The Good Hard Work Of Marriage
Today marks the 7 year wedding anniversary for Daniel and myself. Anniversaries are important. They are so much more than simple dates on a calendar. Anniversaries not only represent the date but all of the accompanying time that has passed since the original event. Anniversaries mark the length of friendships, romances, marriages, and all other important human connections. These special dates honour not just the good times but also the difficult times - without which we would not know true happiness. Our triumphs are made greater by failure and achievements more glorious because of the hardships endured. A marriage deserves special recognition and honour because it is a true test of love, friendship, respect, and the adoration for one another that supersedes the very worst of times that marriage has to offer.
Seven years ago today we stood in front of our closest friends and family and said vows that we would be together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, until death do us part. We were young and our worries at the time were so insignificant that the reality of living up to these vows seemed easy. All so very possible. Then, we bought a house. We bought a dog, a car, and thought about buying a zoo. We started our careers. Three years after all of that we added our first child and two years later our second. Our workload, stress, and responsibility skyrocketed into a new category of overwhelming insanity, and what once seemed so simple became hard work.
When we take on the title of "parent" we often worry so much about being good moms and dads that we forget to be good spouses. So much of our energy is poured into the kids that our partners are left to deal with the tired, overstretched, and worried shells of our former selves. It's no mystery as to why approximately half of all marriages fail. It is so important to take a step back and remember exactly why you love your partner and why the good hard work of marriage is worth it. I work hard at my marriage because it has brought me everything that makes me happy. I work hard at my marriage because I want my children to know what a real relationship is like; that having disagreements is part of life and finding resolution and forgiveness is what matters. I work hard at my marriage because I love the life we have and every bit of it is worth the effort. I work hard at my marriage so that my kids seek out future partners who provide for them in ways much greater than just financially. I work hard for my marriage because, when obstacles arise, chaos ensues, and the dust settles, my husband is always there, standing by my side. I work hard for my marriage because my kids are as much me as they are my husband. I work hard for my marriage because when all is said and done he is the one who pushes me to be the very best version of myself yet loves me even when I am at my worst.
I haven't been married long enough to pass on any how-to's when it comes to making a marriage work. I have no secret recipe or pearl of truth that fixes all. I can, however, tell you that it is hard work. But, like anything you do in life, the harder you work at it the better it becomes. Like all relationships, marriages go through seasons. Right now we are in a particularly challenging season of life and that's okay. Together we will weather the storm until the clouds part and the sun shines again. It is all worth it and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.
Yesterday, we marked our 7 year anniversary by pulling back from the daily grind and simply enjoying each others company with a dinner out - an activity which we rarely have an opportunity to partake in. We had the best time together: we drank, we laughed, we reminisced. Walking a few miles in the shoes of our old lives before we had all the responsibilities of raising two highly dependent children, the worry of paying bills, and the chaos that simply is life. Spending a few precious hours alone proved to us that, when we strip everything back, nothing has really changed between us in the 7 years that we have been married. As a (quite obviously) wise man named Gilbert K. Chesterton once said, “the wise old fairy tales never were so silly as to say that the prince and the princess lived peacefully ever afterwards. The fairy tales said that the prince and princess lived happily ever afterwards; and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other.” And quite simply, that is marriage.