Marriage. Remember those butterflies you'd get in your tummy just thinking his name way back when? How you couldn't wait for that next phone call or another letter in the mail. How you'd wait up for hours just to manage a quick chat on ICQ? And then comes marriage...

And you turn into an old married couple magically overnight. Maybe that's an exaggeration, maybe it takes a bit longer, but somewhere along the way life takes a turn and marriage becomes a comfort and contentment and all those butterflies hide away for a rainy day.

When you take your vows, in sickness and health, for better or worse, you really don't know what you're getting yourself into. You are in love and this enchanting prince has just become yours, and when you say those magic words "I do" you completely and wholeheartedly believe in them.

But life changes. You lose a piece of yourself when you marry and gain a piece of a pair, but the pair isn't quite whole because really, it's just butterflies and rosy cheeks....at least until the farts and burps and scratching of the balls while you sleep alone in bed yet again becomes the norm. It's only then, after those first few years, that you realize what marriage truly means, and what you have traded in when saying "I do".

Marriage, it takes a lot of work. UNfortunately, people don't often put in the work it takes and the marriage suffers, maybe very noticeably, maybe just in quiet hints. It could be something as minor as him not noticing you colored your hair to something major like him cheating on you. But in one way or another, marriage is often taken for granted, our partner often just a permanent fixture we expect to be around. We have changed since becoming wed, he has changed, life has changed. We aren't the people we chose to marry. We have evolved, both together and apart. In some ways it's a good thing, in some ways it's bad, but in every way it just is. It is life, and it's sharing our life with another human being. Sharing not only a short story, but a complete novel filled with delicate details.

Sometimes those details get a little fuzzy. Sometimes the characters don't all add up. We get lost in the plot, confused about whether it's worth continuing to the end. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's worth giving a little bit more to come to a conclusion.

This person we have married is the one we chose to be our partner in life. He is the one we believed in and treasured. The one we couldn't stand to be without, for even a few lonely hours. As our marriage ages, we tend to forget those qualities, forget the jittery butterflies that made us alive, forget how enchanted we were, what made him so special, what we wouldn't do to keep that feeling alive. Life becomes comfortable, easy, content. And the butterflies are replaced with the warmth of the wood-burning stove. Only not quite so hot.

MArriage is a rough road. There are lots of twists and turns and sometimes we tend to get lost at the croosroads. We aren't there to help each other find the correct turn as we each go on about our business and do our own thing, only coming together at the end of the day to say hey before falling asleep apart and not so much as a whisper of how are you today? We don't take the time or energy to to make our partner feel special, to let them know they are loved. It's just a quiet assumption you think they understand.

But what if they don't understand? What if they need to feel those butterflies, to marvel over the wonder of being together? To feel like a giddy school girl in love? What happens then? Because marriage can't just be forgotten. You have changed, you have given, you have taken, and you are no longer just you. You have become a pair, a very confortable pair of the grungiest, softest socks you dare not throw away. And only on the gentle wash cycle can they manage to hold together.

Marriage. It is a job. It takes work. And it takes butterflies to make fairy tales come true.


Jen (emsun.org) said...

You're right - marriage does take two and it can be very hard. I hope things are going well for you.

V-Grrrl said...

There's an ebb and flow to marriage. Every time we hit low tide and have to face what's underneath, I remind myself the tide will turn, our lives swept clean again.

Breigh said...

Marriage IS a job! A thousand things have taken place in my marriage that a lot of other people would have given up on.... the marriage of an expat is also an entirely different animal with a whole separate set of issues. It takes work, a LOT of work.

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