Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All the days of my life

News items can't all engage everyone, so we identify with stories to which we can somehow relate. Cancer survivors may pay particular interest to health issues, veterans take note of politicians toying with their benefits. As a parent, I often feel an extra layer of gut-wrenching sadness when I read of any tragedy involving a child's death, because I cannot help but put myself in the mother's shoes. Lately, I've noticed how unsettled I become reading of celebrity divorces. 

I don't have any vested interest in Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's separation, but it saddens me. I let my mind wander to their sadness. I wonder what happened. What ever causes people to separate from their spouse? Same thing when Mayim Bialik and her husband divorced, and when Robin Thicke's wife dumped him. It's shameful I'm even following these celeb relationships, but I'm a sap. I love when a love story works out.

Rich and I have been married for six and a half years now, and that means we're coming up on the fabled seven-year itch. In total, we've been together for 13 years, but we've only been grownups for a few of those. We have seen a few marriages around us end, and it's jarring. Especially so when those couples had wed around the same time as us. It gives me pause to shudder and wonder, "what if?" What if this was all over, turned upside down and done? What if it was out of my hands? What if we just decided to peace out and start over? I can't imagine any scenario like that, and have had nightmares of us separating, ones that leave me with feelings of anxiety and being sick to my stomach for days afterwards.

I am a child of divorce and can testify it is no picnic. It is not the clean separating of assets the statistics may lead us to believe. Perhaps it is true that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, but the number doesn't come close to telling the stories of division, sadness, confusion, hurt. It is difficult to move forward and be married when there are so few examples of lifelong commitment and love for us to model ourselves after. I once had a difficult time believing it was even possible anymore for two people to meet, fall in love and stay committed for a lifetime. Today, I am learning to do this our own way: without many role models or guides. 

We come up with answers as we go along and figure out what works for us. We honour our commitments and our vows the way we know how. We don't expect to be happy the whole way through. What kind of life would that be? The most interesting, strong and compassionate people I know have all experienced great loss and sadness. We need the lows to appreciate the highs, right? In our marriage, we have known great loss and sadness, and have made it through great difficulties. We don't expect that to be it.

We are better together. Simple as that. I can cling to that when things are difficult, and I can smile about it when I feel its truth deep down in my bones. It may not work out for everyone I know, though I hope it does. I know I will see more people in my life end marriages for a whole slew of reasons I may never understand. I will always be jarred by it, I predict, always taking stock of where we are and how we can avoid a similar fate. 

It is hard work. I look at myself on my wedding day and see someone who has no idea what's coming. She hasn't a clue the hard work to which she has just committed. That's not the point, though. I see someone happy to be bound to her love forevermore, and that's something I still recognize in my reflection today.


  1. I've never commented before and feel weird that it's this post that I felt drawn to, but I am finding the same thing this year. I think because my husband and I are approaching our 12th anniversary and that was when things fell apart for my parents. And maybe more worrisome - my daughter is the age I was when they did get divorced. The thought of her having to go through that just turns my stomach! Even though I am fine and she would be fine, just ugh. And yes, it is a lot of messy, worthwhile work. Keep fighting the good fight :)

    1. Congrats on 12 years ... that's an accomplishment worth celebrating!

  2. Thanks for sharing Sarah! Life can be strange sometimes and we don't know what will be thrown at us...just continue working hard together for your marriage and you two will be the 'role models of what a good & committed relationship is all about' for your girls.
    Tea & talk sometime? :-)

  3. "It is hard work. I look at myself on my wedding day and see someone who has no idea what's coming. She hasn't a clue the hard work to which she has just committed." Thank you for this. It's placed words to a feeling I've had in my heart for a while now. Not that the hard work isn't worthwhile and incredibly rewarding... it's just so easy to be young and naive and think you've got it together! :)

  4. Beautiful and SO relevant to what's been going on through my mind lately. Couples like you two are the only people I have as role models for the day I get married, it feels like some times.

  5. Sarah, that was a good blog. Being married is always a challenge. I'm approaching the 30th yr. and still we are always planning for our retirement. I'm not sure what that will be but my husband and I still talk plural. I still meet friends that are divorcing even after being married for 25 + years. There are always bumps and obstacles but living without my mate seems a picture I don't want to explore. It's always fun to look but the interest to reach out is not there. A long time marriage spouse is about love-which changes all the time- commitment and most of all your very best friend. I think when the friendship ends so does that relationship. It is always uncharted territory but you try to figure out what works for the two of you plus the outside factors, (kids). Every year seems to hinge on the seven year, ten year, what ever year itch. It is a balancing act and you work to figure out how you can equalize to ebb and flow. I'm sure you will make it because of the love and strong friendship too. Respect for each other and the families around you.


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