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MARRIAGE - sept 2023 - in this together.jpg

I don’t know if I had any idea how much I would change over the years of my marriage. That the person I was when I said I do, is not the same person I am 17 years later.  Not even close.  Maybe that’s part of why divorce is so prevalent. 


We embarked on this journey together, young and blissfully unaware of the toll of paying bills and planning our future, that losing, having, and raising babies and all 12 billion middle of the night diaper changes, or the loss of dreams, loss of jobs, and all of the other things, and we honestly had no idea things were going to be as hard as they were.  I think (whatever that’s worth), the best relationships are the ones that while we both grow and change, we choose to keep falling in love with the person our partner becomes each day.  Like, I can assure you that my husband had NO idea that 15 years down the road that he’d be trying to figure out whether to offer a hug or just throw chocolate at me from a distance while I cry on the laundry room floor.  He also probably didn’t anticipate that he’d need to be able to differentiate my normal sleep deprived silliness from my completely hysterical get this girl a straight jacket kind of exhaustion.  I mean, I don’t even always know how to tell the difference.  So he’s just winging it, like most of us. 


And I didn’t know that I could both look longingly at the man sleeping next to me every night and three minutes after he starts snoring, I’m looking, well, probably a little homicidal.  

Sort of the way you can get all sappy watching your babies sleep but if they even twitch, you are silently army crawling out of the room praying to God almighty that they didn’t see you and will stay asleep!  On the other hand, I also didn’t anticipate that when my world came crashing down, he would stand for me while I didn’t have the strength, or will, protecting me when he could, speaking truth when all I could hear were lies, and there were probably some tossing tacos and tequila at me moments, in hopes of quieting the hangry and overwhelmed person he found sobbing under his haven’t-worn-them-in-decades suit jackets portion of our closet.  He is a champ, y’all.  Seriously. 


But we’ve learned, are learning, albeit slowly, how to love not only the person we walked down the aisle with, but also the person they are working to become, and all the places in between.  When we were still in our all brand new and shiny phase of marriage, I got my undies in a bunch because after telling him that I needed to hear him say I’m pretty (because given my INability to read minds means that he can think it all day and I have no idea), and he agreed.  Which sounds like a great thing, however I thought his writing himself reminders on sticky notes was indicative of how little he thought about me.  Now, please excuse my veering into a narcissistic, it’s all about me, self-centered little world.  Because I KNOW.  I really do.  That girl was an idiot.  That girl had also not experienced walking into the kitchen without remembering what for, while still able to sing every lyric of “Ice Ice Baby.” Almost two decades later, this much less young girl, knows exactly what that’s like because it happens a minimum of three times a day.  I also now think that his writing reminders are such a thoughtful and romantic thing.  He heard me.  He put thought to action.  He showed me I was a priority.  These are the things I notice more, now. 


I used to primarily see the differences between us, like he hates mornings and morning people and I’m no longer capable of human interaction by 9pm.  And he approaches every single thing in life with his logical, fully functioning brain, while I am more of the crunchy-granola-barefoot-roll-with-the-punches-my-kids-drank-out-of-the-dog-bowl-and-I-only-sort-of-care kind of person who loves to plan but regularly just flutter from thing to thing until it’s okay-ish to move on to the next. 


How did we end up picking each other while being opposites in basically every way?  I thank Newark Airport for that little love connection. But honestly, it’s just him and me fighting for/with the other and the choices we make each morning (afternoon, evening, 2am…you get the point) to keep loving the other, even when we sometimes don’t really like them.  But we choose. Some days, that’s easy.  Because he is notorious for finding things I’ve mentioned but never planned on buying, and throwing them in an Amazon cart and pressing the “buy now” button…partly to make me smile and partly because I make a darn good gumbo, approved by Cajuns and all, and he loves me for it). But some days are fraught with kids fighting and stacks of bills, and snoring(him) and whining(me) and fighting with the kids.  And those days are freaking hard, y’all.  Those are the days that we have to remember that we need our person in our corner, pushing us from behind, walking beside us and even dragging us kicking and screaming when we need it, and vice versa.


So here’s your reminder. Keep loving big and forgiving bigger.  Keep growing and learning and doing better once you know better and love your person while they do the same.  Because the person we’re all working to become is a much better version than the newer, younger, less wrinkled model you started out with. Well, a little wiser at least. Be the change you want to see in the world around you.  Support your partner’s changing, too. And watch those little changes make a bigger impact not only on those around you, but their impact on you as well. 


“Love is a verb.  Not a constant state of enthusiasm.” 

Esther Perel

A Bigger Impact
by Bekah Holland
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