Friday, May 31, 2013

Yes and Yes and Yes

Today is the anniversary of the day my love asked me to marry him.  We were on a romantic gondola ride.  (In Vegas, not Italy).  And he asked me to spend my life with him.  Well, actually, it was more like, he kneeled down, showed me a ring, started sweating, and said …. ‘w-w-w-w-well?’.  To which I replied, “You have to actually ask me, you know.”  And he did.  And I said yes. 

It was a beautiful day. And we were filled with love and romance and gushiness and lots and lots of naivety.  Thankfully.  Otherwise, we might not have gone through with it.  He might have dove right off the side of that gondola and swam back to the Venetian to do some serious gambling.  After all, the craps table is, in many ways, far safer than marriage. 

If I had known then that the gushiness would someday wear off, and would be replaced with hurt and separations and insecurities … would I have said yes? 

Growing up, we think that marriage is about finding someone who makes us weak in the knees and then settling into a long, passionate, and blissful life together.  Umm, wrong.  At its best, marriage is about helping us discover who we truly are, and helping our partner discover who they truly are, as well.  That also happens to be what marriage is at its worst, too. 

Over the course of our marriage, my husband has discovered that he has the tendency to run and avoid situations when he feels unsafe.  I guess he saves all his fighting for the battlefield.  Because, in marriage, he sometimes hides out in the bunker.  And, during our marriage, I have discovered that I expect to be hurt.  Yeah, I act strong and confident and independent.  And, in many ways, I am.  But, I’m also scared half to death most of the time. And I expect to be hurt, so much so that I sometimes try to sabotage things just to make it happen—you know, so I can control it.  (Healthy, huh?) 

We have made these discoveries because we have been forced to be real with one another, and with ourselves.  Because it’s hard to be fake with the person who sees you wake up in the morning and shares a bathroom with you and knows you better than anyone else.  And this realness has led to silence and tears and heartache and resentments.  And it’s led to the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. 

We really should have done some of this healing and self discovery work before we got married.  But, alas, we didn’t.  We didn’t love ourselves yet, though we thought we did.  And that made it hard to truly love someone else.  But, we’re learning.  We’re growing.  We’re loving – together. 

And, as the immortal Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City once said (yes, it is a classic), “if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”  Though, I would go further and say that if you can find someone who challenges you to be the very best you you can be—then that is, truly, fabulous.  And painful.  And for some of us, it’s all rolled up into one messy, magical thing called:  Marriage.

So, if I had known that our journey would involve over half of our marriage being spent on different continents, and overworking, and PTSD, and parenting challenges, and family issues, and painful self-discoveries and and and and … what would I have said on that warm May day in the Vegas gondola? 

YES and YES and YES!

Because while I had no idea how challenging this road would be, I also could never have imagined how wonderful it would be either.  I would say YES every day of this life, even on the hard ones.  Because he has taught me how to love.  He has taught me how to trust.  He has helped me become the me I am supposed to be, and helped me discover the parts that needed healing.  He has driven me crazy and hurt me, as I have done to him.  But, he has loved me more than I ever believed I deserved.  And he taught me to accept his love, and to believe I was worth it.  I hope I have done at least some of that for him as well. 

I would say yes because the gushiness is still there.  The romance and love and passion are still there.  Even though years of war and separations and trauma have tried to tarnish their glow.  They’re in there.  We are in there.  And we are even better than we were when we were covered in lust and naivety.  We are us.  And he is still the most incredible, most loving, most amazing and sexiest (ok, the lust is still there, too) man I have ever known.   And he’s the man who challenges me each and every day to be the very best me I can be.  And I love him for it.    

This is marriage.  This is love.  And to this, to him, I say YES.   

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