I guess spring is in the air and I am feeling a little bit in love. As I watch the marriages of so many of my loved ones crumble and struggle and fall apart, perhaps I am feeling a little bit grateful, too. Like maybe I won some sort of cosmic lottery by marrying the man I did.
And I may not feel this way tomorrow. And certainly there have been days, months and years where I didn't feel this way at all. But life is short and feelings this lovely are hard to come by, so if on this day I want to revel in my good fortune, then that's exactly what I will do.
It occurred to me that being married is one thing, a binding arrangement set into motion by a single act -- a wedding -- that hitches you indefinitely to another person. And being partnered implies a mutual workload, an arrangement based on two people working toward a common goal, whether raising children or simply enjoying the benefits and comfort of a long relationship.
And I would discuss the intricacies of being lovers, but this is a public blog and I will save that for wine with girlfriends -- who know damn well I will talk endlessly in private on this very topic. Until everyone is blushing, laughing or wanting to puke.
But my husband -- though he is all of these things -- is more than all of them combined.
He is the man I have chosen to share my life with.
I couldn't possibly have imagined, at age 23, what that would mean. At 23, I could barely share my closet or my french fries.
But somehow we wake up every day sort of making this choice to continue on down this road together -- this road we have walked -- sometimes holding hands and sometimes on opposite sides throwing the occasional stone at the other's back, sometimes sharing a story from what's happening on our side. Sometimes one of us slows down and the other speeds ahead, but we make sure to keep each other well within sight should we need to come running.
There's an incredible peace in knowing he has my back, and reverence in knowing he trusts me to have his.
When I look at my friends who are struggling with the break of that bond, I wonder how lonely it would feel to not have him in view. It makes me run to catch up to him wherever he is or slow down until I feel his hand in mine. It makes me whisper a quiet thank you into the air, my head turned away just slightly enough so that he can't hear me.
My mother always said that marriage was like an onion, and with each layer you peel away, it gets a little sweeter. It's hard to believe that after 10, 20, 30 and more years, we might still get to taste that sweetness of getting to know our spouse a little better, of the intimacy from this connection getting deeper and more intricate.
At 37, I have reached that age where the news of separations and divorces far outweigh the blissful news of weddings or new babies. And while I general invite each new phase in life with joy, this one is one I cringe to think about. Some breaks are necessary, some are even crucial to the well-being of lots of people, big and small.
But others are like walking away from the onion, tossing it in the trash, because they are so sure the next layer will be worse than the one they are peeling. Maybe they are expecting it to be rotten and bitter and spoiled. But according to my mom, who has been married to my father for more than 40 years, they are missing the sweetness that was their privilege in the first place, the whole point of the whole thing. It was just a few moments in time away from their grasp.
From my perspective, starting fresh just sounds to me like a whole lot of work.
So today, I relax into being grateful for those layers, as stinging and as sweet as they can be, with no telling exactly which one you are going to get.
It's a beautiful day and a beautiful life and today is a good day to remember how blessed you are to have someone to share them with.