Surprisingly (or not), I still get questions, comments, and emails about this relationship post I wrote two and a half years ago. Readers ask how I ultimately made my decision to marry Mr. Wonderful (which happens to be 10 years ago today) and how we make it work.
When Mr. Wonderful and I first got married, I actually used to be jealous of other couples. Those that unflinchingly cuddled in public and would sneak kisses in front of friends. The husbands who waxed poetic about their wives on Facebook. The wives who talked about how their thoughtful husbands planned a surprise getaway for the weekend, just because. We were never them, Mr. Wonderful was never that, and part of me used to wonder if something was wrong with us, or me. Was it because I married a friend versus a lover? Was there something amiss in my love? In his? Did I (we) make a mistake?
A few years into our marriage, we hit a lull. It seemed like night after night, we had nothing to say to each other. And then we would watch a TV show or Mr. Wonderful would spend the rest of the night playing a computer game. Eventually there came times when I would go out with friends almost every night, just to see if he even cared or noticed (and he didn’t on both accounts). I didn’t expect marriage to be an ongoing adventure, but I also didn’t expect or want it to become a roommate agreement. We went to therapy and that helped, but then we’d stop and our progress would too.
I say this not as a representation of all marriages, but this was ours. At least, for awhile. I have met people who have described an amazing chemistry they experience with their spouses, so perhaps that kind of long-term relationship is possible. Ours was not that.
We eventually found common ground, in the form of our marriage crisis. When you reach a point in your marriage that forces you to ask, “So are we in, or are we out,” you pause everything else in life to find the answer to that desperate, ultimate question.
As we searched for how we would individually respond, our vows took on a new depth. So this is what “for worse” means. Oh. If only we had known.
Ultimately, I made the decision to stay. Despite his (and my) flaws and sins, I realized what I did have in our marriage was the unwavering support of my husband. Whether it was through depression, through job changes, or simply following a life calling, he stuck by me even when it affected him, too. I can’t imagine anyone else who would have been a better helper through my chronic foot pain this past year, whose steadfast loyalty has gotten me through some of the toughest of times. And though his love doesn’t involve smothering me with kisses in front of friends, it does involve working late hours so I can be free to have a job of my choice. He doesn’t write love letters, but he currently does nearly all of the chores and puts our daughter to bed.
Looking back at my 20-something self, I would tell her that despite all that would lay ahead in marriage, she should stay. Keep trying, as long as your partner is willing to do the same. She’ll be glad she stuck it out. Because so far, I know I’m glad I did.
What’s the best marriage or relationship advice anyone has ever given you?