Today I celebrate five years of marriage with Jeff. I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage lately and in the words of Melanie Shankle,
“I know that every marriage is more complicated than it appears to be on the surface. It can be a delicate dance of romance, hurt feelings, love, driving carpool, cooking dinner, dreams and a lot of work. It’s hard to know why some marriages survive and others don’t, other than by some combination of pure stubbornness, grit and a lot of prayer.” Church of the Small Things
I think about all of the long standing marriages that have woven a web of love and stability around me my entire life. My parents, both sets of grandparents, Mema and Deedad, aunts, uncles and friends whose marriages have stood the test of time. I think about the marriages that have failed and why- my first one included. I've come to this conclusion. Hills and valleys. It’s all about going through the hills and valleys of life and marriage. Going through it together and trusting that the person beside you will always be there. It's about TRUST. Period. There will be days when you think your spouse hung the moon and you thank God for allowing you to share your life with this amazing person. Then let’s just be real, there are days when you just want to smack him and for the life of you it’s impossible to see why he can’t look at one of the many calendars (dry erase in the hall, Google Shared on the computer, Google calendar on his phone, etc. ) to know what is going on for the week and yet he continues to look at you like a deer in headlights when you say “we have to be at the school in 30 minutes for such and such. Didn’t you check the schedule”. Hills and valleys. But what I am most thankful for are all of the times in between when he sees the real me - the one no one else really ever sees and he doesn’t run screaming for the hills. You know, the one with PMSing “I’d just as soon smack you as look at you“ type of moods, the one who comes in from work and needs to share every excruciating detail about her day with 25,000 words or more, the panicked woman on the inside when the medical test come out questionable and the one who really has no idea what she’s going to make for dinner pretty much every single night. Yes, that one- he loves her just as much as he loves the one everyone else sees. That is just one of the many things I’m thankful for. There are days when it’s sweet and romantic and we gross our kids out by holding hands and smooching in the kitchen. There are days when it’s not so pretty and a commitment we made five years ago, no really more like eight, to stick it out to the end is all that is holding it together. Well, that and God working behind the scenes to soften stubborn hearts. So today, I am thankful for my partner through the hills and valleys. I am thankful to have him go through the messiness of life with me. Because while neither of us are perfect, the one thing we know is that neither of us is going anywhere. He is my rock. We are in it for the long haul. Through kids, job loss, illness, aging parents, and all of the other things life throws at us along the way. Side by side, trudging up those hills out of the valleys.