One of the greatest things in this world is a marriage that 'takes', one that lasts for life. I will never have that. Tim and I married when we were 41. We will have our 11th anniversary in a couple months. We had already missed a significant portion of each other's lives by the time that we met. When we married, I told Tim that I'd always wanted a 50th wedding anniversary, and that I meant to have one. He needed to take care of himself, because if something happened to him before he turned 91, I'd kill him. My little joke seems ironic these days. Cancer is a question mark.
Divorce is a fairly common thing. I'm not going to judge anyone else's marriage. It's not my business. Believe me, I know that sometimes two people simply cannot make a life together. Still, though, it seems sad though that so many of them don't last. They run into a rough patch, and suddenly it's over, everything being divided up, two very angry people finger pointing and blaming. They begin another relationship secure in the knowledge that everything wrong in the first marriage was the fault of their ex. Their complete and utter blamelessness dooms the new relationship from the very start.
I like to watch people who have been married for years. If someone has been married for a lifetime, the one thing you can know is that not all of those years have been good ones. The hard times come, and together two people endure. Romance turns to parenting and work and bills and other struggles. No one is the same at 20 as they are at 40, so the marriage must acknowledge and accomodate those changes as well. All of the emotion there is in the world finds its vent within a marriage. Just as marriage does not fail because of hard times, it does not succeed because of the lack of them. People just learn to cope with these things, and as each crisis comes, as each crisis is met, a marriage becomes stronger.
This is not one of the easiest times of our marriage. I've always been self conscious. Now I am bald, and my skin is fine lined, and I'm lopsided, and I have no eyebrows or eyelashes. I try to be good natured about it, calling myself 'Uncle Fester', but it bothers me. A lot. But when my husband reaches for me, he does not see what I see. He sees what I was before all of this. He sees what I will be again when this time is done. It is not the candles in the bedroom that create that illusion. Tim deals with unemployment. He cannot get a callback. He feels stupid, and he feels inadequate. I imagine that he is a little afraid. Together we have worked a plan to get through these times. He is not happy about my job and a half, but I tell him it is what it is. We can only tough this time out. He'll work on the apartments, and we will wait for this horrible time to pass. He is the hardest working person I know. It is not his paycheck that creates that illusion. We struggle with these things, and we move from one day to the next. Our marriage is a good one. It is not a life of ease that creates this illusion.
'The two shall become as one...' This does not happen in a wedding ceremony. If you let it, though, it will happen in a marriage. When it does, it is beautiful. Illusions fall away, and what is left is real. What is left endures.