Dancing in the Mine Fields

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My sixth wedding anniversary was a couple weeks ago and it seems the topic of marriage has been one I have seen a lot lately.  Ok, I work in the wedding industry so I deal with weddings all the time, but a wedding and a marriage are two completely different things.

This song I think is how we feel before and on our wedding day.

I met Marie at the Hallmark event and I have been following her blogs ever since.  She is the mastermind behind Nashville Marriage Studio and McKinney Oates Cereal.  She recently blogged about marriage not being a photo shoot here. I loved her post (and I had the idea for this post before I read hers, I promise).  She talks about the pretty pictures (which I am addicted to looking at) and how pretty pictures do not a marriage make.  I also had a conversation with a friend recently whose marriage is not at the "frolicking through the fields with balloons phase."  (Is anyone's???)  I should post a disclaimer that says my marriage is not at the "depths of the earth, I can't even stand to be around you phase" but I am realistic and have been married long enough to know that this marriage business is hard work.

I think people naturally only want to show off the clean, polished and pretty part of our lives and that includes our marriages.  We only want you to see the smiling faces and the impromptu dance parties we are having in our living rooms.  While these are the pieces that we love and want to remember there are also the fights and the times you feel like you are living with a room mate who doesn't seem to care at all what you want.  There are also the times when you are the room mate who shows blatant disregard for what the other person living in your house wants.

The song above (by Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockre) is one that I think really shows where a marriage can go if you just leave it on the shelf as a pretty picture.  The smiling couple from your wedding day sitting looking down at you from a canvas on the wall will not be able to fix your real, day to day, hard marriage problems.  In this song, the couple doesn't seem to work out, which happens a lot.  The truth is, sometimes you won't want to do it anymore.  You just won't feel like trying so hard at home, in the place where you should be able to do whatever you want.  We will call those days, weeks, years the "dark side".  (Thinks of it like Anakin becoming Darth Vader.)  You might marry a jedi and then realize two years later he has turned into a sith. (I have two boys obsessed with Star Wars in my house, this is my train of thought these days.)  It can take a long time to walk through the dark side but I think with enough work even a sith can be turned back to the person you married.  (Even Vader redeems himself at the end.)

Let's face it sometimes your spouse travels too much, is home too much, won't ever do the dishes, takes too long to mow the grass, bugs you too much about doing the dishes and other day to day annoyances.  There are also the deeper problems like infidelity, mental and physical abuse, etc.  All these things can seem really hard to deal with and in the midst of the "dark side" can seem as if you will never see the light again.  I am on the other side of the "dark side" and Steve and I have walked through some places that were not fun.  I wish I could say we walked through them hand in hand but we didn't.  I think we more stormed through casting angry stares at each other and hurling insults.  We could easily have been the couple in the song above and could have found ourselves not married right now and living two separate lives.  Guess what is awesome?  Being able to stand on the other side hand in hand and know that you did make it through.  Definitely not unscathed and your relationship is not the same one that looks down at you from your wall but it is better. Better I hope with every trip through the "dark side".  Better because you didn't give up, neither one of you fell out of love with each other at the same time.

(*I am by no means saying stay in a marriage where you are insulted and beat every day, it has to be a conscious effort on both parts not one where one of you tries and the other throws punches.)

There are many things that can be hurled at you while you are married, things you can't predict on that beautiful wedding day when you can't stop smiling.  Things that when you say "I will" you completely can't imagine. There are also amazing things you will go through together and times when you will look at your spouse and know that despite the problems they know you completely and they are there for you.  You can't get to fifty years without a few dark periods and fifty years is my personal goal.  Not just fifty years of tolerance or living in the same house with the same man but fifty years of good times and bad, laughter and screaming, babies, teenagers, grandkids, storms and sunny days.  I want to be able to sit back and look at our beautifully messy life and know that it was ours and we did it together because we didn't give up on each other, didn't give up on the promises we made and the person God gave us.  Below is a song where the couple stays together, not happily ever after but in it together.  I like to think mostly happy with some sorrow and maybe misery thrown in but nothing that can't be overcome.

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