It’s kind of amazing. I mean, kind of. Not unexpected. Not surprising. But remarkable.
She has been married to me for 22 years. Stuck around voluntarily. Puts up with. Tolerates. Maybe even likes sometimes.
But not *that* amazing. I mean, this married stuff is a lot of work. I think this year we both identified with the term “winter blues”. January and early February were rough. But that’s some of the joy…the rollercoaster of relationships. Sometimes I’m annoyingly crazy about her. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. I can either grind out the hard times (that really aren’t that hard). or….
So why are we still married? I’m not expressing regret. Not at all. But sometimes I wonder why?
And more infrequently I remember to approach that question with humility. In a way, so far so good.
But in other ways there is a lot of intentionality in our relationship. (Is that a word?) I work to make sure she feels appreciated. Let me give you an example. I’m sure you have read The 5 Love Languages. If not, close your internet and go now.
My language is physical touch. I can’t sit near enough to Julie. Some part of me has to touch her. I think one hand stays on her back or shoulder or hand while we sleep.
Julie wants quality time. Like eyes open, sitting across a table and …like…talking and listening and stuff. That’s like…work, man.
A lot has changed in 22 years. I have had lots of different jobs. Lots of different cars. Several different houses. I went from being the doer of the things to being the manager of the things. I shifted from dreaming of farming to embracing the economic opportunity in the workplace (but cows still make me smile). I barely remember having children in diapers. I have learned to relax more.
But I have also learned how to really work. And where this post is concerned, I have learned to work on my marriage. I am humble enough to say, “so far so good”. We are fallible people and the next year brings unknown challenges. Admittedly, there are some pretty rough spots from time to time. But I think we both agree that this deal is not 50/50. We both have to bring 100%. And it’s work. No matter how kind, intelligent, hard-working, funny or beautiful she is, some days I just don’t want anything to do with her. We have both learned to be attentive to that feeling, to break it down and to not let it fester. 22 years in and I’m still learning.
I love you Julie. 22 years. Still trying to learn all about you.