So – marriage can be difficult, even in the best of times. It’s even more so when things are hard – and that’s where my husband and I found ourselves in 2011.
I want to acknowledge that tons of friends had a difficult year, be it because they lost a job, or lost a loved one – or simply had a difficult time financially. For us, the difficulties started with the gang members, squatters, and knife-wielding neighbors at our beach condo, which created some challenging living conditions for our family. We went from a generally care-free “couple +1″ to a tag-team obsessed only with protecting our children and getting the hell out of a dangerous situation. The stress alone was hard; seeing how it impacted my husband and our relationship was even harder.
That disaster lasted through September, when we finally moved to the suburbs. Still, the stress of having two properties – and a new baby – has been a tremendous financial burden for us. It’s hard to focus on your marriage when you’re focused on keeping the kids safe … and fed … and happy. It’s hard to healthfully deal with all of the emotions – from fear to anger (make that ‘rage’) – when you’re trying to be strong – and happy – for the kids.
(Though I do want to note that the birth of my gorgeous little chub-chub Rhett Lee this year was a blessing of epic proportions – no matter how bad the rest of the year has been.)
I guess my point is: I used to overlook anniversaries as nothing more than an opportunity for a romantic dinner or a night away from the kids. This year – for us – “Happy Anniversary” isn’t enough to capture the immense amount of work it took to keep our world on track. This was a year of survival – not thrive-al. The fact that we got through it has got to mean something.
There are things we could have done better. There are more things yet we need to learn. Like how to make more time for one another, even when it’s hectic. How to block out the difficult parts of life without letting them penetrate our relationship. How to make hard decisions more gracefully – together.
On this sixth year of marriage, we can celebrate that we’ve made it through “for worse.” Here’s to hoping 2012 brings along some “for better.”
Randomly, a song that sums up my feelings for this “year in marriage.” A little sad, but still hopeful. (“A verse of hope there on that reel lets you know the way I feel …”)[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaN5DuFA82o]