Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on Marriage

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!

11 comments:

  1. I whole-heartedly agree with this post, lady! When the hubs and I go through something tough, it ALWAYS helps to take a look back at what we've been through. It gives us comfort and helps us deal with what's happening right now.

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  2. So, I totally loved reading this. Me and my husband have been married just over a year now, and while it is a ton of work I know we have a long way to go before we're perfectly in sync, he is my rock in every way and its so nice to hear that other people have the same commitment to each other. No matter how rough the seas, it is always worth it for us. I have way too much empathy for other people's relationships and it kind of breaks my heart to see/hear about people splitting. It's none of my business of course, I just could never fathom having that person you once loved and then one day being without them. I am so happy to hear of your happiness though, you both seem like great people who are great for each other, and I wish you both all the best!!

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  3. I always look at my marriage and think, I'm giving it all I can at every moment that I can. Some days I can give 100%, other days I can only give 10%. But I try to make the best out of every moment, and understand I'm only human. My husband is only human. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in statistics and think, "we're doomed", even in the best of moments. I'm a lot like you, I walk around waiting for the bottom to drop out (both me and my husband come from divorced families). It's natural, I think, to be guarded and not allow ourselves to be too hopeful or too happy.

    My heart hurts for all the folks that really work on their relationships but can't get it sorted out. I applaud those willing to try, and those willing to admit it when things aren't great all the time.

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  4. This post!! I for some reason have your facebook but not your blog! And this post really tackled my interest because I'm getting ready to make the huge jump myself. We've been dating for nearly 5 years now and have weathered being in 2 different countries half of that time, so thankfully, we've mastered vocal communication. But anyways, bunny trail aside, this post rocks. And I agree with your statements through and through. Thank you!!
    Sonya

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  5. I think everyone has a different mindset about marriage, but if yours is working then that's what matters most. I've never known what a real family is like because my parents were divorced before I turned two and my mother never re-married, but like you that definitely doesn't turn me off to the idea of love at all. It may have made me picky as hell about guys, but I still have hope that I'll find the person who I really want to spend the rest of my life with. I just don't want to settle and I don't think that's a bad thing because I don't want to be that person who DOES and then gets divorced. I know you can't KNOW that you'll get divorced, but I'm just saying that for me personally , I never want to feel like I got married *just because* it's what I should be doing. I do hope that it happens for me one day, though. Family is always something that's been a big part of my idea of a future.

    Great post and you and Rob are incredibly lucky to have found each other so early on! You're both really the cutest. :)

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  6. Great post. We often think that once we are married staying 'in love' just happens and it doesn't. It's a choice. It's nice to read how happy you are :)

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  7. It's interesting...I remember when I got married feeling like 'how could I ever NOT be head over heels in love with Kyle?' And yet, I've had days, weeks, months even where I thought, "I have made a terrible mistake. WHO on earth could live with this man??"

    And then somehow, I fall again, completely, endlessly, madly, in love with him.

    GAH, marriage is hard! Hard, hard, HARD. It's a refining process. Sometimes I feel like a butterfly that is constantly coming out of her cocoon thinking, "Oh, yes, NOW I understand. NOW it all makes sense." And then when things begin to fall apart, I find myself, snuggled up in a new kind of cocoon, a new kind of change and growing.

    I really appreciate this post. I always love hearing the "realness" of married people in a place like blogging that can become a little too perfect, too pat. Great post!

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  8. I have religiously followed Dooce for years as well (although I've continued reading!) and when I read her post I totally cried. It's such a heartbreaking thing.

    I loved you post as well (and am in the middle of writing post about marriage as well after reading her post). I agree with so much that you said! Marriage is work, but sometimes, it just shouldn't be. I know my life and my siblings lives were so much better after my parents divorced!

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  9. I don't think I've ever read that blog before but I just read that entry and it was very sad. I always think it's so awfully sad to see. I firmly believe that all relationship issues could have been remedied AT SOME POINT... but I think a lot of times instead of working at it, like you said above, it hurts so much people end up trying to bury it and pretend it isn't there until there is so much hurt they can't handle it anymore. I hope we'll never end up with those kind of issues. We try to talk everything out right away if we can help it.

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  10. I positively adore this post and you. It really really spoke to me.
    Love your words, lady.

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  11. Amazing post! Mirrors my thoughts on marriage too. I cried when I read dooce's post.

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