For those of you who are readers of the mega-blog dooce, you know that she and her husband announced that they are on a trial separation this week. I used to read dooce pretty religiously a few years ago, but in recent months I've found her to be significantly less relatable and I've sort of strayed. Regardless, the announcement of her separation affected me and got me thinking a lot about marriage. As usual this post is a few steps above stream-of-conciousness, so if it's difficult to follow I apologize. I would also like to reiterate that I am speaking only of my marriage here and do not mean to comment on anyone else's.
Any newly-engaged person can tell you that one of the most frequent platitudes that people dispense when they find out you're getting married is, "marriage is work." As the children of divorced parents we went into marriage fully aware of the costs should we fail. Though many in our situation are cynical about marriage because of past experiences, I found that it gave us an even greater determination to succeed.
I think that I've been lucky in the husband department because I married my best friend, a man that has somehow always understood me better than I ever understood myself. This made our relationship and subsequent marriage one of the easiest things in my life. Though I always try to find a way to doubt it or question it, it's simply the most stable, consistent thing I know. We've been through our fair share of pain, hardship, and separation, and we still have a lot more to go through, but I like to think that we've set a solid base that could weather any storm.
That said, every marriage has strengths and weaknesses; indeed, when you pull together two imperfect people all you can expect is more imperfection. What I find interesting is that my marriage (at least my half of it) strongly reflects my own strengths and weaknesses at a person. For example, I'm a natural-born communicator and have no problem expressing my opinion, thoughts or feelings. As much as I try to keep stuff in, it all finds a way out somehow because it's just how I express myself. Along with being excessively communicative, however, comes a tendency to overanalyze and hold grudges. I also have difficulty trusting, meaning that I'm constantly afraid that the floor will collapse out from under me and I'll be alone, abandoned. For his part, Rob is less of a verbal communicator but is excellent at sensing when I'm in an emotionally precarious situation and (generally) at doing the right things to help ease me out of it.
Over the course of the last nine years together, Rob and I have achieved a rhythm that sometimes came naturally, but most times required a few growing pains here and there. Looking back on it I like to think it's been relatively smooth, but the truth is we fought pretty damn hard to get where we are and have a lot more fighting to do. For me, I don't think there's anyone in the world more worth fighting for, and I'm determined to make this work and determined to make sure that we support each other in the best and most mutual way possible. I know Rob feels the same way, even if he isn't as verbal about it.
I hope this doesn't come across as self-righteous; I don't mean to imply that I know what can fix anyone's marriage but my own, and I don't mean to imply that I think I have all the answers or that people who face divorce/separation should just try harder. I know from my parents and Rob's that sometimes things just don't work out and it is not my place to judge anyone's situation but my own.
All I am trying to get across in this post is that though we may have shrugged off the platitudes and defiantly forged ahead, we always took and should continue to take time to reflect on the path that got us here. And of course remember how lucky we are to have each other and to have the opportunity to build a life together.
If you made it through all that, as always, kudos! And have a great weekend!