Photo Credit: Gypsie Raleigh
After 15 years together, my husband and I were staring at each other across a great divide: As DINKs (double icome no kids) we had reached a defining moment in our lives and careers that separated us from our peers. We were no longer the rule but rather the exception. This is new territory for us and for many of our friends who may have never encounteres a couple that was still together after so long with no children to glue them to each other. Every day, we wake up an choose to jump into that divide, into the great unknown together, getting bruised and beat up as we make our way to each other. We wouldn’t change it for the world!
People may not realize that as a couple we have experienced moments of crippling grief and apprehension due to crushing loses and serendipitous wins. Nothing has come to us the traditional way and few things seem to have worked out in the end. We are an exceptional pair under extraordinary circumstances at what seems to be the bottom of a really bad proposition. That burden comes with a lot of pressure and responsibilities, requiring lots of love and devotion to climb out of the hole only to jump back in and save each other when one of us loses their footing or voluntarily drops back in. In its truest of forms marriage is the art of creating and destroying worlds to shape a common reality. Call it dispair, anger, frustration, anxiety, depressiom, too much drinking and whining but that abyss we fall into refills itself everyday with emotions that bubble us up to the surface.
Most days it feels like we were two superpowers that collided to create a whole new country. While we battled each other’s love languages and demons we learned to find the common grounds and the win-wins. Most of our battle wounds come from the obstacles we faced together, like parents that didnt want us to get married or events that questioned our character and our commitment to one another. Losing a pregnancy, not knowing why fertility treatments didn’t work, getting layoff notices and deaths in the family calls, the entirety of our married time has been spent putting out fires and chasing dragons. Because of this our hearts are full of pitfalls like the one in the header picture, or worse, abandoned zones, places we had to quarantine so the land could heal from all the nuclear waste and radiation left in the wake of the war.
The lessons the pain, effort and sacrifice yielded were bountiful. Little by little we mend fences, rebuild bridges, and roll out new methods and tools to work the land. The knowledge library gets new additions every day to make sure we have the insight necessary to move forward. When the issues and discord are flamed from the same fire you have to realize at some point that the problem is the fire itself. Unless you control the fuel or heat source you will continue to get burned. When compromises are reached instead of win-wins no one is happy! The reasonable choice is to surrender if we can’t find a way to send out an SOS to the world.
The action of seeking help humbles us because there is no hope of making it without some sort of outside intervention. No one wants to lose the war, and although the wrong advice and advisors will cost you dearly, not asking for guidance can cost us even more. (We need an Army to fight a war.) No one can go at it alone without a strong support system or as I like to call it, cavalry and infantry. This is why you need to learn when to ask for reinforcements and when to capitulate. Life is a dance and a great marriage is only as good as its worst dancer. Sometimes both sides need to surrender in order to live and fight another day.
After so many falls, intead of parallel lines we are learning to become spirals or helixes so that we can reach the bottom of our difference with grace and dignity. In the end, we have become closer and flexible enough to give each other space until the next drop happens. We are in it together, as individuals, partners and friends. Understanding these dimensions helps us relate and value each other in ways we never thought a fall could help us comprehend, channelling our energy to conquer the world instead of each other. We recognize now that going all in and embracing each other through the broken bones, scrapes and scratches is what makes us successfull and keeps us in awe and love of each other. We see the beauty in the bruises; we heal and mend as one.