I must admit, this Christmas has truly been a wonderful one for me. Nothing particularly stupendous happened, there weren’t diamond rings or bracelets in my stocking, but there was love. There is still lots & lots of love my way, and being given back.
As far as presents go, the haul was small, which suited me fine this year. Husband and I don’t have much money to spend for frivolous things, though we did do our share of selecting a few of those things here and there, mostly video games. Since we are both gamers it was perfect, because we each will have hours and hours of fun with what we have now. The most amazing presents I received this time were a) a brand new Gust Buster ™ umbrella, and b) a new dip pen.
The umbrella is important because Husband had one first and I have borrowed it most of the summer. It is a sturdy creature that isn’t supposed to flip and it just has a push button to make it come open, which is wonderful for my hands. It has an own embroidered on it holding a leaf over its head against the rain, and is double layered.
In many ways the umbrella reminds me of Husband. He protects and encourages me when I try new things and go to new places. He shelters me and, at the same time, gives me freedom. For those who have not been married for a while, this may seem foreign because in a new marriage you have to learn to live together, and that usually takes about five years. In that time you have arguments, you find things you don’t like about each other, and the freshness of new love has dimmed from its sparkling wonderful novelty to actually getting down to being a partner with someone.
Sometimes it is difficult to keep on going with one person for the rest of your life, but when you make the promise to someone else to be with them as long as you live, there is also a sense of permanence that grows from the promise. It is safe and warm and there is so much love there you really can’t see yourself with anyone else because it just doesn’t make sense.
Oh, it isn’t always perfect, this living and loving someone for the “rest of your life”: There are times when you can think, and sometimes do, that this isn’t what you wanted; this isn’t the kind of life you wanted or expected; sometimes you think there must be more somewhere else. These thoughts usually come around the years 5 & 7. It used to be known as “The Seven Year Itch” and it mostly seemed to affect men; nowadays it seems to affect women, too. Five years of marriage is enough to give to someone, right? You should be able to go off and have your own life now, right?
People often convince themselves they are not happy with their mate and they want someone else. They choose a different life and walk away, but they can’t help but wonder, “What would have happened if I had stayed? What would have happened if I had kept my promise?” You never forget the person you are married to; even if you marry someone else I’ve heard. You always think of that person you gave your first promise of “until death do us part.”
True, your mate isn’t going to always please you, but if you actually do stay, you find reasons why you are staying. Sometimes it is simply because you aren’t going to give up. Sometimes it is because you realize just how much the other person means to you, and then what happens? You fall in love with that person all over again. Who else can understand you more or better than the person who has given you all of these past years?
Then, before you know it, you’ve been together ten years, twelve, and on and on. You stay together through the good times and the bad; the times of plenty and the times of financial woes. You learn something new about the man or woman you have married, and you keep on going. Soon, you realize you have actually grown up with the person who vowed never to leave you and to whom you gave the same promise. It turns out to be a blessing.
Marriage isn’t easy. It requires patience and love; understanding and compromise. You don’t make all of the requests and demands or the compromises. This sort of relationship is toxic, and usually the person who requires all of the compromises and concessions is never going to be happy because they are far too selfish to accept and realize what they have in the person they’ve married. All they can see is, “I am not happy.” Have they ever truly looked at the other person and wondered if they are happy or not or decided to do something special for them just because they haven’t done anything special for them in a while. In order to truly love and respect someone, you have to give those things, and then accept them. This is hard to do sometimes, but once you do, and once you accept your life is never going to be that perfect dream, oh how much of life you really start to see, to live, to enjoy! Nothing is perfect here, in this world. It is never going to be, but that doesn’t mean there is reason to give up on anything or anyone. It just means you accept people as they are, love them, respect them as you respect yourself, and your world suddenly has a change…for the better.
I think this is what Christ meant when he said to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It doesn’t just mean the stranger across the road or next door, it means everyone, especially the person you’ve married because you and they are literally one unit that should never be divided.
True, not all marriages last. There are reasons for divorce like abuse, abandonment, and incompatibility. You will know all of this before the five or seven year mark. You know it right away, and many people keep on staying with that person anyway because they are frightened by what else is out there. It is easier for them to accept all of the bad things happening because they are frightened of the unknown. The same can be said for quitting on a marriage – the person just doesn’t know what is in store for them and so escapes into a different life, a different relationship hoping things will be better and different. Oftentimes these people leave their second relationship for a third, and so on.
But, when you let a husband be a husband; a wife a wife; and a marriage be a marriage, it is just like the wonderful umbrella I received for Christmas. It is there when you need it, always; it is strong and confident; it protects and shelters; it encourages you to face the worst weather with just a little more security than when you try and to do something without its presence. Then, you learn to appreciate the umbrella – and spouse – even more, because they know you and will love you like no one else. Surprisingly, you realize, and accept, you feel the same way about them.