made strong through a love greater than our own.
10 years ago I was a 23 year old girl thinking she was so in love with the groom at the end of the aisle. I look back and realize that the love I felt then is hardly anything at all compared to the love I we experience today. I know and love myself so much more, and know and love and him so much more now that the capacity for love is that much greater.
I think of the next 10 years…Maybe it will get easier, if so, that’s awesome. But I want it to get easier because I am the one who changes, my heart is more secure in who I am and because I know who I am, loved, I have a greater capacity to love. Not just in marriage but in every relationship.
Maybe I’ll be a marriage expert in the next 10 years. Keep up with me and I’ll let you know. For now, thanks for joining in my journey.
PS-To be clear I am speaking towards the heart issues I believe are common to everyone. I am no expert on abuse, addiction, infidelity, etc., and in no way am encouraging allowances for these in relationships.