My husband and I have been together 14 years and married for eight. To some that may not seem like a very long time, but to us, it’s a very long time. Like so many other marriages, we’ve been through a lot as a couple. We’ve struggled. We’ve fallen down. We’ve both thought about throwing in the towel many times. Yet, here we are, still married.
The past few years have probably been the hardest on us overall. We suffered two miscarriages in 2015, got hit hard with an autism diagnosis for our older son, struggled financially from the aftermath of us both going back to college as adults, sold a house we spent all of our hard-earned savings on at a loss to get into our dream home, all while welcoming another baby and both secretly battling crippling depression and anxiety. All of the things that we’ve been dealing with over the past few years came to a head in 2017.
All of the pressure finally took its toll on us both and we had not just one, but two major arguments that resulted in the “D” word being thrown out in the most sincere, serious way from both of our mouths. Friends and family members were called in to help mediate and support us through those two difficult patches. It was nice, but our marriage has always just been the two of us. Of course I’ve discussed things about my marriage with my mom and best friends, but we’ve always kept our marriage to ourselves. It is ours after all. So, to bring in outsiders into our home and ask for help was difficult. Some of them were very helpful and offered great perspective about what makes a lasting marriage, but others did more harm than good. Some of them left with an opinion of our marriage that I don’t think represents us for what we really are. Because after these two fights, we made it through. We fought for our marriage and for each other to make it to where we are now. We decided that our family was worth it, that we loved each other enough to keep trying.
You see, there are so many things that these people don’t see in my marriage. There are a million moments that have woven us together over the years that makes the idea of separating from each other seem like a form of torture. These people think they know what our marriage is about. However, what they saw was us at our weakest and most vulnerable. In reality, when you strip it all down, our marriage is made of that hardest stone you can find.
They don’t see the way my husband kisses the back of my hand as I pass him by, like he has done in all of our time together. They don’t see the way I stop and sniff his work shirt before I toss it into the washer because I love his “scent” even though he thinks I’m a little nuts when I tell him that. They don’t see the way he scratches our older son’s back at night while they sit in the recliner each night before bed, just like I used to do with my own father. They don’t see the way I sometimes catch him looking at me as I’m spinning the baby around in circles and I know he’s looking on with love and appreciation for being the kind of mom he always wanted for his children.
They don’t see the way I can look at his face and know exactly what he’s going to say before the words exit his mouth. They don’t see the way he senses how stressed I’ve been with the kids all day, and immediately enters “dad mode” when his feet walk through the door each evening. They don’t see us in the morning, when we offer to make each other’s next cup of coffee because we know exactly how the other takes it, so we know it’ll be just right.
They don’t see the love that exists between that beautiful man and me. They don’t see it because they aren’t here day in and day out. They think they have us pinned. They think they know all that there is to know. But, they don’t.
They don’t see the belly laughs that exit the bodies of my children and me as he makes us laugh like no other. They don’t see the way he can make me feel sexy and beautiful in my sweatpants and his old t-shirts. They don’t see the way he makes me feel when he wraps me in his big bear hugs—safe, loved, and supported.
I wish they could see all of these things. I wish they would understand that even though we’ve been in a hard season of marriage, it doesn’t matter. Because underneath it all there are so many little things that have built our marriage. I wish they could see, because from the inside looking outward, we’re doing just fine from my point of view.