Recently I read (on the internet, so it must be true) that couples who divorce were married for an average of eight years. Today is my husband’s and my 8th wedding anniversary.
And in the interest of keeping it real …. we almost separated this year.
But in the vein of “what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger,” I think that was a good thing. Because it brought up some things I think we were scared to admit. To each other and/or to ourselves. But hey, at this point, what else do we have to lose?
Finding the courage in those moments to be brutally honest ended up saving the relationship. Because love is wonderful, and love is necessary, but sometimes, love isn’t enough. Sometimes you realize your needs aren’t being met. Maybe they were needs you weren’t really conscious of. Maybe they are needs that you are still grappling with yourself.
But reaching this point of “I’m done” seemed to shake things loose. And once that happened, we could just walk away … or figure out if it was worth putting the pieces back together. And more importantly, how to put them back together. Because they can’t go back the same way.
Whenever we look at our wedding pictures, and see those crazy kids (KIDS! We were totally kids … 24 and 26), we joke that they don’t know what the heck they were getting themselves into. And our 30-something selves like to joke that we’re doing Marriage 2.0. This certainly wasn’t how we imagined marriage on April 21, 2007, however, for our 2015 selves, this works.
The difficulty is growing with someone you pick at a certain point [in your life]. That’s the built-in problem with long-term relationships: You get to a certain point and try to hold on to that, instead of seeing [the relationship] as an organism that’s moving and needs to be fed and re-examined. You try to maintain the status quo, and that doesn’t work.
Susan Saradon in THE WEEK, October 31, 2014, page 10
If we all continue to grow and evolve as individuals, our relationships have to as well. There will be growing pains. Nothing good comes easy. You can either grow together or grow apart. Sometimes it felt like we were growing apart. We still have more growing to do, so maybe someday we will grow apart, I’m not naive enough to think this is the end of any bumps in our relationship. And if someday we do decide that we’re better off not together, that’s OK. I hope we will have the maturity and self love to know when to walk away from something that can no longer work.
But for now, we both still love who the other person has become, and the potential we see in each other. And this works. Maybe not for everyone, but it works for us.
So here we are. Cheers.