The Stories They Leave Out of the Marriage Manual by Maria’s Random Rants
Some days I look at my husband and think, “I can love this man a thousand years, in this life and the next.” Other days I find myself struggling to figure out how I’m supposed to stand him one more day. Marriage is funny like that. It’s like a roller coaster, complete with that sick-to-your-stomach-feeling you get when you catch a dip you didn’t realize was going to be so steep.
There really is a thin line between love and hate. I should know, my husband and I have danced on both sides more often than I’d like to count. On a few occasions I’ve just been one bad decision away from setting his clothes, his car – heck, sometimes his ass on fire. Good thing I know better. Least now I do.
The last few years of our marriage have been rough, which is saying a lot considering the first ten was chock full of cinematic worthy drama. I don’t doubt that the stories of my marital highs and lows would incite screenwriter Tyler Perry into writing part three to his ‘Why Did I Get Married’ movie series.
Let’s see – there was the stupidity of our early twenties, which entailed a lot of partying too hard; his drug dealer turned drug addiction years; quickly followed up with the I-can’t-stop-resenting-him period in my life. I almost forgot to mention in between all that mess every four years we managed to have another kid, all four before I turned 27.
In 2001 we settled down some, bought a house, and got bold enough to start a business. While we did well enough, the arguments stemming from the stress and our difference in management styles took a significant toll on our marriage. At the time I thought we’d outgrown fights where we hit below the belt, but stress like that took our arguments to a whole new level.
All things considered, if I let myself think about it too long I have a hard time reconciling the good with the bad. The lows were just so low. Truth is, even when you forgive a mistake it still leaves a scar and most of our scars still sting when you touch them. Needless to say, we do better when we keep the past where it belongs.
A lot of things have changed in the 17 years we’ve been together and not everything in our favor. At 19 years young you barely know who you are or what you want out of life, let alone who you want to spend the rest of your life with. That may be the biggest drawback to settling down at such a young age, you eventually grow up and come to realize that what fit you perfectly at 20, not so much at 35.
It’s hard to look at someone you’ve spent half your life with and try to wrap your head around how much has changed between the two of you and how, when you’re not careful, those differences can create a divide that feels wider than an ocean.
Last summer my husband and I got as close as we ever had come to divorce. It took a whole lot of soul searching to decide how we were going to save our marriage and, more importantly, if we still wanted to. It was a most disturbing thing to look at divorce papers and realize 16 years of life and love with someone could be reduced to a two page list of divided assets and a couple signatures on the dotted line. It was our wake up call. Marriage is hard, but divorce isn’t easier.
Sometimes it takes having to get that close to losing what you’ve forgotten means the most to you in order to realize you’ll do whatever it takes not to have to live without it.
Whatever the shortcomings of this relationship, there’s no denying my husband is the love of my life. It’s the one thing, even on our crappiest day, I’ve always been certain of. He’s helped me raise four children, one of them not his own, and another we adopted together. He’s my constant and my muse, my reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come since. On his best day my husband is no Prince Charming, not even a second rate boot leg, but even on his worst day he is still the only man I hope to spend the rest of my life with. That has to count for something.
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as forever. I fancy myself a realist so can’t say I believe in words that elude otherwise. What I do know is that this marriage is worth fighting for, tooth and nail, however steep the uphill battle. And dear husband, if you’re reading this, if you can meet me halfway, the universe just might make a believer out of me.
As for tonight, well, tonight I’ve been thinking. . . I can love that man a thousand years, in this life and the next.