Although six years has flown by, I remember what it was like. I remember thinking I was ready for another serious relationship and wanting to push all chips in – as quickly as possible. This time was different. It wasn’t built on drugs, alcohol, or a delusional lifestyle.
We had an understanding, hope of a great future, and most importantly, the Most High God. Even still, I wasn’t quite prepared for what we’d endure in just six short years.
Let’s Go Get a Ring
Those were the words Bryan said one day when he came home. He poked his head in Alex’s room and said, “I’m going to marry your mother.” Then he pops into the kitchen where I was washing dishes and he said, “Let’s go get a ring.”
Of course my heart jumped and probably skipped a few beats because by this time we had been dating for almost a year and I was more than ready to say I do. I knew Bryan’s struggles, I knew his quirks, and I knew that whatever else happened would be worth it.
Same for him. He knew my issues, he new my struggles, and most of all – he saw all my baggage. Beyond all that, he still wanted to “put a ring on it.” If you ask him, he says he felt like God put him in me and Alex’s life to help make it better and (in my words) show us the true meaning of love.
And that’s when it all began…
I Wasn’t Ready
To be completely honest, Bryan knew before I would be ready to admit that I wasn’t quite ready for another relationship. I still had some sabotaging kinks that should’ve been worked out, but so did he. So I thought, “Why wait?!”
What I wasn’t ready for was how to properly handle my husband’s struggles. His struggle with pornography was one that I thought I could handle, but like most women I made it about me. I questioned what was wrong with me, if he truly loved me, and why he couldn’t stop.
I also wasn’t ready for helping him in his down moments. Instead of being the encouraging and praying helpmate, I was the belittling, trash talking wife that figured my words – no matter how harsh – would light a fire under his butt to do better.
Little did I know that my reactions and words were planting seeds that I would (much later) have to help pluck out and replant with new seeds.
Even in the midst of him showing me how to handle situations, I still chose not to pay attention. When I got angry and went “ape” (as him and the kids used to call my episodes), he remained calm and gave me space. He suggested I take drives or baths to help calm me down. But I still ignored it.
It All Changed When…
I’d say that our marriage changed once I decided that divorce, or any other ploy to fill my holes, was no longer an option. For Bryan, it (divorce) never has been. Not to say he didn’t think about it, but he never used it as a threat. He’s always (jokingly) said that even if he has to stay in the closet, he was never leaving me and our children. Even in the height of my rage and anger, wall punching, furniture throwing, and downgrading words – he said, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Things also changed once I started to realize how selfish I was – okay, still [partly] am. I love when things go my way. Surely I’m not the only one, but marriage really tests that, am I right? Then add to that four children (and one on the way), and my goodness. It seems like test after test.
Seeing our marriage through the covenant to which we vowed on also created a major shift. Just the other day Bryan was explaining the vows we took to our children – for better or for worse, through sickness and through health, for richer and for poorer… and it brought our wedding day back to life. Those are some serious declarations that shouldn’t be taken lightly!
So, What Is Marriage?
Sure, marriage is supposed to be built on love. But that four letter word can be just as bad as some other ones we know so well (that aren’t so good to say, LOL). Marriage looks like letting your tired, hormonal and pregnant wife rest – even if that means handling the kids and fixing dinner (Bryan does that quite often).
The love in marriage looks like making your husband’s coffee and laying out his boxers because you know that’s what he likes – even when he said something to piss you off.
Marriage is when you want so desperately to say something that you know is out of line, but you choose silence (and prayer). Love between two people knows no end, but respects boundaries. This kind of love is patient, kind, apologizes, recognizes when things have changed, trusts, protects, and endures.
Bryan and I have been married six years now, and I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a thing I would change… because the truth of the matter is I would’ve changed myself a long time ago. I wouldn’t been the wife that I needed to be when he needed it most. But even still… this is marriage, and this is love. Traveling the journey together.