I was at one of those trampoline jumping birthday party places with a friend recently. While our kids played dodge ball and bounced out some extra summer energy, we had a nice talk. She shared something with me and then added, “Oh, I hope that’s not TMI.” I laughed and reminded her that she was talking to a giant over-sharer. The conversation went on from there and my friend said something to me that others have also mentioned in the past, regarding the state of my marriage.
“I see you as such a strong couple, ” she said. “You seem like very good communicators, and you make a good team.”
I thanked her, then reminded her of a very critical fact. Yes, Sheepdog and I work very, very hard at our relationship, but it is far from perfect. We fight, disagree, act selfishly or immaturely, and go to bed mad at one another just like everybody else. We have different interests, hobbies, and schedules. We have dealt with big and little struggles and we have been through counseling several times. There was a time about nine or ten years into our marriage when we actually decided to get a divorce. But then we let down our defenses and started enjoying each other and our family and decided that divorce was one of the dumbest ideas we had come up with in a really long time.
Even though we worked through that craziness, we occasionally get off track again we get to a point where we act more like porcupines than dolphins.
This is an excerpt from one of our recent conversations:
Sheepdog: “What’s wrong? Why are you so grouchy?”
Me: “I’m due for my period on Saturday.”
Sheepdog: “You are either on your period, about to get your period, or just getting over having had your period.”
Me: (expertly executing the evil wife death stare)
Me: “I can’t hear you over the glorious sound in my head of me hitting you with a shovel.”
So, just like you would change the oil in your car every 6,000 miles, or you swap out the air filters in your HVAC system quarterly, or you check the batteries in your smoke alarms every six months, or buy new running shoes after 3 or 400 miles, Sheepdog and I felt like it was time for a marriage check up. Yesterday we went back to counseling, and we will keep going back until we get things back on track. And we are both very hopeful.
Today we celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. I say “celebrate” purposefully, even in the middle of a rough patch, because it is certainly something that we are very proud of. It is hard to stay married to one person for a long time. It is hard to stay friends with one person for a long time. It takes a lot of energy. People constantly change and evolve and life is hard and kids are demanding and work is stressful. But Sheepdog and I are doing it, and we are committed to doing it for as long as we both shall live.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…