What Makes Marriage So Damn Difficult?

My marriage is not a fairytale.
It’s not a soft place to land or
a safe haven from the chaos of the world.
It’s not an enchanting romance.

When I think of my marriage it doesn’t conjure up images of
all is well.

My marriage might be described better by a
raging storm,
swirling eddy,
rundown shed,
patched-up worn pair of jeans,
or tattered blanket.

What I’m trying to say is my marriage isn’t what I expected. At all. 

The fights, the hurt, the annoyances, the shattered pieces, the tears, the frailty are all mixed up with
make-out sessions, back rubs, and long conversations, thrown together with
morning sex, secret smiles and stifled laughter, and adventurous dreams.

Is this what makes it so damn difficult?

When the person in front of you is your favorite company
and your worst enemy,
a wished-for soul mate
and someone who steals the freedom of being fully yourself,
a trusted friend who shares the load of living
and a frustrating roommate who leaves their dirty dishes in the sink every day.

Instead of holding the tension with the elegance of a musician or a dancer,
I plan a divorce or dream of running away to Paris.
Staying put or muttering I’m sorry is at the bottom of my list.

Marriage will make you into a better person, they said.

Of course, no one dares to mention that one day
you could very likely both decide to
go your separate ways when you’re fed up with the
back and forth, give and take, love and hate. 

Everyone grows tired. Enough is enough.
We decide to find ourselves, our footing, under separate roofs, along new paths.
And that is the necessary and needed next step for so many.

And some couples give up, surrendering to the exhaustion in another way.
They stop trying to make it work and
decide to keep walking.
Hand in hand they travel, still tripping over each other every day.
But the familiar grooves of their flimsy love are worn and comfortable.
So they just keep swimming.

I’m not sure which road we’ll follow.

Our marriage is lacking, deficient in key ingredients I’m sure.
The only things we seem to have in abundance are ragged parts and reckless ways.
But it’s ours. A little place to practice hope as a form of forgiveness,
revel in our ravaging hunger, and go crazy together and apart.

Perhaps one day, one day, we will be able to look back and say that loved lived there all along,
a growing, immature, tender, feisty, frail love. 

A real-life fairytale we cultivated without even knowing it.

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