Even though it may not show through my smile every day, I view my marriage as a badge of honor. I’m always proud to tell people that my wife and I have more than 11 years of marriage under our belt so far—and we’re still adding time.
With each new year celebrated in our marriage, I’m often reminded a piece of advice given to me earlier in life. I always reflect back to a time pre-matrimony, a lifetime ago, when a trusted coworker and friend, who, at the time. was in her fourteenth year of marriage, said something that still rings true today:
“You’re going to have good years and bad years. I hope more good than bad for both of you.”
Good years and bad years?
Not a bad night, or a bad argument ever so often, but a bad 2018? Or bad 2022-27 “rough patch” also known as the Teenage Mutant Mariana Trench years?
Her one comment made me realize what kind of agreement I really set myself up for at the young age of 23. What the heck was I thinking? Rational humans can’t make logical commitments like this.
But we do. Every day. Millions of us make that commitment for thousands of reasons.
And there are good years and bad years for millions of us. The trenches bury millions of us under the pressure of expectations, self imposed and otherwise.
Millions more fight for hope and find their marriages soaring in the contentment of well-being and security. The hopeful place that knows a better tomorrow is always around the corner. And it’s the hope that carries you through the valleys. And the valleys are sure to come.
My wife recently told me, “I’m in an emotionally desolate place.”
I didn’t know how to respond. After a silence, I finally asked, “Is there anything I can do for you? Is there anything you want to share about why you feel that way?”
“No. There’s nothing anyone can do.”
Boom. Conversation over, right? Where does it go from there? We usually spend our nights in front of a computer screen with the latest Netflix or HBO binge going strong in the background. Not tonight. Tonight was silence and dishes. And marriages die in the grave of silence. We’re familiar with the stench of stagnant partnerships and unfulfilled expectations.
I broke the silence with, “Thank you for telling me how you felt. I’m here to listen if you want to talk with me about it.”
I went to bed hoping she still has hope.
BMWK, have you experienced a valley in your marriage? What brought you through?