My husband and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this weekend. I feel so lucky to have found him. I don’t believe in soul mates, but I am frequently reminded of how perfect we are for each other, and I feel blessed. I am also frequently reminded that marriage is hard work. Once you become so intertwined with another person, the line between you as individuals blur. This closeness can lead to misunderstandings, which can erupt into conflict and consequently, less closeness. But conflict is not the enemy. Conflict demands compromise and compromise is the backbone of a sturdy marriage. It takes teamwork to navigate one ship with two captains and the wisdom to know who’s better at steering and who’s better at managing the sails (or however that metaphor should go, I obviously don’t know how ships work).
It’s cool to coast when things are breezy (ships again). But you must also work hard to accommodate those annoying ways you contradict each other. You must honor the ways you differ so your journeys don’t diverge to the point where one or both of you jumps ship (last one, I promise). It’s easy to project your feelings, dreams, and desires onto your partner and assume you are on the same page. The love that unites you can blind you to your unique qualities, but those differences give a relationship balance. It’s important to make space for your partner to flourish as an individual and honor each other’s evolution as a person. After many years together, you may believe that you know everything about your partner, but it is dangerous to let your perception of them stagnate while they continue to change in front of you.
Don’t close your eyes, or you will take them for granted. Don’t tune them out, or you will only hear what you want to hear. Keep your heart open, stay present, humble, and grateful, and your love will endure.
I think I might be speaking to myself here.
Dear Margot, be a better wife. Happy Anniversary!