Marriage is not easy. Making a marriage work is even harder. The reality is that you are not in love all the time. You love each other even though sometimes you cant stand each other. The more I think about it, the more I am of the opinion that if you are in a successful marriage, you are lucky. You are so very lucky. As I get older I realise that the impact of your family of origin on your being, your psyche is enormous. And the reality is that few people when they marry have the same world view. Sometimes Jason and I have such different views on simple domestic life that I feel frustrated. I feel like shouting: “What’s the matter with you? You cant really believe that, can you?”. Then I have to stop and remind myself that he is not me. That we are an “us”, but we are still him and me. When we first started our relationship, this caused me much distress. After all wasn’t the objective of a good marriage to become an “us”? That’s what happened in the movies, right? After all, wasn’t wanting a separate personality after marriage a little bit selfish.
Here we are almost thirteen years down the line and I have different expectations from my marriage. I now know that we will always be separate entities. That we cant live in each others skin. That I cant climb in his head, dream his dreams, live his life for him. Does that make me sad? No it doesn’t. I am fine. We are still an “us”, a couple, a partnership. We are still a family. And you know what I like being me. And I like the fact that he is separate from me. I like the fact that there are little parts of him that I will never know or understand. I don’t really want to be in a relationship with myself. I am Ok. He’s Ok. We are OK.
Some of this was a road that we walked together. Some of this realisation was about my own growth. We are both more comfortable in our skin, with ourselves. We like ourselves. We like each other. We like being married. We have weathered the storms. We know that we are here to stay.
We trust each other. We now know that good marriages are about hard work. Does this mean I don’t believe in love. No it does not. I just believe that a marriage is even more complex then just love. Love will get you there. Hard work will keep you there. And we both believe that we have to keep going. This may be strange for a liberal, atheist, feminist but I believe in marrying for life. I really want to be married for life. I hold my marriage vows sacred. They are a commitment that I made. They are my word. I wrote my own vows. I chose the words I spoke, the promises I made. They were mine and I will keep them. They were mine to give and I gave them. I am not talking about staying in an abusive relationship, a relationship that includes pain. I am talking about not walking out because something more exciting comes alone. Because, you are going through a bad patch.
I want my sons to see the reality of marriage. I want them to understand that marriage is for life but needs a whole lot of work. I want them to see us work at it. I want them to see us apologise to each other.
Lastly, I want to dance the funky chicken on my 50th wedding anniversary. Is that too much to ask?