The view around here lately:
In order: a snowy coneflower, a snowy birdbath, cat tracks on our porch, and an icicle just outside our upstairs bathroom window.
Don left yesterday morning and I confess to having a bad case of the blues the rest of the day. My little girl was also in a funk. Even this morning, she keeps looking for him. It breaks my heart.
I miss him.
Believe me, I’m no expert on marriage. I only know that Don and I have a great marriage that just gets better with time. After last year when we were away from each other for a total of seven months, being together every day for the last four months has been simply wonderful. I am profoundly grateful for our relationship, for our marriage. And I’m proud of it.
We often find ourselves saying something like “I’m so lucky I found you”. Or “How did we get so lucky?”
But really, I’m going to stop saying that. Luck had nothing to do with it. Both of us made mistakes before we met each other. Both of us had ‘issues.’ Both of us felt fear. Both of us were afraid of commitment. Both of us were vulnerable. But we were willing to change our patterns, to try a new way, to take a risk and learn and grow and say I’m sorry and say I love you and face our deepest fears.
That isn’t luck. That’s hard work.
I successfully avoided marriage until I was in my forties. I wasn’t ready to commit and I knew it. If I had married in my younger years, I would have been divorced. I was self-aware enough to know that truth about myself in the years before I met Don. In addition to that, I have never been someone who fell prey to the pressure to be part of a couple. I didn’t need a man to ‘complete me’ or validate me as a woman. Somewhere along the way in my youth, I learned that. I held fast to that.
It was a new and challenging and somewhat scary wrinkle when Don came into my life. Did I want to get involved? Wouldn’t it be easier not to? Of course. But I knew this guy was special and I had a glimmer, just a glimmer, of what might be. I had to open a door and slowly let him in. I was a fully functioning, happy adult woman before I met Don. He simply added another wonderful dimension to my life, one that I never take for granted and one that has enriched my life ever since the day we met.
Love isn’t enough. I humbly submit that there must be mutual respect as well. And liking. I like my husband. If for some reason we hadn’t fallen in love, he would still be my friend. He is my friend.
And Trust. Oh, there has to be trust. I wouldn’t give a fig for a relationship without trust.
We’ve worked hard at this relationship. We work hard on our marriage.
Not all marriages are happy. I know that. I’ve seen many of my friends divorce. There’s been divorce in my immediate family. Sometimes people grow apart or betray each other or get married for the wrong reasons. I think so many people get married for the wrong reasons, leaving an opening, a gap, where there is space for an affair or indifference or dislike or lack of trust to slowly insert its malignancy into the fabric of the marriage.
You know, I’ve never been one to sit around with other women and bash my husband, whether it’s purely playful or deadly serious. I’ve never understood that. I don’t feel comfortable making fun of either my husband or our marriage. It’s an easy laugh, I guess, but at what cost? I respect my husband too much for that. I know, every day, that I am blessed by the presence of this man in my life, by our marriage.
As Don says, it’s the thing I’m the most proud of. It’s our proudest accomplishment.
And you know what? Luck had nothing to do with it.