On Marriage

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My husband and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this weekend. I feel so lucky to have met him. I don’t believe in soul mates, but I am frequently reminded of how perfect we are for each other, and I feel blessed.

I am also frequently reminded that marriage is hard as shit. Once you become so intertwined with another person, the line between you as individuals blur, and you can forget that your partner is a separate person. That closeness can lead to misunderstandings, which can erupt into conflict and therefore less closeness.

But conflict is not the enemy. Conflict demands compromise, and compromise is the backbone of a sturdy marriage. It takes closeness and compromise to navigate one ship with two captains, and the wisdom to know who’s better at steering and who’s better at managing the sails (or however that metaphor should go, I obviously don’t know how ships work).

It’s cool to coast when things are breezy (ships again) and you are on the same page. But you must also work hard to accommodate those annoying ways you contradict each other. You must honor the ways you diverge so you don’t diverge onto separate paths and eventually jump ship (last one, I promise).

It’s easy to assume that what you think, feel, and desire is one and the same with what your partner thinks, feels, and desires. Your closeness can blind you to the individual differences and tendencies that give a relationship balance. It’s important to pay attention and listen. After many years together, you may believe that you know everything about this person, but it is dangerous to let your perception of them stagnate while they continue to change in front of you.

Don’t close your eyes, or you will take them for granted. Don’t tune them out, or you will only hear what you want to hear. Keep your heart open, stay present and receptive, and you will continue to evolve as a couple, and your love will endure.

I think I might be speaking to myself here.

Dear Margot, be a better wife. Happy Anniversary! Love, Margot

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