Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marriage is Forever.

I am so grateful to have the wonderful Missy from Wonder, Friend guest posting for me with her advice and realizations about marriage. Missy Stevens is a freelance writer and blogger based in Austin, TX. By day/night/weekend/holiday, she is also a wife and mom. Missy writes once a week or so on her blog, Wonder, Friend, where she ponders family, fitness, writing, and a whole lot of miscellaneous stuff. She'd love to connect with you on Twitter and Facebook, too.

About two weeks after my – I mean our – first wedding anniversary, I woke up one morning and looked over at my peacefully sleeping husband, and I thought...

Oh, man, this thing really is permanent.

I have to share this bed, and everything else, with this man for the rest of our lives.

We've survived the first year, completely in tact and happy. But now what? We're supposed to just keep going, like forever?

Forever is a long time. A very, very long time.

I know. You're all thinking, what is wrong with this woman? Is this any way to start a story in honor of B's upcoming wedding?

Yes, it is. Stick with me, and you'll see.

Mark and I were young when we got married. In fact, when I hear about 23 and 24 year old people getting married, I am always tempted to shout, “You're way too young! What are you thinking?”

And then I remember how old I was when I walked down that aisle. I wasn't old at all, as a matter of fact.

I didn't know one thing about real life. Sure, I'd rented a couple of apartments by then. Paid some bills. Done my taxes. (That's a lie. My dad did them for me.) I lived by myself. Sort of. Mark traveled all week, so he was only in the apartment on weekends, during which time he slept on the couch. (That's another lie.)

So I knew a few things about being a grown up, but in general I was still a kid. And so was Mark. We knew this, though. We were not delusional, thinking we had it all figured out. While we didn't know exactly what we didn't know, we were certain there was a lot of it. Follow that?

We considered the situation, though, and decided we had two choices:

1. Postpone marriage because everyone else said we were too young, maybe even break up for a while, try dating other people, and end up back together eventually.

2. Get married and give each other the grace – and the space – to grow up along the way.

And to all the people who thought we were crazy? Joke's on you, suckers.

Because here's the thing about marriage. It's not about the wedding (although that is an amazingly fun day, and you should revel in every second of it). It's not about being happy all the time. It's not about babies or vacations or buying a house.

Marriage is also not about the hard days. The days when you wake up, see that peacefully sleeping person, and get a pit in your stomach when the force of forever hits you. And also because, why wouldn't he be sleeping peacefully over there, with all the covers and one of your pillows?

Marriage isn't that simple. It can't be summed up in good days or bad.

Marriage is a forever thing. It's being present for the highs and the lows. It's knowing that whatever is going on today, whether your life seems like a musical or you just want to throw a box of cereal at your beloved (I never did that. Okay, that's another lie.), that it's all okay.

So be happy. Be really, really happy. But allow yourselves to be sad, and mad. Throw cereal now and then – but not more than once every 15 years (woo hoo – I'm due for another tantrum). Lie in bed at night and dream together of all the good; but don't be surprised when sometimes the last place you want to be is in bed together.

Give each other a little space, and a lot of grace. Talk often, be honest, let yourselves argue now and then. But don't forget to laugh at yourselves, too. Before you know it, you'll be back to the happy little musical theater version of your life.

B, I wish you and D a lifetime of everything. I wish you the greatest joys, and the strength to weather the greatest pains. I wish you the kind of love that sees you through it all. I wish you forever.


  1. Thanks so much for inviting me to write here today! Happy Wedding Week to you!

  2. So beautifully written, Missy. The best advice I ever received was from my then 90 year old grandma. She said: "There were days when I did not love your grandfather. You just get through those days and make the conscious choice to be in love with him until death you doth part."

    Those words sounded scandalous at the time, but ten years later I see the honest truth in her pronouncement.

    Best of luck B! Enjoy your wedding week and all that follows from now until death you doth part!

    1. Grandma is very wise. I think more brides (and grooms) need to know that we do have a choice to make, every day. Some days it's easy, some days it hurts.

  3. This was great, Missy! I have been married since 24, too. My husband was 24 as well. We will celebrate 13 years this November. It's worth all the ups and downs!

  4. Yes to all of this, Missy. And to B & D. May you continue to be blessed.

    Bill and I have been married for fifteen years and, at this point in our lives, we look around and count ourselves as two of the happiest married people we know.

    There was a time there in the middle, though, (and it covered a few years if I'm being honest) where we were so bogged down by kids, jobs, guilt, frustration, worries, we weren't enjoying married life at all.

    He stopped sharing his concerns about work/finances because he didn't want me to worry; but then I felt disconnected and we both took each other for granted.

    Fortunately, we were in it for the long haul and weathered the storm (or rather, the doldrums) and came out of the fog of babies and career change and moving and health scares etc.

    Now, in our forties, we see the wisdom of hanging in there; in sticking by the person whom we knew (somewhere, down in there) we'd picked for a reason. He really WAS my best friend, the man I knew I wanted to grow old with.

    And he still is. And we are. Growing old.

    1. Thank you, Julie. Newlyweds - and all married people - can benefit from stories like this. It's very easy to give up, but the reward is in hanging in there. Life is full of the doldrums, unfortunately. It's how we tackle them that matters.

      Here's to growing old. Together.

  5. This is awesome!
    I was married just a few weeks after I turned 23. Feels like I've been with the same old fart forever ;)


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