My husband says I've still "got it" and he laughs at my jokes, or perhaps he's laughing at me. Either way, it doesn't really matter. There's laughter happening here and that can only be a good thing, right?
We also annoy each other. Such is life when a man and a woman decide to shack up and procreate. In fact, I think it's part of our "spark."
Our marriage hit the ten year mark, this June. We've survived (and been blessed) with the addition of 3 little people into our lives. And we continue to co-exist, in general harmony, with our three daughters. One is even a tween. Just let that sink in for a minute...
We didn't go through the seven year itch nor have we had any infidelity or big blow outs that have lead us to the brink of divorce. We've lived in his country (England). We're now living in mine (Canada). We've both made compromises along the way.
For the most part, we've had a great ten years. We've been lucky.
My husband is still trying to accept (and tame) the free spirit that lives inside me. She was there when we met and, if I have anything to do with it ( I do), she'll never die! While, I'm learning to embrace (and tolerate) the often black and white nature of his logical-minded ways. Most of the time we respect our differences, recognizing that they are the root of our attraction to one another and a great array of influences to share with our kids.
Yes, occasionally, I'd like to pop him in his smug face and he'd fancy wringing my stubborn neck. That's what you get when a Type A meets a Type B and you settle down and have a family. But, I absolutely love our marriage. So far.
Yet, I know it's not safe.
Today's content heart could be tomorrow's broken one. Even when promises of forever have been made, I don't assume divorce won't happen to me, to us.
The fact is: ten years is really not that long. Not on the "forever" scale, it isn't. I'm not naïve. My parents got divorced when I was 11. In my memory, their marriage was a pretty good one. They laughed a lot. They were friends and partners. I don't know all of the ins and outs of it, nor do I need to, but I felt secure in my family, as a kid. I felt as secure, as my kids do now. Yet, my parents' relationship didn't make it. It lasted 15 years. But, it didn't make it.
Separation, divorce and discontentment. It's popping up around us, these days. I guess that's what happens when you hit middle age. People change. Marriages end.
In some cases, unlikely couples, simply run out of steam and desire to make the relationship work. In other scenarios, circumstances bring out the worst in those involved, and the marriages crack under pressure. Betrayals are happening. Husbands and wives are being blindsided by their partners' unhappiness.
And I see how it can happen. I get how busy and distracted we can become and how this can disable us from being in tune with ourselves and our partners. I understand how we lose ourselves and our way, at times. I also know that sometimes what we want to be true, just simply isn't and never will be.
I read somewhere recently that the success of a relationship depends on how a partner responds to the other's "bids." As in, do we listen and take on their expressed needs? Or do we ignore them? Overlook them? Feel incapable of meeting them? The concept of responding to "bids," has stuck with me. It makes sense. If we are left hangin' there, our calls unanswered and our needs unmet, I see how discontentment can creep in...
It's made me think about the importance of my and my husband's emotional needs. (He'd cringe at the thought of me writing this). You see, unlike me, he won't come right out and ask. I'll spell it out if I have to. No problem! But he won't. As a Type A, he likes to think he's got everything under control. And, he really appears to most of the time. So, it's up to me to read between the lines and to keep a look out for any bids that he might have.
I can't safeguard myself or my marriage. But I can try. I'll do my best to keep an eye on "us." Even if that means that I need to make some changes because sometimes, a little tweak is all you need to stay on the same path. But a tweak that goes overlooked can become much bigger.
I'll do this. For him. For us. For our kids. But, it won't secure my marriage. Nothing will.
Because marriage isn't safe...
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