I don’t know what to write about marriage. After all, I’ve only been married a few years–7 to be exact. What do I know of marriage?
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t want to be married or have children.
It was the natural projection of my life, something I’d revered from an early age. Family, and having your own, was of the utmost importance.
I dreamed of the day I would meet someone and how our life would be, all the silly schoolgirl fantasies rolled up in my mind. Romance, adventure, white picket fences. Laugh if you will, but nobody could tell my naïve heart any differently.
From the minute I met my husband, things weren’t what I expected. I don’t remember what my expectations were, if I even had any realistic ones. But I do remember thinking that he wasn’t my type. He was a good friend, he was funny, but he was all wrong from the image I had in my mind.
Turns out I was the one who was wrong. Though there was no lightening bolt jolting me with an electric force, no whispers of “this is the one,” there was a quiet subtlety and a slow unfolding of friendship into caring and commitment. Instead of fancy restaurants, there were nights of watching rented movies and ordering pizza. A far cry from the grand ideas I had, but in retrospect, still grand to me.
Eventually children came along and all the busyness, stress and sleeplessness that goes along with tiny ones. I was consumed with new motherhood, holding the baby, feeding the baby, entertaining the baby, making things perfect for the baby.
I didn’t have time for my marriage, time to invest in just the two of us. We hit a lot of bumps, we had a lot of tension. We rarely connected and once the kids went to bed we zoned out, lost in our own little tired worlds. This wasn’t what I had pictured as my happily ever after.
I didn’t know anything about marriage. I didn’t know how to make it thrive. It didn’t look like the image in my mind from all those years ago.
I wrestled and I rattled. I was exasperated and tired. I complained and nagged. And in the meantime, the trash was always emptied without me asking, the car always had enough gas.
He calls at lunch to see how the kids and I are doing. He runs errands during his lunch break. When the kids are at Mother’s Day Out, he insists I relax and do something just for myself. He’s happy with sandwiches for dinner. He listens when I feel overwhelmed.
I thought big true love meant flowers and elaborate displays like vacations or candlelit dinners. Those were the big things, or so I thought. It turns out that the little everyday actions were actually the big things, the things that truly mattered. The big things are found in our everyday ordinary. An ordinary life, sure, but a special life that nobody could craft except for us.
So you see, I really don’t know anything about marriage, I have so much to learn still. And for that, I’m grateful.