The other day when I was signing on to my Yahoo account I saw a headline: “Gwyneth Paltrow Wonders if She Should have Stayed Married.” I admit I did not read the article but my immediate thought was what the heck were you thinking when you got divorced. What was marriage to her?
Before I go any further I will tell you I have never been divorced so I am speaking from a point of view, of which I have no first-hand knowledge. Second if you are in an abusive relationship get out, you can not fix it. I have seen and experienced this by both female and male abusers. They got that way without you, aka before you, and they can only change themselves without you. An abusive person must become whole alone, you can not be one of the tools to resolve it. Lastly I don’t have a red phone, nor do I know anyone with a red phone line directly to God, so I am not anti-divorce there are times I am sure it is the better choice, nor am I against same-sex marriages, and lastly God has not whispered in my ear that what I am about to say is absolute truth. I do believe a life with someone who makes you better and encourages you to be all you should be is invaluable. I digressed there with my disclaimer.
Back to the subject of marriage is hard work. For so many reasons and with so many challenges many marriages fail. Marriage is the only friendship where there is no time out and you can each step away and perk on the conflict or change. Marriage is the only family relationship where there is not a stage when you leave and strike out on your own and start over. In a marriage there is no physical time out, you live in the same place. Hence in the good and the bad, in sickness and health you are stuck together, and it takes a special sort of relationship to thrive. It takes a relationship where each of you get to drive for a while and the other is willing to let you lead on and have faith you will drive the relationship in a manner it will be sustained when you reach the destination. A marriage is where you want the other person to aspire and reach toward their dreams knowing that if they do that they will be better in the marriage, even if the journey your marriage takes for that time is a little circuitous. Your partner is there supporting, if not cheering, you on. Being a spouse is being the person who is the strong one or the voice of reason when you don’t want to be, but knowing that this is your time to be so. It is also knowing that if it were not true your partner would know intuitively that it was there time to fill that role and do so. A marriage is a relationship that makes you better and want to be better, not seeking for yourself. A marriage is two people with the same fundamental core values, but who don’t always see the same way to achieve those. You get how the other person’s life experiences make them look things in a way you can not imagine You don’t see their point of view or method as wrong, but an amazing difference that makes you a more respectful open person, not just of your partner but of humanity. A marriage is ever-changing. The partners know when the change is an endangerment to the relationship and fight back, but recognizing when it is just change and together you will ride your way through this change as you have done before and will do so many more. The relationship of a marriage is the only place you can truly let your guard down and be your most honest, vulnerable and raw self, knowing that your spouse is there for you only wanting what is best for you. Not there to fix, exploit, use or change you but be with you unconditionally. Marriage is hard because there is no rule book and what works for you, only works for you two because of you and your journey. It is ever-changing.
I have been married for over 34 years and I find myself reflecting on so much right now as we are on the cusp of making decisions that will affect us as we move forward. There is no easy answers, no sure things, no promises that what we choose will not make our life more difficult. Yet I don’t worry that we will not come out on the other side of this together. When we married all those years ago life was so different and our expectations don’t even come close to the life we live today, and yet I can not imagine having traveled this life with anyone else. Were there hard times and difficult moments? It is never all smiles, nor always easy, and at times we were unsure and sometimes we were fraught with great difficulty. Yet I know that life with RangerSir my life has been richer and better because I traveled it with him, not someone else and not alone. Marriage has not been easy, but it has made my life the best it could be.