Another couple we know is getting divorced. I am so sad. I want to call them and help them. I want to throw whatever I can to help save them. Have you tried counseling? A marriage conference? A weekend away just the two of you? How about books- or classes? Have you opened up your wedding album or watched your marriage video lately? Oh, the tears are forming… and, honestly, I have only met them once.
We doubled once last year over dinner. It was a good evening, but something did seem off. I thought it was us. Or, me. She is a career driven woman, and I am happy finding much of my identity in being a housewife. They seemed like they had it so “together.” Whatever together means… oh, yeah, a pricey home and exotic vacations. Flashy doesn’t equal happy, I guess. Our husbands still go out for lunch together every once in a while. They get along well. Maybe it wasn’t me then. Maybe it was them?
I have seen the dissolution of many marriages, my first one, included. I was likely ignorant when I was younger. Well, obviously, I was, but I don’t think the weight of it really hit me until now. I guess when I knew someone getting divorced previously it didn’t affect me. I thought, “Oh. That sucks… Not really surprised.” (Yeah, I use to be a horrible person. And, often, I saw it coming.) Now, though, things are different. I pause- seemingly unaware at the reflection of sadness. I have a moment of silence and mourn a marriage in a moment of Wow. I shake my head, and I think about how many people the end of a marriage affects. Family, friends, and children, if any. There’s the dividing of assets. A pain. A beautiful union before G-d becomes a business contract. The love that should have filled a home has changed. It’s anger. It’s hatred. It’s horribly sad.
I don’t know why I mourn marriages more now. It is because I am older? Ten years has added some wisdom to my life. Is it because I so value my current marriage and wish others had the same? Have I been to enough marriage conferences to know it is sacred? I look up at my mantle, lovingly littered with photos of Joseph and me. The large one is us, saying our vows. On each side are favorite photos from a family photo shoot one holiday. There’s another of our first dance, and the fifth is us in London nearly five years ago. We have great stories intertwined with each.
I am laying on my couch typing and see more pics on our bookshelves. Our first anniversary in California. We “splurged” and went to Disney’s California one day. We waited over an hour to try the new Toy Story ride. What was all that fuss about? What idiot would wait in line for over an hour?! Well, when in Rome… or, rather, when at Disney… We had a blast and took the photo just before exiting the ride- 3-D glasses perched on our heads. There’s the photo I took with him after lunch with him in Colorado after lunch with his mom and sister, too. A photo from honeymoon in Maui is on the shelf, too. We had the most beautiful walls of red flowers behind us. Oh, and there’s another photo from our wedding reception in a gifted frame engraved, BAUER. Finally, there’s a photo of us in San Antonio. We were celebrating our third anniversary, becoming debt free, and my birthday. Oh, did we have a nasty fight on my birthday! ha It’s not a sweet memory at all! But, I also remember our tour of the Riverwalk. I remember an amazing, romantic dinner at a local vineyard. We also took a carriage ride along the streets and fell in love with San Antonio and the beautiful old homes that lined the streets. Marriage is made up of memories.
Whenever I hear that lyric, “somebody that I use to know,” I think of one of my ex-boyfriends. We were on and off again for ten years of my life. He was such a large part of my life for so long, and that song kind of bums me out. I think of him and wish him well. But, he’s just “somebody that I use to know.” I don’t want that song for my husband. I want to tear up every time I hear the song, “I can’t help falling in love with you” because it’s ours. I want to keep being called “Bunny” and keep calling him my “Bear.” I want him to know me intimately and entirely from my please-don’t-mention-it-again stories to the way I save the best bite for last whether cake to pizza to lentil loaf and mashed potatoes. I want him to be the one to buy me my first honorary fall pumpkin the day they come out in stores. I know his bad dance moves. I know his pet peeves.
Marriage is muddled when we confuse it with ordinary day to day life. But love isn’t ordinary. It takes two people committed to each other to make the moments magical.
Joseph and I enjoyed Disneyland on our first anniversary by chance. We couldn’t afford a grander trip than one to California (cheap flights from CO and cheap hotels in mid-winter). We were bored one day and decided to splurge on a day at Disneyland. We loved it. And, we vowed to do Disney World in Florida before we had kids. [We are hardcore at the parks- keep up if you can! lol That would torture our future toddler(s)!] We ended up doing Disney World for his thirtieth and met up with friends. We love that the world just falls away when we’re with Mickey Mouse. *smile* When our marriage was strained in March, we got on a flight the next day. It was a pricey trip, but I valued my marriage more than that car fund we had started saving. Sure, we found a ridiculously cheap flight in June and went back again. We have lightheartedly admitted we are Disney addicts in need of a fix. We have laughed at the idea of an intervention, but we look beyond the jesting. I want a place that is ours. I want a place that we can go, and it’s just us even surrounded by thousands of people. I don’t care if we are teased about “our thing” being Disney because I want what’s behind it. I want “our thing” to be happily married. I want us to be the couple that lasts.
I hope you find “your thing.” Do you try new restaurants? Do you get pizza from the same place every week or compare them around town? Maybe, you can try coffee and donuts on your mornings off together. You could travel, too, whether it’s to the other side of the world or just an hour away. You can try dancing lessons or mini golf or bowling. Try collecting something or fixing things up. Find what it takes to strengthen your marriage and do it. Make your marriage built to last.