Thursday, December 31, 2009

on marriage

I found some beautiful quotes about marriage that I wanted to share with you. For once, I am leaving the cheeky ones out. First, though, some thoughts.

What brought me to this, you ask? (I realize you may not have been asking that, but I needed a transition.) Marriage, strong, solid marriages to be precise, have been on my mind lately. I read something recently that  captured my interest. The topic: how therapy 'saved' a troubled marriage. That therapy could 'save' a marriage riddled with infidelity, verbal abuse, and a slow, but steady, fade of love and passion intrigued me.

It got me thinking. This is not meant to be judgement, rather, an observation.

I thought about the strong marriages I had seen growing up - my parents, mainly. There were others, but theirs was the purest, in my eyes.

The marriages that were solid, were love flowed and the foundation was strong. You know the type I am talking about. The kind you subconsciously modeled your future union after.

Then I thought of the marriages around me that were not so strong. Sadly, there were plenty. And then I thought about therapy and the idea that it 'saves', and wondered if therapy could have 'saved' those marriages- the ones in trouble.

The answer, to me, seems quite clear. When a marriage is strong and solid, there is no need for it to be saved. Because it is never truly in danger. Yes, strong marriages weather storms, they climb mountains, and they forge raging rivers, but they go in as two, and come out as two, and that fact is never in question. Not because unity is the better of the options, but because togetherness is the only thing the heart beats for. Strong marriages look within, to each other, when the marital seas are choppy, and not to things far off in the distance. The idea is likened to the concept of searching around the world to find oneself, when completely disregarding the idea of standing still and looking within.

Furthermore, it seems like we look to the outside for an answer because it is simpler, easier, than just trying to figure it out ourselves, together with one we are struggling with. Harder, probably. More time consuming, I'm sure. But getting there both individually and together as a marriage, without the help desk of psychotherapy seems like it would be so much more gratifying. Do we really need someone dissecting every argument? Do we need someone to root through the garbage and pull out the decaying things that bothered us last week, to focus on? Why do we need another person present to speak intimately with our spouse? Why would another person in a room disarm us-- shouldn't the one we chose to walk life with do that?

For me, that would be like taking tylenol again and again to get rid of a headache. It lessens the pain while taking the pill, but it is something I have to ingest to feel better. Wouldn't it be wiser to figure out what was causing the headache and address that? Because I don't want to take tylenol forever, and if that little pill becomes a crutch, I won't ever feel capable enough of tackling the cause of the problem on my own.

I have heard people say that therapy gives them tools to make their marriage better. But don't we already know and have these tools? And this third party, can they really know you, really know you? Just questions I think about.

My intent was not to maliciously assess,  but to learn. My marriage is not young, but it certainly is not old, either (although, by some standards, 8 years might be considered a lengthy union.) Our marriage has been shaken by repeated deployments, the sudden loss of my amazing, my lovely mom, distance from family, and our child's health concerns. I know that to some, that might be a lot, and to others, that is a walk in the park. Regardless, we will continue to be shaken by these things, and new things that challenge us along our path. It is important for me to consider things and try to learn from them.

What I learned, for now, is this. I will look within, and to my husband, when things get rough. I will remember that really ugly things do not just happen-- they are built up over time, so to address things as they occur. I will remember to be humble and to know that we are not unique in what we face, and there are things to be learned from others. And I will celebrate the strength of my marriage and revel in the fact that I know we go in as two, and we will come out as two, always.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I have ever received was from my mom, after Tyler was born. She was here visiting, and as we sat on the couch, holding my hand, she said, 'There is no one else in the world for you but Jeremiah. I may worry, but I know what you two have, and together, you will always be fine.' I wonder if she knew how great a gift her words were to me, then and now.

Now, the quotes I mentioned......

"A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time."       --love this one

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

"Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love."

To all of you fortunate enough to find the one person you could not live without, many blessings to you and may your marriage be the most beautiful story ever told!


Virginia (Jenny) said...

I feel pretty lucky to be married to my best friend. That doesn't mean it's always perfect but it's that friendship that helps us look past each other faults and not bash them. There are lots and lots of books that really can help people without them having to get an expensive therapist that does not know you well.

Lisa said...

That was beautiful and so well said. I agree whole heartedly. Marriage is a journey and though it can be rocked by outside factors, it is so important to look inside yourself and to your husband to get through it.

My Dad once told me that he would not care if I lived on Mars if I was with Bobby. He has said it is hard to have us 3000 miles away but because I was with Bobby, he felt like I would be okay.

I, too, feel like I found my soulmate when I met and then ultimately married Bobby and there is no one in this world I would rather walk through this life with.

I am very happy you have found the same in Jeremiah because it is a true and pure blessing.

And as you know it can be work at times but everything in this life worth having is and so is every relationship.

I loved this post! Happy New YEAR!!!!


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