Oh, man. My husband and I are in a BIG fight right now.
I won’t go into the details, because it will read like I’m spinning the story to make me right and him wrong (though I’m sure, if I told you, you would totally take my side). Suffice it to say we had a difference of opinion, as couples do, which made want to kick him in the chicken tenders.
But here’s the progress: instead of screaming at him, I informed him I was not in a calm enough space to discuss it at present, and would like to revisit the subject when I can discuss it with neutrality.
Then I went to the library to write about it publicly.
Ten years in, I’m still figuring out this marriage thing. How two people who are fundamentally, biologically, psychologically, and physiologically opposite are expected to live peacefully under one roof for (ideally) the remainder of their lives. Throw in the stresses of kids, money, sex, in-laws, putting down the freaking toilet seat, and it’s a miracle that the human species didn’t die out in the age of Cro-Magnon Man. But here we are, having the same fights that our parents and their parents and their parents had, only we do it over What’s App instead of shlepping downstairs to hash it out in person.
Here’s what I do know. A few years back, I met a couple who were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and I asked them, “What’s your secret?”
“I chose her fifty years ago,” the husband said, “and I’ve chosen her every day since.”
I think of that gentleman on days like today, when I’m convinced that marriage is for morons whose visions of love look like the end of a romantic comedy, when the music swells, the couple embraces, and all fades to black. But there’s a reason the movie stops at the credits; if you saw Jennifer Lawrence a year later, sleep-deprived and with newborn spit-up in her hair, screaming at Chris Pratt to take out the f^&*ing garbage, ticket sales would plummet. Marriage is a real-life marathon, running the hills and valleys with the person I chose as my wingman. Just like the breakfast I ate yesterday won’t sustain me today, neither will the choice I made on my wedding day keep me going ten years later.
A few days ago, I sat on the new patio swing my husband bought me for our tenth anniversary, because he knew I had a “vision” for our backyard. On both sides of me were my stepdaughters, the bonus children he gave me. Nearby, our three sons jumped on the trampoline, piercing the air with their joyful shrieks and laughter. Out my husband came through the backdoor in his standard t-shirt, jeans, and sandals, holding a keep-cold cup he’d filled for me with Diet Snapple and ice, without my asking. He brought it to me, smiling his boyish smile, and patted the swing.
“You like it?” he asked. “You’re happy?”
“I love it,” I said.
With the warm almost-summer sun on our knees, the sweet breeze, and smell of honeysuckle from the bushes lining my fence, it was a moment of pure deliciousness. And I was blessed to realize how good we have it.
Today, I choose my imperfect, messy husband, my imperfect, messy self, and our imperfect, messy life, because when I shift the focus from our stupid, microscopic disagreement to the macrocosmic awesome we have going, it’s clear that I would be a fool to choose otherwise.