|Photo by our 11 year old|
Today marks the day where I will have been married for as many years as I was single. I’m pumped that after all these years and 2 kids, I fit into that old dress again. I’m definitely not the same woman in that dress- no, no, no! Emphatically and thankfully not- nor is the man who’s still standing by my side the exact same one I walked down the aisle to. We've both grown and changed.
How have we done it? Was it commitment, being straight-out pigheaded or simply that it was just easier to keep going than to choose to quit? Depending on the day, any or all of the above. Why? Because marriage is like anything else in life.
I’m so glad more people around the world today can officially commit to each other in a variety of ways. Just this week, Taiwan declared same-sex marriage legal, for example. We got married in a church, but to me, the commitment was formed in the first few months of our relationship, years ahead of the wedding. To me, there’s a meaningful unwritten contract that any 2 people can make at any point in their journey that is affirmed by what goes on in life’s most needful moments. We’ve been married for 23 years but our commitment to each other goes back another 4. The marriage ceremony itself was simply a secondary affirmation.
If you’ve committed to something, you love it, warts and all.
My husband and I are both stubborn. There are days one can get so angry or disappointed, there’s a huge temptation to just set a match to it and watch it burn. Then, memories of all the work you’ve both put into this life flash through your mind. The good times and stories that have been written into your family’s collective history. You refuse to let an argument or perceived slight kill all that.
Being ornery gets you through the “I quit!” moments.
Needs that haven’t been met, comments that feel like attacks and not taking care of yourself can lead you to the point where even the Dalai Lama would disappoint you. You think, “Is it worth it?”. You begin listing the things you’d have to do in order to break the pattern and you pause. Problem-solving strategies to get you both to a better place replace petty grumbles.
Sometimes, you just have to stop. That gift of time can restore both you and your commitments.
I don’t have any magical tricks for any of it: love, career, family or friends. Life is tough, whatever path you take. It takes commitment. It takes some stubbornness. Sometimes it takes stopping instead of reacting, so adjustments can be made.
All I really know is, it’s worth doing with your whole self. It’s your life’s dance!