I am not usually one for these type of witty worded signs. Most are so cheesy and saccharine that my immediate reaction is a heavy eye roll followed by my index finger pointed into my mouth in an exaggerating a gag. You know, the universal sign for BARF. This one however, this one got me. This is a sign any one who has ever loved any one can understand. Platonic love, passionate love, friend love, sibling love, married love: they all bear varying amounts of rage inducing frustration and prodigious levels of annoyance. Some days more than others. Some years more than others.
Last weekend, I fell in deeply, madly in love with my husband, for like the millionth time. Today I’d like to strangle him. That’s my marriage folks. There are times when he’s talking to me about his work or our kids and I am so impressed at the man he’s become. I marvel at the growth I’ve been lucky enough to witness during our relationship. During these times I am proud to be his wife. Then there’s days when the sound of his voice is enough to make my skin vibrate with madness. Then there are times when’s he’s talking about certain politicians or current events and I am so beside myself with unbridled outrage I marvel that we have made it this far.
How far is this far? My husband and I met in Jr High. That is more than 25 years of love, hatred, frustration, rage, annoyance, forgiveness, drama, passion, longing, repulsion, excitement and boredom. We have been friends, enemies, lovers and indifferent adversaries. We have been through a bitter break up where we did unspeakably nasty things to hurt each other and we have been through a reconciliation where we did therapy and support groups to learn how to love and respect each other. Do we still do unspeakably nasty things to each other? Yep. Maybe not as nasty and unspeakable as we once were but definitely not nice. Do we still use what we have learned in therapy and support groups to reconcile these snags? Yep. Maybe not as often and easily as we should but we definitely make the effort.
I think that is one of the many secrets of marriage. That’s what no movie or book seems to honestly relay. It’s effort. It is a supreme effort to be in love with someone day in and day out. It’s a Herculean task and quite frankly, it is impossible. That’s another secret. A big one. The one I have rarely (like maybe never?) heard about. Well here it is, brace yourself. I am not in love with my husband every day (yep I said it!) AND I fully expect that he is not in love with me everyday! We have love for each other. We do love each other. But in love? Nah.
In love is too engrossing, too consuming. When I am in love with him I can’t stand to be away. I am drawn to his presence and person. I want us in a cocoon of sheets and blankets. I want arms wrapped around and legs entwined. I want to breathe in his cologne and feel his stubble on my face. I want silly inside jokes and softly spoken words. It is heady and intoxicating and probably slightly co-dependent and seriously, who’s got time or energy for that on the daily?
Then there are the rest of the days. The long, endless steam of days that bleed into each other. Where making morning coffee turns into making dinner turns into turning down the bed. Sleep. Snooze button. Snooze button. Repeat. Along the way are good days, and really great, fantastic. wonder filled days. Along the way are bad days, depressed, PMS days and even occasionally horrifyingly tragic days. Along the way are ho-hum, same ole same ole boredom days. And just as the trademark voice over says, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.”
Which brings me to the best kept secret. It’s one of the few things I know that I know, for sure and without a doubt. It is one of the greatest sources of my own serenity and keeps me happily married and content in life. Once I grasped it, my marriage and my life irrevocably changed.
Without the sour, there is no sweet.
Without the days I want to strangle him, there is no appreciation for the days I love him blindly. With out the ho hum days there is no context for the exhilarating ones. So simple, so succinct. It is what I remember when I want to strangle him. It is what I remember whenever the days are bad and times are tough. It keeps the hard times tempered with hope. It makes me look forward to the next 25 years with this knuckle head. Sure there will be times that are sour, sad and heartbreaking but I know they only serve to remind me of the glorious high that comes from spending your life with someone and to me that sounds pretty sweet.