This Beautiful Inheritance: We Still Do {Ten Years of Marriage}

Friday, July 22, 2016

We Still Do {Ten Years of Marriage}

We were around the six-year-mark in our marriage when he sat across the dining room table from me and had the nerve to say it out loud.

“We can’t stay together just for the kids.”
His eyes were cold. We were a mere six feet from each other but there was no warmth, no emotion, nothing between us but distance.

I knew our relationship had been stretched to the point of barely existing. But I was stubborn. I would hold onto the shards of what was left for pride’s sake if nothing else. And yes, for the kids. How dare he consider otherwise.
My heart and my tears hit the hardwood.

I thought back to our honeymoon in Mexico, which I’ve never been able to describe without using the words “perfect” and “paradise.” It wasn’t the resort or the beach that elicited feelings of perfection but being wildly in love and excited about the future.
Now, here we sat – smack dab in the middle of the years statistics say most divorces happen. The predictability of our situation was no comfort.

I researched marriage counselors and drug him there three whole times before he insisted we quit. “We know what we need to do,” he said. “We just need to do it.”

Life went on and our kids kept growing and I kept cooking dinner and he kept going to work and coming back.
Somewhere along the way we started laughing and feeling again, although the road was never easy. There were a lot of fights and a lot of making up.

I made up my mind that by our 10-year-anniversary, I wanted the “lovey-dovey” marriage I dreamed of. I would hold my tongue. I would show him respect. I would do my part to make sure it happened.

On our nine-year-anniversary, we took a weekend trip to Branson. With no kids and no stressors, all arguing ceased. And as we walked through the outdoor mall, he reached out and took my hand. It sent hope and healing through my being and made me wonder if we were almost there. Were we on the brink of the marriage I dreamed of?
But year nine didn't hold the mass improvement I'd hoped. There were ups and also downs. I read in a magazine article some of the biggest indicators couples are headed for divorce and grew discouraged because I saw many of them in us. The end of the article, though, threw me some hope. The last stage before divorce, it said, is complete coldness. There is no fighting because there’s no communicating. There is just distance and carelessness about the other individual. The fire is out.

Our continued arguments, followed by “I’m sorrys” and attempts at date nights showed me our fire was not out. It needed constant fanning, yes, but it was a stubborn, persistent flame.

I had dreamed of visiting another all-inclusive resort ever since our “perfect” honeymoon, and no matter what, I was determined to make it happen for our 10-year-anniversary. It did, but an unexpected pregnancy made us move our trip up four months early.
As we flew out for Jamaica, I couldn’t help but evaluate our relationship. Were we where I’d hoped we’d be? No, we definitely weren’t. But the next five days showed we weren't where we'd been at year six, either. They held little arguing, lots of hand-holding, and general good feelings about the other person.  Our progress was slow but present. The image of an anchor came to my mind somewhere over the Caribbean. It symbolized our relationship. Would I have liked butterflies? Sure. But this was more tangible and solid. We had survived some very difficult times, but on the other side of each difficulty was light. We had learned to always hold on, because though things sometimes get hard, they also always get better. And holding on is always worth it. Faith, children, family, values and commitment -- these are the things we fight for. We made vows we intend to keep.





Recently I purchased a wooden sign to hang in our bedroom that reads "We Still Do." As Eden asked what the words meant and I explained it to her, I felt proud. No, we have not always done things as we should and yes, she's seen her mommy and daddy fight more than she should. But she also knows that every night, we'll be here. We'll hug Daddy when he comes in from work and we'll pray for his safety the next day. We'll take family trips to Branson and make memories and snap pictures. Our life and our family and our marriage are not perfect, but we hold an abiding love and commitment for each other. I've seen many marriages over the years with couples who publicly gush and drool over each other but think nothing of packing up when things get tough. If I had to choose, I'd gladly take what we have. Anchored by shared history, vision for the future, and yes, love, we're in this for the long haul. We now understand the weight of the words we uttered at ages 19 and 21... "I do" means so much more than it did then, and in spite of the difficulties, we choose wholeheartedly each day to say it again.

6 comments:

  1. I love this and how real you are.

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  2. All I can say is ❤️ You both, and very proud of you.

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  3. Kelcie, this is so raw and real! We've been there and I'm SO thankful we chose to stick it out and love each other through the super hard times and when we were both nearly unlovable. Thank you for sharing. --Laura Estes

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    1. Thanks for reading. I think most of us have been there, though few of us want to admit it! Something about knowing we're not alone though is comforting and that's exactly why I wanted to write this.

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