laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Imperfect Perfection

on June 13, 2011

There are currently two friends of mine that are in some part of the divorce process. It’s heartbreaking, truly. I’m not going into the details behind it, but just know that these are two wonderful women who deserve to be happy and loved, and I truly hope they know that. After an e-mail from one, something she said resonated with me (after divulging that *gasp* yes, even my marriage has had times where it’s really not easy), about wishing to be more like other couples, happy couples. The truth is, ALL couples have at least one point in their marriage of something, some words, some…times that could either make or break the relationship. I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as a happy couple! I believe I’m part of a happy couple-ship… at least most days. What I am saying is that it’s real life. Just like anything else in real life marriage, and relationships of all forms (whether it’s a boyfriend, a sister, a best friend) has ups and downs. It’s messy, it’s work, it’s time consuming, emotion consuming…it’s real. And it’s also worthwhile. I am not saying this to say divorce is evil or that you have to stay married no matter what...this is really not about that. This is just about the work of staying married, or staying in any relationship for that matter.

While I know I’ve talked about how if hubbyman and I didn’t have bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all, it’s not entirely true (and we don’t wholeheartedly believe that we have bad luck, either. Just so you know.). We have been fortunate in each other. I was fortunate enough to have married my long-time friend, and the first boy I ever kissed. (read about that here) For a shy, insecure girl, with major trust issues…this was key. As of this month, I’ve known my husband for half of my life (*sigh I’m getting so old!*). That said, I can see how you would think with all that time, and friendship, and blah, blah blah… that it would be easy, that we’d know each other so well that we’d always finish each other’s sentences, always a step ahead because we know what’s coming, and things like that. While I will admit to usually knowing the “where is *insert random item*?” question before it’s even asked, and that I can always know exactly where he left anything (even though I can never remember where I set my glasses, or my phone), even if I didn’t see him leave it… we actually can’t read each other’s minds. While certainly know exactly where and which buttons to press, we often still need specific directions on how to fix it after said buttons have been pushed. We know each other very well, and yet he still leaves his laundry everywhere, even though he knows I’ve gotten a million laundry baskets for him to throw it in. And I still set dishes in the sink, instead of on the counter, even though that makes him roll his eyes the way the trail of his clothes does to me. It’s real life.

I could, of course, tell you, we’re perfect for each other, grow more in love every single day, that we hardly ever say a negative word to each other, and that it just comes easy for us. But that wouldn’t be completely honest, and seriously, who wants to read about how everything’s perfect (and therefore better than everyone else!)? Nobody. Because we all know that’s not real life. In real life we do things that can have negative consequences, we say things that we can’t take back, and we think things we’d never admit to out loud. It’s hard, it’s sad, sometimes even heartbreaking, but it’s real. And it can also be wonderful.

I did the Love Dare a few months ago, and granted I didn’t do it in the 40 days they prescribe, but I wanted to make sure that I meant every thing they challenged us to do. And sometimes it would take a while before I was ready to put my big girl pants on and follow through. I didn’t do it to save my marriage from imminent danger.  I did it to maintain my marriage. So that should a day arise when we feel like we’re at a crossroads… well, I’ll have some tools to work my way through. I feel like it gave me a fresh perspective, of my husband and of marriage. And it helped us to talk through some things. Like how easily I forget things, without making the decision to forgive, first. Truly. I know the adage is “I forgive, but I don’t forget.” I’m completely opposite. I can go to sleep just fuming, but I wake up and I’ve forgotten how mad I was and move on until something makes me remember and I’m mad all over, because while my brain had forgotten the incident, my heart hadn’t forgiven.

