My sixth anniversary has passed (it was on Nov 30th), but I just had to get this post out anyway.
For some of you (mostly family members who have been slowly going through my blog posts) you already know that my marriage was “in trouble”. At least, it was SORT OF in trouble, because no relationship is 100% perfect all the time. I mean, I have a tendency to overreact and it doesn’t help that I have high anxiety and PTSD due to feelings of abandonment growing up. So while SOME people would shrug off their husband saying something like “I can’t do this” or “this isn’t working” and realize he was just saying it due to stress of the moment, I would see every instance of this as him packing his bags and leaving me. Yeah. I would jump to that conclusion EVERY time he said it.
So after many months of this stress weighing on the both of us due to financial problems and just the daily stresses of life that will ALWAYS be there, we finally went to a counselor and got that crap all straightened out. We’re good now. In fact, we’re BETTER than before. Stonger, happier, more confident.
But I’m not here to talk about all the ugly details. I’m here to shout from the rooftops that WE MADE IT!!! We have faced a lot of really tough shit over the past six years. I mean the kind of stuff that might break most couples up that aren’t adultery or abuse. MONEY was a HUGE issue for us. He would have it, I wouldn’t. He would lose his job in circumstances beyond his control and I couldn’t pick up the slack because retail just doesn’t pay that much. We’ve faced times where we would literally have to put every gas purchase and car repair on the credit card or else he wouldn’t be able to get to work. You can’t take transit when you work a job that requires you bring all your own tools. And we’re not talking hammers and nails; we’re talking power saws and belt sanders and all those other large power tools. So yeah, we kinda needed the car.
Anyway, what I’m saying is we’ve been broke and struggling to get by for most of our life together and just when we think we’re going to get ahead, something inevitably happens to derail our plans. Some of those things aren’t necessarily “bad”, after all, I would NEVER consider my getting pregnant a year earlier than our “plan” as a bad thing. I love my son way too much and am a firm believer that he was born when he was because we needed to grow as a couple. Until that point when I discovered the two pink lines, I was TERRIFIED of getting pregnant. I was so convinced that my husband would stop finding me desirable and that I would be a horrible mother, (insert other ridiculous thoughts here) etc! But you know what? Having this little boy in our lives has given new life to our relationship in a way that having three kitties just couldn’t replace. We NEEDED our boy that year because it made the transition to a new house and a new city make more SENSE even when things got tough. It forced us to really start paying attention to our finances, and to actually take things like Life Insurance into real consideration. Before we had our boy, Life Insurance was a luxury and an expense we couldn’t afford. We had it at one point, but we let the payments slide when things got tough, and we shouldn’t have. So in a way, we were forced to grow up a little more and that’s all thanks to our son.
Anyway, I’m not really getting into that either. My real point in all of this is that shit happens, and it seems to happen just as you think you’re getting ahead. But that’s what defines a good marriage from a bad one: whether or not you can handle the inevitable, or if you break away and cut your losses.
The reason that we’re still together is NOT because we love each other, though that definitely does factor into it. The real reason is because we REFUSED TO GIVE UP. We held on, dug our heels into the mud, and said “no, screw you Life! You will NOT break us!” and then we did whatever we could to survive the worst of it. Was it hard? Absolutely. Messy? You bet! Were there times when we considered giving up and taking the easy way out? Of course! But let me ask you something: If you had the choice between trying to dig yourself out of an avalanche or having someone with you to help, even just a little bit, would you still choose to go it alone, knowing that you might never get out, but if you had help you at least had a chance of surviving? Of course not! That’s my point!
See, in all the times that life has tossed another pile of snow down our tunnel, we both had the tenacity to stay together. One of us could have easily said “screw this” and jet-skied themselves out of the tunnel to leave the other to suffocate and freeze to death, but there was only room for ONE person on that jet ski and we both know it. More than likely we knew the other person would suffer greatly without us, and that’s just not fair. You don’t leave those you care about to die in the snow when you could have saved them. Not only that, but how do we know that in taking the jet ski, we’re not just setting ourselves up for an even bigger avalanche to fall and trap us?
So we stayed in the tunnel, slowly digging our way out. And because we were together we were able to keep going. We were warmer in that tunnel and we at least had someone to talk to; someone to keep us going when we were tired and convinced we were never going to make it.
And then slowly, we started to see the sunlight pouring through, and we would catch glimpses of the sky. The snow would fall, push us back down, but it wouldn’t be as heavy as before and because we’d already climbed up through the worst of it, that little bit of snow wasn’t so hard to dig out of. So we just keep climbing, where others might have grabbed the jet ski and taken the easy way out a long time ago, and while that snow is still falling and we don’t know when it will end, we at least remain confident that we’ll make it out someday, stronger than we were before.
That’s what a marriage is, my friends. It’s not all romance and passion and happily ever afters; it’s work. It’s hard, messy, depressing work. It’s trying to dig yourselves out of an avalanche in the hardest of times and seeing the glimpses of the blue sky and sun in the best of times. It’s knowing that when the snow falls you have someone there to help dig you both out, and it’s having someone there with you to appreciate the beauty of the coming sunlight. It’s letting that jet ski sit in the corner, collecting dust and cobwebs, and knowing that while it’s so tempting to use it, it’s not worth leaving your partner behind. It’s letting that jet ski rust until it’s no longer that appealing after all, and it’s standing beside your partner years into the future, possibly much longer than you’d planned you’d get out of the snow, and looking back into that tunnel and realizing all that digging was worth it.