[From my journal this morning…]
Week 227/Day 1589
“I feel unsteady and a twinge of fear. Like I’m learning to walk all over again… As tho a toddler who has just discovered the real purpose of her legs…
Can I love (again)? Can I really love? I woke up this morning with the reminder that my spouse is NOT GOD. I can’t/ shouldn’t be angry with him because he has failed me (large or small). He is a mere man. Clay feet and all. He can never FULLY satisfy me [although he does a great job trying. ;-) ]”
In 48 hours my husband Travis and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Our whirlwind courtship and marriage has seen a flurry of high highs and low lows. Although we met thru great commendations from a long time mutual friend (thanks TRob! We love you!), twenty years ago when we decided to say “I do” we honestly didn’t know each other very well. When we married, I had a toddler from a previous relationship, absolutely no idea why people should marry and more “baggage” than a slow boat to China. All I knew was that my future husband looked good, felt good and seemed to care more for me than any man I’d ever known. That sounded like a good enough reason to marry him to me, huh?
In actuality we were a divorce statistic waiting to happen.
The book “When Bad Things Happen To Good Marriages” says, “Marriage is the closest bond that is possible between two people. Legally, socially, emotionally, physically, there is no other means of getting closer to another human being. It is this extraordinary closeness which propels us into matrimony. We long to belong to another person that knows us and loves us like nobody else in the world. This kind of intimacy is the rocket fuel of marriage. It is what enables couples to transcend themselves and explore the universe of love. Without intimacy, life becomes horribly cold and lonely. So we plunge ourselves into marriage and give our heart in exchange for another to discover the deepest and most radical expression of human connection possible.” (p 51)
Plunge indeed… Twenty years with the love of my life has taught me a lot. (And I know there is still so much more to learn.) Marriage can (and will) plunge you into depths of despair or penetrating passion, into abstruse anger or encompassing ecstasy … And sometimes all of the above. But mostly you will have to learn to walk in the regular-ness of life, in the reality that, “We have been poisoned by fairy tales.” (Anais Nin). That although the heat of passion and “marital bliss” were never meant to last, lasting love can and does exist. I’m a witness…
In our twenty years, my sweet baby-- my “Big T” and I have taken some hard hits from life. We cared for both my ill and aging parents until they each died. We buried a handsome (beautiful, to me), smart, funny 14 year old son after he- in a moment of utter foolishness- strangled himself to death in his closet. We lost material stuff (houses, cars, etc.) often thru our own lack of planning and discipline, but sometimes due to circumstances beyond our control. We’ve cried and laughed, argued and agreed, embraced and denied, loved and hated. We’ve seen storms and sunshine. And most recently, just when it seemed our bond was truly unshakeable-- unbreakable, our marriage experienced the test of all time, my husband’s decision for unfaithfulness… twice... as in with two different people.
For the record, I hate the word affair. (At least as it is applied to a person breaking his or her marriage vow.) Last year my guy had two brief infidelities, with friends of mine, no less. When I say that I know the depths of despair in a marriage I think you will accept that I am credentialed. Yep, bona fide and card carrying. This time last year, at a time when we would normally be celebrating, I was separated from my man, the man that I love, as he was trying to figure out what had become of himself, his promise and our marriage.
I’m going to write about it all.
For now I just want you to know that I love my life. Unsteady as it may often feel. Like the little one who is just beginning to walk, I am discovering my true purpose. I love my husband, as imperfect as he (and every single one of us) is. And I love my life. I’m happy to be me...
Big T’s butterfly.
Brenton, Bryant, Brooke & Bradley’s mama.
Your friend, acquaintance or earthly neighbor.
Life is surely hard. But life is good. ( And I'd like to tell you why.)
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." Proverbs 31:25 (ESV)