Monday, 12 January 2015

What I meant to say on our anniversary (August 7th wasn't that long ago, right?)

I began penning this on our four year anniversary. I’d been up since somewhere around 3am. First the baby woke me up. Then, just as I was falling back asleep, David woke me up with his coughing & blanket scrounging. Summer colds – no fun for anyone. By 5am I figured I might as well give up on trying to get back to sleep, since the wee sma’s always give me terrible anxiety if I’m laying awake trying to sleep.

I’ve reckoned it up: 4 years married, in which we lived in 3 different countries, had 2 babies, and completed 1 PhD. As David jokingly reminded someone yesterday, we’ve been living out of suitcases for the past five years. So I’ve summed up the past four years as “not easy, but worth it”.

And now it’s quarter to ten at night on our anniversary. My plan for the day – let David sleep in until 10 or 11 and then get him to watch the kids while I took a nap. We’d have a nice relaxing day at home and then head into town for an early supper with Deacon Harrison, Walter’s Godfather, in order to celebrate Walter’s recent birthday. I’d come home refreshed & relaxed and spend part of the evening finding the perfect balance of romance & reality for this post.

In actual fact, I spent the majority of the day at the hospital. David woke up seriously ill. I drove him to the hospital and helped him check in to Emerg, then drove off with the kids to find lunch, then drove back to find out what was up, and then waited with two well behaved but not easy kids. And then it turns out that David has double pneumonia....

This brings me back around to where my thoughts were heading this morning, when I couldn’t find the words to say what I wanted to. I wanted to sell you, and my future self, the idea that with the right person marriage is easy. That with the right person at your side, you can fight the good fight & weather the storm without really having to deal with the messiness of reality. That good communication means always making the right decision & never struggling. I wanted to look back at these past four years of marriage, these past ten years together, and say YES – life is perfect and has always been perfect and will always be perfect because we are together.

That’s not reality. Reality is that marriage, like most of the things worth having in life, is a battle, and it seems to be that we either choose to fight with each other or to unite & fight against the world. And it’s messy and it’s hard and it’s not always easy and it’s so much far from the perfection I aspire to. That’s the price we pay for daring to experience life rather than observe it.

Even with all the struggles & difficulties & uncertainties & sleepless nights, we manage to have fun. We’re always going out on adventures and we’ve never let anything stop us from enjoying our time together. We share our love of books & music & movies. I never thought I’d find someone whose interests so closely aligned with mine. I’m sure David never thought he’d manage to find someone who actually enjoyed living in a sea of books & records (we’re never short of things to read or listen to!). We usually understand each other’s sense of humour & our views on religion, politics, & family life are pretty close.

It’s been over ten years since our first date and there are still surprises. There is still that necessity to learn to balance two similar but different personalities: introvert & extrovert, literal & hyperbolic, sense & sensibility...

I’ve been short on words to newlyweds lately. My life has just seemed a bit too difficult & depressing to want to burden those starting on their hopeful voyage with my doses of hard reality. But I think, if anything, I would tell my newlywed friends to stay strong & committed to the promises they made. The hard times will come & go & come again and they are not a sign of failure. They are just the inevitable price we pay for choosing to live.

The picture is almost a year old and it's the best I could do for one of both of us sans-children. Oops!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! I'll keep this reflection in mind as I write our talk for RCIA on Marriage. Reminds me of Chesterton's “Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.” Keep duelling the good duel! xo