My marriage is in a rocky place. And I don't just mean "some days are harder than others" — that's marriage, kids, buckle up — but we're in a place where the pendulum swings are dramatic and quick. If you would have talked to me two days ago, I was sure my marriage would end. And not in that immediate "I'm so angry I need out" kind of a way, but in a heartbreaking realization that this simply can't last. That we're no longer good together. That we bring out the worst in each other, and even though I love him, it's time to move on. Because I have to love me too. I've been mourning my marriage for the better part of a year.
And then yesterday we had a bit of a breakthrough, as we tend to do. We connected again, and I remembered him. I remembered us.
The pain is deep, though. Our issues are things like "trust" and "respect" and "communication." You know, the little things. It's hard to marry a broken person — even worse, a person who didn't realize they were broken to begin with. That's a ludicrous thing to say, of course, because we're all broken. Especially in our twenties. I have issues of my own — my own holes to fill and dings to patch — and even though it seemed like our broken pieces fit together like a puzzle, they didn't. They don't. Now I see that some of those pieces were forced together, and the gaps are starting to show. Now I see that we each have missing pieces, and we're responsible for finding them on our own.
We're good together though. We have fun, we laugh, we love deeply and fiercely. We forgive each other for being human and flawed — I've touched the core of forgiveness and I know it's real — but still. The pain? That's real too. Maybe we've come to a place where the most loving thing to do for ourselves, for each other, for the family, is to take our space and part our ways before bitterness and anger consumes our hearts.
He hates when I say stuff like that — when I sit him down and ask if he really loves me in the way that I need to be loved, and to think about whether we have anything left to give. Love has so many definitions, right? It gets muddled with romance and attraction and appreciation and companionship, but what is LOVE? Strip away all of the rom-com definitions, and love is kindness. If it isn't kind, then it isn't love. If it hurts, it isn't love. How could love hurt?
We're doing the best we can. Some days are really hard. Of course the lines get blurry when there's a child involved — we want to be good examples, and we REALLY don't want to rip his dad away from him. In a lot of ways I'm grateful that we have a reason to keep working at our relationship and to keep holding each other to the promises we made (before we knew what those promises actually meant). Because I would have been out by now, for sure. And yet, as crazy as this sounds, I think I'm a better person because I stayed.
I've grown so much in this marriage. Even if we ultimately part ways — knowing that sometimes saying goodbye is the most loving thing to do, so we can move on to new experiences and new people that bring new lessons — that will never take away from what THIS marriage has meant.
And even if we do end up separating, I won't blame our young age. Because some things are human problems, not age problems. Jumping into the adult world so quickly has made me the person I am today, and the problems we have don't expire at a certain age.
That being said, we're here. We're standing. We're holding hands, even. Despite the ups and downs and lefts and rights, there IS love.
I've started to write about my marriage for YourTango.com, which feels like the scariest, most vulnerable thing I've done yet. But if I'm going to tell my story, I'm going to tell it honestly. I'm working on pieces about being a codependent wife, and about being married to someone suffering through an addiction. I felt very alone for a long time, and I know there are people who could use my story. So I'm going to tell it.
My first pieces were a bit lighter. If you're in a young marriage or even a young relationship, I'm sure you'll relate. Go on and read them below...
You can also read Gemma's version of why SHE loves her young marriage, which got me to thinking about my own reasons.
No matter what people will tell you — and whoooo-boy, they'll tell you — there's no "right" decision for a perfect and happy life. There is no such thing as a Happily Ever After. There are highs and lows, pros and cons. Welcome to life.
In the words of the great Monica Geller...
Sometimes it sucks, sure. But today? Today I'm going to love.