IN THIS TOGETHER ◽ MARRIAGE
So you know that thing where you put something down and then you can’t remember where you put it and you search and you huff and puff and blow the house down in search of the missing item? It’s like a word on the tip of your tongue, you know where you put it, but it’s just out of your memory’s reach?
I basically live my life like that.
I love things nice and neat and clean, but that would require me to put things exactly where they are supposed to go every. single. time. My brain doesn’t work that way. I live a very delicately balanced life teetering between order and chaos. Like today, am I going to get furious with a colleague and rage clean every inch of my house to avoid sending a strongly worded email on the merits of not talking over me in a meeting? Again. Or am I going to rearrange the dirty dishes in the sink just so we can use the
faucet without my having to wash them so I can binge watch the newest season of the Blacklist (that we couldn’t patiently wait for like grown ups, so we just bought it)? It’s a toss up.
My poor husband. He is very much a “there is a place for everything” kind of fellow. You always put your keys in the same spot every day, every time, so you don’t empty trash cans and freezers and move furniture looking for them, just to find them sitting on the window sill in the bathroom. (I will neither confirm nor deny that this situation has occurred…or that there have been repeats). Now, after 14 years, he has somewhat adapted to my hippie dippy, happy-go-lucky style of life. Or at least they don’t send him screaming into the night any more. As long as I don’t “misplace” his things, we’re good. And I’ve tried really, really hard to put my keys on the hook he put up for me every time I walk in the door. Although, at this present moment, I think they may be sitting on the kitchen table. Or maybe by the coffee maker. I should probably check on that.
As much as my scatterbrained-iness drives my husband nuts, he’s learned to see it as endearing. Well, most of the time. Not because it’s less annoying to him, but because he manages to see beauty in my mess. He sees that even though I might not remember where I left my glasses, I can find every lost shoe, kiss every scraped knee and hold every broken heart. He notices that even though the laundry might not get done (like ever) that I will stick up for the underdog, fight for the broken and make space for anyone. And this man will remind me of who I am and that I’m seen when I forget. He will see me at the very moment I desperately need to know I’m not invisible. He has and is continuing to learn how to love all of me and not just the easy to love stuff. He keeps a going list of things I mention (and probably promptly forget because I’m trying to remember where I last saw my credit card) so that when he wants to surprise me with a little something, he knows exactly what I don’t even remember I wanted.
I constantly work to make sure he feels valued, too. When I talk about him or we’re together with friends, I love to brag on him. How big his heart is and how much he loves to give to anyone who needs it. How he would watch Christmas movies over and over again all year if I would let him. The way he works to teach his son the things he wasn’t taught…that tears and feelings aren’t something to be ashamed of. That kindness is strength. He teaches his daughter that brave is beautiful and that society doesn’t get to decide who she is or what beauty looks like. I love to fill his cup and give others a small peek into what makes him so special to me. And I remind us both why we never give up on each other.
Even on days when he can’t see the light shining into his darkness and days that relief is not within reach, those are the days I let him know I see him. I see his pain and his struggle to fight his way out. I let him know that I see him, not his disease. And that I will hold on to hope for him until he can find it again.
It’s not always easy and it’s most definitely not usually pretty. We have both created and cleaned up our messes. We have been both blissfully happy and on the edge of throwing in the towel. But we keep showing up and keep loving each other, not despite our flaws, but because of them. And I think that’s what any healthy-ish relationship is:
Two imperfect people who don’t give up, on themselves, or their partner.
Two that know love covers a multitude of imperfections.
Two that keep loving both the chaos and the calm, both in each other and ourselves.
Because He first loved us.
“There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully,
to love them almost despite themselves.”