a (short) conversation about marriage

Posted: January 24, 2020 by Rachel

When she asked if I wanted to talk I’m not sure she expected a conversation about marriage. We’d been grappling with some complex feelings brought on by the confession of a mutual acquaintance and I sensed her real reason for reaching out might be that she herself wanted to talk. I wasn’t ready to talk about the confession, so I talked about marriage.

“It’s kind of sad,” I said,  “but I’ve been thinking a lot about how, among all the other things my mom is going to miss, she won’t see how happy I am with Dom. How well I chose.”

“She knew you chose ‘a good one’ and articulated it often,” she said.

“It feel like every direction I turn I’m running into troubled marriages. It has definitely reminded me of how good I have it.”

“Cherish it. Most men are dogs and truly don’t respect the commitment they make when marrying.” She chuckled, and I resisted the urge to ask if this was why she wasn’t married. “I realize that’s a bit harsh but it’s how I feel.”

Truth was, I was beginning to see her point—not that all men are dogs, but that we do seem to be circling around a troublesome belief as of late: that marriage doesn’t require work. That it shouldn’t require work. 

If you believe this, your marriage probably isn’t as strong as you might think it is.

A blogger I follow religiously (almost embarrassingly so) recently said something that had me nodding like an insane person. She said, “There are a lot of seasons in life when relationships are just not working. And then there are those sweet seasons when they are. We’ve worked through a lot of them—the good and the bad. But I want to acknowledge the one we’re in now, the one where I am just so damn happy that we picked each other. The mutual respect and interest and love we have for each other that seems to so beautifully pervade all the other facets of life. No doubt we’ll find ourselves in another season again, but the reminder that so often it’s just that—a season—is such a blessing that comes with a lot of years spent together.” 

When I saw Bridget’s post, I immediately screencaped it and sent it to Dom. “This woman just so perfectly put into words how I feel with us.”

The past year was tough. This time last year, we had just found out my mom was sick. We didn’t yet know what it was or how bad it was. Or how bad it was going to get, and fast. After losing my mom in April, I shut down in a lot of ways that I can only really recognize now, nine months later: I pulled away from friends and family, I launched myself even further into my career as a distraction, I stopped exercising, stopped caring what I ate. I drank more. I said no to my son when I should have been saying yes. I would get angry at Dom for not ever talking about my mom, but when he did I couldn’t stop crying. I was hurt and surprised by the people who never reached out, and often shocked by those who did. I wanted people to know when I needed space and when I needed company without having to tell them. I simply couldn’t trust my emotions or my thoughts. They were in constant contradiction of one another.

But somehow, through all that and other family issues, Dom and I came out on the other end closer than ever. More in love than ever. Like Bridget, I find myself in a season where I’m so damn happy that Dom and I chose one another. But equally as important, I’m happy to have chosen someone who understands that marriage takes work, that it’s often about compromise, mutual respect, and thinking of someone else more than you think of yourself. 

Dom often asks me, “If you had to do it all again, would you still marry me?” and my answer is always yes.