Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Big Seven

Today marks my 7th year of marriage.  

Whenever I read or hear that someone has been married 20 years or more my heart jumps a little.  I don't know how people do it.  I mean, I know how people do it: one day at a time, one week at a time, one month a time, one year at a time.  But it's daunting to think of such a long span of time.  And it really doesn't help that I don't personally know a couple that has been together that long or, rather, been together that long happily.  That's really scary.  Really, really scary. 

I so wish I did have that example.  I wish I did have someone who has been there, done that, to talk to.  A person who I could fully trust, who could empathize and offer sound, balanced advice.  What I find is that I have to protect and safeguard my marriage.  I have to keep things very private because people don't understand.  They don't have the experience to understand.  And they don't get that I don't want them to be on "my" side.  So I end up not talking much about issues in my marriage that are bothering me or that are problematic or that I can't see a solution to.  Except for sometimes when I post on a message board.  But that always seems . . . impersonal and you can never convey fully what the situation entails and exactly how everyone feels.  Plus, it's a whole bunch of strangers who don't know you anyway.

So on my 7th anniversary, I have to acknowledge that marriage is perhaps the most difficult thing I've ever done.  It's bittersweet.  On the one hand, we made it!  And we made it through a whole lot of nonsense and obstacles at that!  And we have a good, solid happy marriage and we still fundamentally like each other and genuinely love each other.  On the other, I get weary sometimes and wonder how to keep making it.  I struggle sometimes with the feeling that I sacrificed my 20s at the altar of marriage thinking it was an alternative, and obvious/wise choice and an investment.  But I can't always gauge the return or if there will be one.  I hope so though.  I believe so.

I'm not the happiest I could possibly be but I'm not the most miserable.  I'm pretty happy.  And I am honest with myself in saying that my marriage is not what is keeping me from being totally and completely happy.  Whatever that means (what it means to be happy and how to be happy is the subject of many a book . . . no one seems to really know the answer).

I feel fortunate to have found this book though: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I'm getting through it slowly, reading from it for five minutes daily at my altar.  I've already gained a lot of insight.  I hope more useful resources like this keep coming my way because in my heart of hearts, I want to make it to 20 years and much, much further.  
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