And I also don’t follow the “never let the sun set on your anger” one either… because sometimes, you just need some time and space. So that things aren’t said that you can’t take back. We do, however, have a rule that we always kiss goodnight. No matter what. So while we may be going to bed without fully resolving whatever issue was at hand, we are still connecting in a way that tells each other, “I love you and I am committed to you, even though I’d rather be anywhere but right next to you at the moment.” And for us that works. In our going-on-7-years marriage, I can count the times where we have gone to bed without doing that. At least the times where we’ve forgone it intentionally. I’m not counting the times we were apart or the times we’ve fallen asleep putting the kids to bed… just the times where we purposely did not kiss each other. Really. We may not always feel like kissing, much less talking to the other, but we do it anyways. For for us, that small action, is very important. And so when he finally wakes up, from falling asleep reading to the kids, and climbs into bed…and gives me a kiss, well, to me, it’s a big piece of what makes our crazy, messy, loud, busy, imperfect life my kind of perfection

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7 responses to “Imperfect Perfection

  1. Shawna Carver says:

    Sarah!
    My sister just called me and told me about your awesome blog (and how this one in particular related to the situation I am in). Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, it is truely refreshing to hear such an honest and humble take on relationships!
    I think that personally I forget that arguing is normal, especially being that we are not married and have no children yet it is easier for us to consider walking away when things get tough. When in reality I know that there is never gonna be anyone that doesnt argue ( and how boring would that be anyway:) and the couple of fights we’ve had have only made us stronger!
    love you and your thoughts, keep em comin!
    Cousin Shawna

    • thanks Shawna-na! It’s easy to feel like an argument means the end or that it’s a warning sign or something. But the truth is in any relationship, you have to choose to continue to be with them, even when the feelings don’t equal the commitment. Doing that has truly led to the feelings being there! Because I know that when he wakes up he’s choosing me, and when I wake up, I’m choosing him. And to me, that’s as romantic as it gets!

  2. John says:

    One of my college professor whose philosophies I personally respect the most once told my class the following: “You will one day wake up, roll over, look at your spouse, and ask yourself, ‘I married THAT?’ ” He was talking about falling in and out of love, and he assured us that we would fall out of love at least once during our marriages; he assured us that he had done so many times. The trick, he added, is to learn how to always fall into love again. We must practice romance when romance is not our feeling (much the way we must pick our kids up from school when they have been misbehaving, we are really busy and tired, and we simply do not feel like it). This is evident, Sara, in your kissing your husband goodnight. I’m not saying that in all “low” times one of you has fallen out of love with the other, but the practice is same. [This sort of relates to your statement about maintenance versus recovery.]
    I guess my real point is that I appreciate people in our generation who have a good head on their shoulders (like you!). Too often marriages are built on feelings, not commitment, and feelings will fade. Period. Commitment, mind you, will be tried and tested, but it is a choice at the end of the day, not a feeling.
    I pray for your continued happiness in the struggles and triumphs of your marriage. And also for your two (four) friends in the process of divorce. May your marriage be a guiding light for them in theirs.
    John

    • yeah, even though we got married young, we have always said that we know that every day we’re going to have to wake up and CHOOSE to love the person we’re married to.

  3. mirjoyce says:

    LOVE this. Just in the last week or so, the song “Life’s a Dance” (you know, John Michael Montgomery!) has popped into my head when thinking about me and my hubby. We learn as we go. Sometimes I lean on him and need him to lead us. Other times I feel like I’m holding us up. But it’s a dance. The man that married us gave us great advice- always anticipate what your spouse doesn’t want to do and do it for them. I’m not always good at this, especially on the days I’m exhausted and would like things done for me! But I try to, and I notice how I feel better when I do things for him. (Then I’m like a kid, giddy, waiting for him to realize his ‘surprise!’ Never would’ve thought dishes or laundry would be a gift for someone else!) Anyways… just wanted to tell you I love reading about your life and your family.

    • I totally agree and feel the same! I know for my husband, its a big deal to come home to an already made dinner and a clean house… and I too am like a kid excited for him to come and see! I try all the time, but with the kids it doesn’t always work out quite like I’d anticipated!

  4. […] I’m going to share a secret with you. Nevermind, no, I’m not… Oh, fine. *Sigh* Ok, here goes. Sometimes I am not a perfect parent. I have a temper, I can be impatient, and some days I get really, really frustrated. (And I realize that I basically just said I’m impatient three times.) (This may go along with why I’m not a perfect spouse either, but that’s another story.) […]

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