I have been married for 9 years.
Lately this blessed union of true love and commitment has only resembled the later; commitment.
We both know it. We both feel the ravine spreading between us, each day pushing the sides wider. Nine years isn’t that long when couples crusade marriage for decades, but it is long enough for two people to recognize loneliness crusading their own.
It’s an odd feeling really, to be lonely in marriage.
This blah-cloud has been hovering over us. . Sometimes we don’t talk. Sometimes we do. Our therapists helps with the talking.
In those conversations we agree on our hunches of what is causing the space between us. The stress of three little lives needing everything we have, even if what we are giving is sub-par. His schedule. My trigger happy depression. His desire to fix everything. My life-long battle with contentment. Money. A busted dryer. A miscommunication over softball practice. All of it.
It sifts us into separate rooms when the children are in bed. It sifts us into silence.
Scroll, Scroll, Scroll-repeat. Numb. Ignore.
This isn’t the first time we have drifted, and I would be naive to think it will be the last.
Marriage-my marriage-can be a lonely place.
Earlier this week I pulled out a picture from my son’s school folder. A crayon, colored in with several different colors, with a line underneath that read ‘I want to be like the color Black, because it has all the colors.’
I didn’t understand. So I asked my six year old to explain the picture. “When all the colors run together mom, they make black. So I want to be the color black because it has all the colors in it.”
And I cried. Cause’ sometimes I cry for no good reason. But the days I am wearing the blackness of marriage junk it is easier to cry.
This black thing that is hanging over our marriage-these reasons for our drifting and silence-when pulled apart they are not so heavy- when standing alone they are easier to understand. Our (healthy) children. His schedule (job that he loves). My trigger-happy depression (my awareness and sensitivity to life around me). His desire to fix everything (his desire to take care of his family). My life long struggle with contentment (my love for adventure). Money (we have it). Busted dryer (who really cares).
They are just slammed together right now is all, running together to make this marriage feel dark and lonely. All this weariness, all this uncomfortable shifting and small talk, it is all part of a marriage that has been fueled by colorful days, and dark days, and laughter and tears, by pushing and pulling and giving, and by love.
It has been driven by love. Love that is colorful.
Maybe that is what marriage is. This intense experience of both color and darkness. And it all runs together so when the going gets tough, the hurt runs deeper and the words wound easier because somewhere under the rubble of the hard days, there is love. Love that remembers the good days. Love that pushes against the current. Love that balloons up like a rainbow after a storm when the worst has passed. And takes our breath away.
Love that can look, and feel, dark.
Maybe it is love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
I am holding onto that.
Marriage is hard. It is the second hardest thing that I have found myself involved in; second only to parenting.
I know what the good book says about marriage.
Then I lived (live) marriage.
And now I don’t know what I know anymore other than this is a daily choice of choosing the one you vowed to love OVER and OVER again. CHOOSING. Marriage is a marathon of colorful and dark (hurtful) choices.
This is selfless work.
This work and commitment to each other has been the bridge that has kept us connected (really Josh’s commitment)-but it is short term.
Because we need love. Both of us. All of us.
Thankfully, our love has been sparring, and enduring, all things.
If your marriage, or any relationship, has become overcast, close your eyes, and try and separate all the mess and look for color.
And look for love. Real love.
This kind of love::
4.Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. (1st Corinthians 13)
I don’t know if it is there. I hope it is there. It may not be.
Maybe all the black is smashed together with things that are ugly, and violent, and hurtful. Maybe you have added your own pieces to the darkness.
Even still, there are things to hope for in the darkness. Still things to light up. Still time for apologies. Still room to get back on the rail. Still time for change. Even still, hard doesn’t mean over.
We have to choose to love, over and over again. I am believing with you.
Look for color friend. There really are beautiful things in the black.
*written in 2014 on Courtney’s Blog, but therapy is what helped Josh & Courtney find the color in their marriage.
Do you need help finding the color in your marriage? Call 319-366-4673 or send us a message today to set up an appointment with one of our professional therapists. They are ready and able to help you navigate life’s toughest stuff.