Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 5:06:56 PM
When I was young, I saw marriage as a means to an end. I fell in love with my husband for many reasons, not the least of which was his stability and the fact that I believed he would be a great father, which he is. Marriage was not as much about one man, one woman as it was about creating a family, the family I had dreamed of since I was a little girl.
When I was young, I didn’t really understand the enormous responsibility being married would bring to me. My parents had divorced, as had so many other people I had known growing up, and despite the vows of “til death us do part,” in my mind marriage didn’t seem to be something stable at all. When I was young, I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to go wrong, for my husband to stop loving me. When I was young, there was still something vaguely temporary about being married, even after I had my two children.
Now that I’m older and have been married for twenty-two years, marriage is completely different. My children have grown up and gone off to college, and my husband and I have weathered many difficult times that have brought us closer together, even as we have sometimes been beaten up by life. My marriage is the focus now – and I’ve learned that in a marriage there are not two entities, but three – my husband, me, and our marriage. I’ve come to understand that for a marriage to work and survive, the marriage itself must be bigger and more important than the two people in the relationship – that we must respect what is needed for the marriage to work before what is needed for us to individually feel ok. At times, marriage has been gut-wrenchingly difficult, but now that I’m older, it’s where I find solace and comfort and a sense of being loved that is beyond anything I could have imagined when I was young.
Staying married is a choice that my husband and I make every single day. Loving my husband this much is a gift I’ve been given after years of loving my children first. Knowing that he always, no matter what, is there for me is more important than any grand passion we shared when we were young. Going to sleep each night and saying “I love you” as we drift off is something I treasure.
When I was young, marriage was a dreamy fantasy of love and babies and all that brings. Now that I’m older, marriage is the reality of two of us together, making it work. Marriage is good.