John and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past May.
While the road has not been easy (laced with grad school, and cancer, and unemployment, and deployment) it has been well worth it. There is no one I would rather have made the journey with and no one I would rather spend the next 50 crazy years with.
C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity (in fact I think the whole book should be read by everyone debating the “sanctity of marriage” and then we can all just come back together and talk some more, but that’s a blog for another day, for now here is what he said) on Christian Marriage and falling in and out of love.
““But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from ‘being in love’ –is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
The man wasn’t even married yet and he got it. Marriage is this wonderful dance between various intense emotions and dry spells. I look at my soldier and remember that he promised to always love me and I promised to always love him and some days that is more than enough, just hanging onto that promise, trusting that he is an honorable man who keeps his promises and respecting him enough that I keep mine.
A few years back we hit a rough patch and the very wise words of my battle buddy at the time Judy Davis, TheDirectionDiva, realigned my vision. If you can’t make it work with him what makes you think you could make it work with someone else, X number of years down the road you’re just going to run into the same problems just with a different face if all you do is run from them now.
Today I am madly in love with my husband. I can’t stand the thought of spending a year apart, again. There is something about impending separation that makes the heart grow fonder. All the little quirks that once bothered me mean so little now. I smile at the site of his boots in our bedroom or his pt shorts tossed in a corner. I smile because I missed everything about him for so long, and I know I will miss it all again. The things that seemed big before don’t even seem small now, they are nonexistent.
For still in mutual sufferance lies
The secret of true living;
Love scarce is love that never knows
The sweetness of forgiving
John Greenleaf Whittier, “Among the Hills” 1869
I mentioned in What’s it Like Being Married to Me? that I am leading a study. Well let’s just say that I got the good end of the bargain when we said our I do’s. On page 89 Dillow shares a friend’s definition of emotional intimacy.
“Emotional intimacy is being ‘naked and unashamed.’ To be fully known; my darkest thoughts, hateful words, biggest disappointments, and greatest fears—and yet be fully loved and accepted. To know that I have given my heart to my husband, that he takes seriously the role of protector; that he is careful with my heart. And I am careful with his heart. It is knowing him so well and having such a deep understanding of him that I can trust him beyond circumstances. It is being so entwined with one another, yet so different, that we are like one plant putting off two very different blooms.”