When the one month shy of 23 year old young woman and the just turned 26 year old young man stood before God and man and repeated those vows, all they could think of was jumping on each other’s bones later that evening and living happily ever after. That was me and my husband. We were kids taking a try at being grown ups and striking out on our own. Fast forward these many years later and it’s become common place to hear “You guys make it look so easy!” or “Wish my marriage could be like that!”
With eighteen notches on the marriage belt, it has been nothing but easy. Fun. Yes. Hilarious. Yes. Adventurous. Yes. Easy. Certainly not! Those marriage vows came home to roost in more ways than one.
To Have And To Hold. We soon learned that we couldn’t just choose the good over the bad. It’s a package deal. When he got on my nerves with his laissez-faire attitude and his whatever comes what may mentality I had to have and hold it. When I irked his nerves with my strictly by the book, plan fifty years in advance staying within the lines mentality, he had to have and hold it. Two totally opposite creatures slamming into each other day in and day out made for some interesting arguments over the years. Some we laugh about now. Some with regret.
For Better And For Worse. I didn’t sign up to be poor when I got married. After all I came from a two parent home where food was always in the fridge, the bills were always paid and our house was clean and well kept. Apartment living was supposed to be a two year stint. Not a five year one. Having one car between the two of us really tried my patience on most days. Having to live without some things I even enjoyed during my college years was the hardest part. I went from using Victoria’s Secret products to Vaseline overnight. Our combined income barely paid the bills and going to Fuddrucker’s was considered a treat! Steak sandwich, chili cheese fries, and a milk shake please!
In Sickness And In Health. The occasional flu. Infertility. Surgeries. Parental illnesses on both sides. Caretaking roles. Our parents were hale and healthy standing as witnesses to our union then. It’s a different story these days. My dad walks with a limp from a knee surgery. His mom is on blood pressure meds. His dad is on glucose meds. My mother is no longer with us.
Til Death We Do Part. We joke around that in heaven we know we won’t be married. But we made a pact to at least live next door to each other. He is my best friend after all. Best friends don’t let best friends live in heaven by themselves! I shudder to think of the inevitable but know what God’s grace has done for countless of other couples before and He will do it with us.
So Help Me God. There has been nothing easy about two polar opposite individuals living out life together. We have said some hurtful things. We have had to make it right. We have had to ask God to help us through some tough spots. Nothing we have done has been under our own volition. Going to bed angry was not a habit we kept. Not speaking to each other for days wasn’t either. Not trusting each other with our finances, our bodies, and our dreams wasn’t going to work. We confronted the issues at hand, asked for each other’s forgiveness and tried to do it better. All easier said than done. All part of what makes it work.
Yeah. We make married life look easy. At least on Sundays. At least when we post a selfie on social media. At least when we entertain in our home. The rest of them days are all about working hard at doing right by God, ourselves and each other.