Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Now don't get me wrong - marriage isn't one hundred percent perfect every moment of every day. People aren't perfect. I'm certainly not! Even my hubby has a couple small imperfections. It's really just a matter of choice.
You see, I'm not easy to live with, I know. I'm moody and I'm a perfectionist and that is not an easy combination. How does he do it? How does he live with the grouchy, irritable, complaining ME? He chooses to look past all that and sees only the good me - the one who loves him back, the one who loves to spend time with him and fix myself up for him and make him chocolate cake. He has these "rose-colored glasses" through which he only sees my strengths and that, my friends, is the Secret to a happy marriage and a happy life!
So I try my best to put aside my own criticisms and fault-finding to give in return what he gives to me: forgiveness. That would be the second rule of marriage, if there was a book on the matter. There are times, I admit, that I push the boundaries of those filters he wears and bring upon myself the sadness of forcing a harsh reality upon his eyes. And I don't like it so I am angry at myself for doing so. There's no one to blame but me. If I left him to his own devices we wouldn't be in the situation so I can't blame him at these moments. No, when there is discontent and discord in our relationship, it's all because of me. I am the one who takes longer to forgive.
But I am learning!
You spend enough time with someone, you begin to pick up on the things they do. I have learned from my husband that the most important relationship in your life - marriage - is a two-way street. That we can forgive each other and, sometimes more importantly, we can forgive ourselves. I've learned that life goes on, that mistakes happen but that we can move on and be happy. I used to hang to things - you know, like a filing cabinet in my mind where all events were stored, happy or sad. When he would do something that made me angry, I would rush to that file cabinet and pull out all the things he'd ever done wrong and flaunt them before him. I lived so much in the past that I didn't always remember that those things were in the past. He, on the other hand, lives for now, for the future, which is why he forgives so easily. Why dwell on the past? It's over and done. Enjoy now! Forget the things you don't like and cherish the things that were good!
So now I have given up that file cabinet. I dumped it. Just pushed it over a cliff and brushed off my hands. And it feels so good! No more heavy burdens of past mistakes or embarrassing follies! No more fighting about the same things for years and years! No wonder he's so happy all the time!
I still have my moments. I don't bring up past events but sometimes I get irritated and want to vent.
He still puts up with me.
You know, there's something about being married to the same person for a long time that is comforting. Yeah, sure, that "new" feeling wears off after the first year or so. And then kids come along or careers or both. All that is just a refiner's fire. It shapes and molds us and we learn from it. Here's what I have learned:
When someone sticks with you through sleepless nights of being pregnant or waking up with a baby or being sick, you know he really loves you.
When you feel overwhelmed by bills and schedules and you call him on the phone at work, crying, and he stops to talk to you and calm you down by simply saying "It's all right," you know he really loves you.
When you feel moody and ugly and you stay in your pajamas all day and don't do the dishes and don't shower or put on makeup, and he comes home and tells you how beautiful and wonderful you are, you know he really loves you.
When you scream in frustration and throw a fit and lock yourself in your room because the kids are driving you crazy and you've had enough - only to emerge 20 minutes later to a clean kitchen and kids helping daddy get the house clean for mommy, you know he really loves you.
When you get up in the morning with a million things to do but you put it all off to bake some cookies and take them to his work, you know you really love him.
When you have those moments of "what is going on with my life!" and all you can find good in it is the fact that you have a terrific spouse, you know you really love each other.
And here's my favorite. When you get mad at him for leaving his shoes and socks in the middle of the living room floor but then realize he didn't even say a word about having to help fix dinner, you feel kind of stupid. And you know he loves you. Really loves you.
Those rose-colored glasses sure come in handy.
So when I say marriage is bliss, I mean marriage is what you make of it. Yes, there will be hard times. There will be moments when you get mad or frustrated but those are just moments. They don't make a life, they just pepper it once in a while. So you laugh about it and move on. You remember the good things and you especially remember how the other person forgives you when you aren't so easy to live with.
And you always keep in mind that this is a lifetime commitment. Your parents made a lifetime commitment when they had you. Your siblings come in to a lifetime commitment. You make a lifetime commitment when you have children. You don't give up on these people when they do something wrong. They are family!
So you don't give up on the one person you actually had a choice in making a lifetime commitment to. You just don't. You keep that commitment because, let's face it, when you're old and your hair turns gray (or falls out) and your body isn't as sexy as it used to be, there's one person right there beside you who remembers when all that was different. He was there when you looked so beautiful in your white dress, when you weren't so pretty in the labor room, when those miracles were born and you shared a special, tender, God-given moment and had the realization that you both just created a new life. You were there when he graduated from college, when he got his first job and when he got let-go, when he could play baseball without his knees giving out, when he could still carry you in his arms (because he was stronger then and also because you weren't so ... much more of a woman!).
Who else would want you now?
I'm keeping the guy who still thinks of me as that cute little 18 year-old he first met. And I like that he doesn't mind the fluff I've put on around the middle. He's got long arms, they go a long way.
Bliss? Not always. But comfortable? You could say that.
"Love is blind," they used to say. Thank goodness it is!