It’s been ten years. Yes, I am proud of how far we’ve come, but I’m also frightened. There is so much that has changed that I never knew it would, or could, for both positive and negative.
We are an amazing parental unit. We support each other, in discipline and otherwise, and we are usually on the same page when it comes to just about everything. We divide and conquer and our lives have become a dance of sorts with making breakfasts, lunches, getting the kids to and from places, and bedtime that we don’t even have to discuss most times what is going to happen when. Or where.
Our jobs have shaped us for the better, in that we have become more assertive, knowing what we want, and trying ever more to get higher in our fields. We rarely wait for what we want, but we measure our thoughts and movements towards our futures in our jobs carefully, and help each other out when we need to bounce ideas off of one another. We value each other’s opinion, even if we don’t completely agree.
Our extended families et al have become more of a part of our lives in a way we can manage. Prior to now, our visits from families might not have always been the most heartwarming, but we have hit a groove of sorts that we understand each other’s needs and wants, and can discuss things in a more civilized manner than we had in the past.
Our coupledom seems like it’s lacking. Our spending time together is reduced to watching a DVR’d show until one of us passes out. Our conversations mostly revolve around our jobs, or kids, or both, never about our hopes and dreams. We have to set a date night in our calendar so that we don’t forget to spend time together, while we often vie for night’s out with our own friends, alone, without the other. We pretend to be interested in what the other one enjoys, his sport he does and my writing, but we truly only half-listen, which shouldn’t happen in a marriage. We try to be supportive, but I often find myself feeling taken advantage of when he has to work late while I manage the kids, dinner, and my own stuff or when chooses a guy’s league instead of spending time with me or our family. We communicate, but sometimes it’s too measured, too calculated so it feels stiff, unfriendly, and forced. We don’t have time to be intimate, because we are too busy worrying about which kid will need us, so we are rushing onto the next thing that is on our “to do” list instead of really spending quality time together. We are often too afraid to tell the other what’s really going on in our minds because we don’t want to offend the other, or make the other one overthink things, so when we do, it’s an explosion that then has to be resolved and discussed, and contemplated. (Ok, maybe that’s just me, not him, but still. It’s a cyclical thing.)
This is not the marriage I thought I would have. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have an image of Judy Cleaver or the mom from Growing Pains, but I didn’t think it would be this hard, this much of a challenge. I find myself bargaining with myself, with the kids, with him, to get things done, to work through my own issues, to keep everyone happy, including myself. I find myself tiptoeing around the real issues, the things right in front of my face, and putting up a facade until I can figure things out. I’m not unhappy, per se, but I’m not happy exactly. I simply exist to keep going, keep others happy.
And I know it will never be easy. Not in a million years. But what I want to know is: when does it get easier? When will we come to an understanding? When will we not have to think about making time for the other? When will we relax and enjoy in the other’s simply being there? Will we ever regain the spark we had when we first met, or is that what’s supposed to help us to continue on, the memory of it? And if we never get that spark back, will I be able to come to terms with that?
God, that was deep for a Tuesday night.