What No One Told Me: Choosing Marriage Every Day
Editor’s Note: I adore Heir to Blair. She has written for us before on “We Don’t Fight” and “Keeping Romance Alive” – and I love the way she meets life with strength, joy, and a matter-of-fact perspective. The wisdom found in this post of hers is beyond value. Read it and hold onto it. Oh, and also. Have you entered to win the giveaway yet? – Lauren
For five years, my husband & I have built a home & family. We started off fresh-faced & innocent, two 23-year-olds facing a world of possibilities. We settled into a small apartment, then quickly upgraded to owning our home. We adopted a rescue dog & brought home a beautiful blonde boy. It has been five years of love, triumphs, heartbreaks, & those life-altering decisions that shape an entire future. It has been easy at times; it has been tough at others.
I grew up as many young girls did in the 1990’s, watching first-class Rose fall impossibly in love with third-class Jack. I watched classics with my mother & heard Ali MacGraw utter “Love means never having to say you’re sorry!” I read Jane Austen in public & snuck romance novels under my bed – tales of fate & kismet. I grew up with fables of soul mates – find “the one” & marriage fades perfectly into the sunset because it is destiny. That soul mates are always in love, always wiling to selflessly sacrifice & that every year will be a confetti-filled chapter in happily ever after.
It certainly felt like destiny in those moments when my eyes locked his at the end of a long aisle, a white dress cascading & flouncing at my feet.
But truthfully, marriage is a decision that we make every day.
While I want to say that I wish someone had told me that marriage is a decision, I am thankful to admit that one person did whisper that secret the summer my future husband slipped a diamond on that fourth finger. “Marriage is a decision to make every day,” my aunt wisely counseled. “Every morning, you wake up & roll over & decide to love that person, no matter what comes. Some days it is easy. Other days it is work. But the important thing is to make the decision.”
During the first year of our marriage, we struggled deciding where to live – he wanted to move “home” to the friends & countryside that he missed; I craved to stay in the city with a job I loved. Many tears were shed at night while we discussed the options & many times, we fell asleep still unsettled. But each morning, we rose with the decision to make our life together work despite our opposite stances. & this decision gave us hope that we would eventually meet a compromise. (We did.)
The year we were pregnant, love came easily. As I lost our first pregnancy, we held each other close in comfort. He held my hand while I slept off the pain; I assured him that we would be parents some day. Months later, we laid in bed with happy hearts as our second baby kicked from inside my belly. We laughed through a maternity photo shoot & I will never forget the adoration on his face when he handed me our son for the very first time. Love was seamless, easy, & comfortable. The decision to stay married was a second-nature that rarely crossed our conscious minds.
Last year, my husband decided to honor the vow “in sickness & in health” as he stood by me through a hospital stay & hours of therapy. My mental health took a toll on our marriage & threw more responsibilities on him; I am sure there were moments where he thought “I didn’t sign up for this!” yet he decided to love me in my darkness, to pray with me & stay strong. This summer, we will celebrate our fifth anniversary with the joy that comes from making it into the light together.
These days, we have fallen back into a comfortable pattern of the unconscious decision as we support each other through job changes & teach our toddler to blow bubbles on the back porch. We talk of future plans to grow our family more, to move once again, to begin saving for a trip across the ocean. For now, these dreams & hopes are easy, but I know that the path to reach them together will be marked.
But we’re ready to make that decision. Every day..
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