Have I ever mentioned that I find marriage difficult? Certainly my own history demonstrates my personal struggle with the institution.
It dawned on me recently, however, that my perspective has been skewed. The truth is not so much that marriage is hard but that I am hard on marriage. Talk about high maintenance! That would be me.
No one believed she was better prepared to be a “Christian wife and mother” than I at the ripe age of 20. I had been trained by the church my entire life in addition to having great parents as role models. I understood the marriage thing! (This is where I pause while blushing and allow a moment of compassion for myself.)
My naiveté and self-righteousness obscured for far too long how difficult I am to live with. I am rough on husbands!
I mention all this now because as I grow older and wiser I find I have tremendous empathy for couples. My heart goes out to any two adults who embark upon the journey of lifelong committed, monogamous, honest, supportive relationship. I have even more compassion for couples stumbling along the way, doubting themselves and one another. Marriage has challenged me in ways I never imagined, and often I failed to meet the challenge. I’m not very good at it.
Nevertheless, I find persevering and trusting in a lifetime commitment to be an exquisite classroom for self-discovery, faith and trust, compassion and loyalty, honesty and transparency, humanity. Marriage has benefitted me far more than I have ever benefitted it. Though I no longer believe in saving any marriage if by doing so honesty and integrity are sacrificed, I continue to have great respect for those who are willing to work at it until it is obvious that the next step to regaining or preserving personal integrity is divorce.
I’m interested in your thoughts and experiences. Has your experience of marriage been easy and comfortable? Or, like me, has marriage pushed and prodded you, frightened and challenged you, and revealed that you are not who you thought you were?