What Does It REALLY Take to Stay Married?

Come on, let’s be honest….marriage is really really really hard sometimes.  If you are married, marriage is thrown into your juggling every single day.. Sometimes, it’s a ball of light, it’s a joy to juggle…and sometimes it’s big iron anvil….how do you keep it in the air no matter what form or weight it takes?

the good stuff is always worth the work it takes

I met the most gorgeous woman yesterday….Deby from Nashville….she had some kind of internal solar system that radiated through her skin and eyes….she absolutely inspired me on so many levels. She has been married for 31 years, and just looking at her for 30 seconds, I knew there were a thousand stories behind those 31 years….so, I asked her….like I always do. (you can learn something fascinating and life-changing from every single person you meet in life….) I asked her…’what’s your secret for a successful marriage?’ She said….3 things:

1. We’ve stayed very good friends
2. We laugh all the time
3. We forgive each other all the time

Beautiful.

When I was a little girl, I was totally in love with my dad and my grandpa. My whole world revolved around them….then when I got a little older, I started dreaming up the husband I might have someday….someday meant when I was 30 or so….after art school and a huge career in NYC….well…

….then, when I was 18, that guy I’d dreamed up all my life showed up in my life….every single thing I’d dreamed up and a trillion things more…and he took my hand and told me, in all of his 22 years….that he’d just met the girl he’d dreamed up all of his life………….and before long, we couldn’t fathom or survive the thought of spending one single day without each other….then, we got married….and I wasn’t 30 yet….a while from it….in fact, on my 30th birthday, I was in the hospital with this dream guy giving birth to our 5th child. Life is funny….and surprising….and just as it should be.

I told you in this post about the most difficult times we’ve had in our marriage, things we’re still pacing ourselves through each day. I don’t know if I told you that around 80% of marriages don’t survive what happens in a brain injury….but we are and we did and we will. And, he is still that guy that I dreamed up and waited for my whole life, I am so completely head over heels for him. My heart is stretched, like silly putty, at this very moment between where I am and where he is….I think if him just about every minute of the day.

But…

There are so many things I’ve had to do along the way….so many tokens I’ve chosen to trade for what I really wanted out of marriage…..

I’ve had to sit and listen and try to be or act interested during LONG AND BORING explanations of exactly how our new vacuum works and how it is to be cleaned every 2.5 days.

I’ve chosen to butter his toast from the very edge of one crust to the very edge of the next, without missing a single crumb…because that’s how his mother did it and that’s how he likes it…and heaven knows that’s just about the only thing I can do to duplicate the perfection of his mother.

I’ve sat through hundreds of movies that I’d never have chosen to watch. I’ve bitten my tongue approximately 3,729,418 times.

I’ve supported, fearfully, all of his extreme sports, and taken him to the emergency room so many times that I’ve lost count, and tried not to show my embarrassment when they knew us by name…once telling us, “Mr. Ross, this is your 7th visit this year….we need to put your name on a plaque above one of the rooms so we know where to put you when you come in….”

I’ve waved goodbye with a smile on my face when he goes out with his buddies and leaves me home with 2 babies…..

I’ve inserted the earplugs in the nightstand when he snores just so we can still be next to each other at night…

I’ve turned down countless opportunities because it would be too much time away from the life we’ve built and are building….

I’ve forfeited the place where my car should park when it’s snowing so that he can have the woodshop of his dreams.

And, just like Deby…I’ve had to forgive him over and over and over again.

….and I could go on…..and on…..and on………and I will have to go on and on and on…..and keep doing all of these things and more….but, first I have to think about the other side of things…..and the tokens he’s traded for marital bliss….

He’s bitten his tongue 6,729,284 times because my heart is tender and he is a perfectionist and I am a neurotic artist and he is an extremely analytical and organized person and I’m organizationally challenged and those combinations could easily make for many millions of hurtful words….but they haven’t.

He gave up his entire career 10 years ago to help me follow my dreams…even though it had nothing to do with any of his big dreams, except the one that has to do with a happy wife.

He has followed me around and cleaned up the tornadoes that I leave in my creative frenzies.

He’s patiently choked down a lot of horrible and burnt food.

He has sat through, and tried his very very hardest to comply, when I constantly ask…”how do you FEEL about this…or how does that FEEL….or what are your FEELINGS right now…” while trying really really really hard not to roll his eyes and to figure out how to talk about ‘feelings’.

He has tried to help me make sense of my insanely huge and crazy ideas and even if he doesn’t really ‘get’ them, he tries really hard to help me make them a reality.

He has told me he believes in me when it felt like he was the only person who did.

He has loved me just the way I am and never asked me to change…..

He has made me take time to have fun, planning every single detail so I just have to show up, when I am at the mercy of my work-a-holic-ism.

And, just like Deby…he’s had to forgive me over and over and over again.

And….most of all…..he is committed to making this work, no matter what.
There’s no question about it…there’s no other option in his mind, no easy-out clause.
He in this together…forever. Me too.

be kind

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