I never realized how beautiful and ugly marriage can be at the same time.
Interwoven so tightly together and made known to us, these moments were what we agreed to when we made our vows to each other so many years ago.
The beautiful and the ugly—for better and for worse.
Ugly. It’s a strong word to use. But when we’re experiencing these moments, it feels that way, doesn’t it? Just ugly.
The ugly moments when we fight and utter words to each other we would never utter to anyone else within earshot.
The ugly moments when we argue in circles, overriding each other’s voices because no one is really listening anyway.
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The ugly moments when every flaw in our character stands out like a sore thumb.
The ugly moments when our time together is spent antagonizing each other rather than enjoying each other’s company.
The ugly moments when we dare wonder how we ended up together when all we do is cause each other strife.
And of course, no one wants to talk about these ugly parts of marriage.
It can be embarrassing, a sign of failure on our part—that we don’t know how to fight fair, that we’re hopeless communicators, that our personality is so aggravating, or perhaps worse yet, that we made the wrong choice in a partner and our marriage is doomed to fail.
Sometimes, we also fall into the trap of falsely thinking we’re the only ones struggling with the ugliness.
So, we tuck away these ugly moments, sweep them into a dark corner where no one will notice. We hope they will go away, disappear completely into the abyss so we can just hurry back to the beautiful. In moments of utter despair, we reach out in prayer, asking God to change our spouse so they may see their wayward ways, knowing that deep down, it is us who will be required to change first.
When we’re in the throes of the ugly, it can be so very hard to remember what the beautiful can feel like. Our vision is clouded, a thick fog of tension looms overhead, and we’re unable to notice the beauty that also exists around us.
The beautiful moments when we are loving and kind and respectful to each other.
The beautiful moments when we talk and connect and it seems like we just get each other.
The beautiful moments when we only see the good that resides within each other.
The beautiful moments when our time together is relished.
The beautiful moments when we are intimate and connect on another level that is simply indescribable in words.
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We often forget that these beautiful moments are not far and few between. Rather, they are frequent, and they hold us together so that when the ugly does hit, we have a lifeline in place, an anchor that keeps us from straying too far away from each other.
For the longest time, I wished that marriage could just be the beautiful, the “for better” moments. Things would be so much easier this way, wouldn’t they?
But then I realized something. This is life, and life isn’t fair. This is marriage, and marriage isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
The beautiful, the ugly, and even the mediocre all wrapped into one is what marriage is like once the infatuation and honeymoon stages have long passed and passion is no longer the glue holding things together.
Now, when we’re in the midst of a storm, when our marriage is like a torrential downpour of rain that just won’t seem to let up, I remember the words that were asked of us so many years ago. For better and for worse—the beautiful and the ugly. Because truth be told, while those ugly moments certainly do exist, there are a heck of a lot of beautiful moments that are ubiquitous too.