I’m well aware of the stats, or at least what they used to be – that fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. For all the attention I pay to statistics, they could now be higher…or lower (wouldn’t that be nice?). There are countless articles, opinions, workshops, even sermons on why so many marriages fail and how we can ensure ours won’t. Knowledge is power after all, isn’t it? Isn’t it?
When we marry, we take vows. Or to put it another way, we make promises. Promises that, at the time of their utterance, we have every intention of keeping. So what happens to make us change our minds? Why do we break those promises? I wish I could tell you I had the answers, but I’d be lying. For each person I’m sure it’s different. And for each person, I’m just as certain that they think they have excellent reasons for breaking those promises. Don’t we excel at justifying ourselves? Our choices? Or is that just me?
In my opinion, what it comes down to is putting SELF first. Often, we put ourselves as individuals before ourselves as a couple. MY needs, MY feelings, MY opinions, etc., are important damn it!
I’ve made it no secret that JD and I have marriage issues now and then. Show me another couple who have been together for 18 years and I’ll show you a couple who have had issues. Every couple encounters some friction if they’re together long enough. I don’t mean that every couple argues or has knock-down brawls. But even without overt signs, I’d have trouble believing any couple who say they’re perfectly content ALL. THE. TIME.
What is it then that sends one partner over the edge to divorce? JD’s first wife left him in the middle of the night while he was at work. It was a complete surprise to him that she was unhappy. Consequently, he had difficulty trusting again. When JD and I were still early in our marriage I told him there were only two things that would make me leave him. Abuse or infidelity. I even made light of the possibility of infidelity by claiming that I don’t share well. I don’t give up easily (my first marriage lasted 15 years before I threw in the towel).
Recently I was reminded how much JD loves me. When I made the connection between the action and the feeling behind it, I re-discovered why I am still with this man after all this time and all our struggles.
I may have mentioned here at some point that he rarely sleeps well. He’s usually up till the wee hours watching old television shows or movies, surfing the internet or researching something or other. The other day he had been awake all night, lying down shortly before my alarm went off. I did my usual groaning and moaning as I shut it off and got started. A short time later I was in the kitchen doling out our vitamins, his prescription meds, my anti-inflammatories, etc. That morning I was also opening a packet of sinus pain reliever to add to my collection. In the struggle to get those blasted caplets out of their plastic and foil prison I bumped the container holding my other pills, sending it to the floor where the contents scattered. As you might imagine, I was not pleased and muttered something along the lines of “Damn!” then started gathering them up. From the bedroom JD asked what was wrong. While looking for the one pill I of course couldn’t find, I explained what I’d done, and that one of the dropped pills was missing. Since we have a dog who will literally eat anything, I couldn’t ignore that one stray pill but it wasn’t anywhere I looked. I even reached under the stove to see if it had rolled under the edge. All I found there was evidence of what a bad housekeeper I’ve turned into. But that’s a different story.
Without being asked, JD got out of bed and without any complaining he joined me in the kitchen. Once there, he pulled out the drawer at the bottom of the stove and there was the missing pill! It had rolled further under the stove than I could reach with the drawer in place. I quickly retrieved it so he wouldn’t have to hold the drawer any longer than necessary. Forget that the pill had been safe all along from doggy ingestion. I didn’t know it was out of her reach and I would have been worried about it all day. JD’s selflessness put my mind at rest. He put me first despite his exhaustion. That, my friends, is love.
Today on my commute this song came on my player and it reminded me of the other morning, and emphasized that I am a very lucky woman. Whether or not you like country music, I think you can appreciate the words. I wish you all a love like this.