This past week we celebrated twenty-seven years of marriage. Only this week did we finally mutually decide which song is “our song” Are you sitting down? It is the song by U2, “With or Without you.” Actually, the lyrics go, “I can’t live, with or without you.” There are moments in every healthy marriage when one is tempted to think those thoughts! In our relationship, we’ve never used the “D” word (divorce), but I’m positive most of us have had moments when GGRRRRRRRRRR, your “sweetie” isn’t so sweet!
Our marriage “rocks!” I’ve sometimes compared our relationship to two oxen yoked together pulling a plow. We are connected…a matched set and most of the time in step with each other. However, due to the nature of being connected, it is very possible to get in a “good kick” once in a while. We know each other’s God given quirks. We know when the other needs space, even if he/she doesn’t say anything. We can sense when something is bothering them. We are privy to the others specific fears, interests, preferences, etc.
The morning of our wedding day, I popped in to sy “hi” to my grandpa. I was on “cloud nine” that morning, but he made a comment that momentary popped my bubble.
He said to me, “Those feelings you have today will only last two or three monthes. After that…ahhh, it will be all work!”
I was dumbfounded and a little angry at the time. It was a reality check, however, and one of those conversations a person never forgets.
I am here to tell you that he was wrong. Those feelings did not dissipate after three monthes, although they have matured and mellowed. Romantic feelings are possible even after twenty-seven years of co-habitation, but it takes effort. It is not like falling off a horse; it is more like tending a garden. In a garden, those weeds will always be an issue. If you plant a garden and don’t check it until the Fall, you will not get a crop. So, too, with a marriage relationship…the only way you will be able to enjoy a harvest is by regularly weeding and hoeing your plot. You are kidding yourself if you think you will be able to enjoy your relationship twenty five years from now, if you are not aggressively and continually weeding, watering, and planting along the way.
In all fairness to my grandpa, I do know he and grandma had a good marriage. They did love each other, and both lived into their 90′s What a miracle! I do think however that different couples enjoy different levels of intimacy, as they stay together. Maybe this is just me, but if I’m going to choose to live with another person and make a long term committment like that, then I want my money’s worth. When we’ve encountered choppy waters, rather than just grit my teeth and try to endure, we have ruthlessly worked @ finding real solutions that work. Do whatever it takes to resolve the conflict and find understanding. Then move on. For us that hs included talking to a marriage counselor, talking to an older couple that seemed to have a good marriage, etc.
Every marriage will eventually encounter many, many of the same snags and problems….it’s just the nature of the beast! Bring two individuals together with different personalities, not to mention different genders and it is a recipe for conflict.
Pride and self -preservation are such enemies to long-term healthy relationships. They resemble the large Canadian thistles that attempt to move into a garden. Pride says,” I think a little withdrawal and silent treatment will do my mate some good. He makes me SO ANGRY!!!” Self preservation says, “No way am I going to say I’m sorry first.”
Stop for a minute when you are tempted to behave like that and think it through….Where will that behavior eventually bring you? To a place where you don’t want to be! SO, cut down those thistles…dig them up by the roots! Be an initiator, be a forgiver. Keep working at it. It is worth it! Thanks for reading, DM