The truth is I don’t even remember what we said to each other that day. That day, in front of all of our friends and family, we repeated words as we stammered through our nerves. I don’t remember a single one. What I do know is that day, before all those near and dear, I made a public proclamation to do always and forever and I meant it to the deepest core of me.
There is a saying of the ‘seven year itch’ described by Wikipedia as ‘a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after seven years of marriage. The phrase originated as a name for irritating and contagious skin complaints of a long duration…’
Well guess who’s rounding up to her seven year wedding anniversary?
Here’s the thing.
I may not remember the words recited. I may not remember the majority of details of that day that started it all and I don’t care, because ultimately it isn’t the words or the little details that matter. Regardless of whether the roof had caved in and my dress got stuck in the back of my underwear, we just wanted an official proclamation of our belonging to each other. A wedding is ONE (albeit special) day, the introduction to the ultimate story of your lives. My sincere hope for all of you however, is for every day after because they are what create the chapters that define how your book will read.
And marriage will read messy.
I get why there is a term about a seven year itch. I do. I don’t know why it is the seventh year that was deemed the deciding factor, but I do understand that there is a term for happiness declining in marriage. Marriage isn’t about being happy, not all the time anyway. Marriage isn’t even about love really, not all the time anyway. From the moment you enter into marriage life is irrevocably changed. Never again will life be about just you and your ‘stuff’ again. You are forever joined, and that can get itchy. The wedding industry (a multi-BILLION dollar industry) along with Pinterest in its infinite creative wisdom, have developed a brand that has made marriage about the wedding experience. Photographed for thousands of dollars to capture all the tireless details of the infamous big day. On the opposite spectrum there is an equally thriving industry of divorce attorneys and mediators on a park bench near you eager to help transition you out of your marriage as painlessly as possible. Both serve their purpose and both are missing the point.
Somewhere along the line we have been misled.
We live in a culture of feelings, immediacy and 1×1 filtered squares in our instafeeds. Marriage doesn’t align with any of those things and because of that all too many couples experience that ‘itch’ early on. Falling in love with my husband, I was so caught up by the surge of new and powerful feelings that my face hurt from the beaming smile etched across it day after day. Imagine my joy when he asked for always and forever with me…an emphatic yes! We exchanged our rings and said the I Do’s and then a big whopping dose of LIFE happened. Career paths changed amidst full-time work and school, every other year babies happened at the end of long, difficult, hormone surged pregnancies coupled with zero sleep from the first and then the second little darling we were blessed with. A long streak of financial strain on the shoulders of one while fumbling through establishing whatever this ‘mom role’ world meant and was supposed to look like. Things weren’t easy. Marriage wasn’t easy. In fact, life felt hard.
Our culture is forever encouraging us to follow our own path, to do what feels right to us, to be free, to do what makes us feel happy. Are these things wrong? NO! Are they natural? Of course! It is our human nature to be concerned with ourselves first.
Marriage isn’t about one person though.
Marriage is about showing up. Marriage is about biting your tongue and offering your ear. Marriage is about hearing the words that the other can’t say and a willingness to forgive the ones that they do. Marriage is a daily choice based on a commitment and it isn’t always going to feel easy. It is however, always going to feel worth it. Developing your communication style, appreciating the others idiosyncrasies, learning how to read between the lines, these things all take time. Seasons in all areas of life change and not always in a pace that we might hope for or expect, but I promise that they do change.
I married a man that I respected enough to follow and trusted enough to walk by my side. Our season is changing, moving toward our seventh year after several itchy, hard and transitional years.
I have to tell you that I feel like we’ve finally found that sweet spot.