Please don’t be alarmed by the title of this post; my husband and I are madly in love with each other and have a great marriage. But I just stumbled upon this other blog post We All Married the Wrong Person, and I was so intrigued by that title that I read on.
When my husband and I were engaged we traveled to Colorado, where he had grown up, for an engagement party. While we were there we spent some time with one of my (then) finance’s old high school buddies. It was the first time this guy and I had ever met, and after about an hour he looked at my finance and me and asked, “Do you two have anything in common?” I think he may have been wondering what on earth had brought us together and if our marriage would end up lasting very long.
True, my husband and I had far less in common when we met and married than we do now. In fact, there were some things about him that drove me positively crazy. He may have had similar feelings about me, but if so he was far too kind to ever mention anything. It was after we were married, in that glorious First Year, that those things we didn’t have in common…those issues that we each came down so far apart on…came out into the open. From the article:
Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult.”
My Honey and I just celebrated our ninth anniversary. And as a simple matter of fact, the ninth year of our marriage was the hardest year for us yet (closely edging out year eight), excepting of course The First Year. I take some poetic license in capitalizing The First Year because it was such a stand apart year in our marriage, in terms of difficulty, as I am assuming it is in most marriages. Am I wrong about that? Or am I right? You may think I am crazy for saying that becuase your first year of marriage was pure bliss. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here: I am not saying that there was no bliss in our first year…it was a paradox really; it was on the one hand purely delightful…a bed of roses, and on the other hand so terribly difficult and emotionally draining. It was knowing that I had chosen the perfect man for me, and the next moment plagued with doubt…wondering how I had ever gotten myself into this thing called marriage, and was it really forever?
The last couple of years were nothing like The First Year. Our marriage was very strong by the time we stumbled into all that year eight and nine held in store. These years were difficult for us not so much becuase we were unsure of each other or how we were supposed to properly mesh our interests and reconcile our differences. They were difficult because we happened upon trying circumstances that simply came our way, external forces that had nothing to do with he or me or our relationship with each other. Together we worried and cried and vented…and laughed, not becuase of each other but with each other. We were a well oiled machine that worked through the difficulty with a single purpose, we were one at this point in our marriage. That is not to say that all of the crap we endured did not test our relationship. To be sure, it did. But our marriage passed that test with flying colors and came out the stronger for it, and the machine kept on plowing through the crap without its different parts doubting each other, the parts working together rather than against each other…which is the most efficient way to deal with crap.
If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.
Dr. Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction…I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential ‘right’ partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.”
It is funny when I think back to the observation that my husband’s high school buddy made of us as an early couple. The truth is, I totally know where the guy was coming from. There were a lot of things that we didn’t have in common, that we were the polar opposites of each other on, really. Maybe we were blinded by love at first. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just that opposites do attract (lest I lead you astray, we had the most important fundamentals in common: religion, our familial backgrounds, etc.) The observation that I have made through the past nine years is that marriage can close more than a few gaps. My husband and I have so much in common now that I doubt if we weren’t made for each other. We have pulled each other towards the other and met in a very agreeable middle. We prefer each other’s company to that of any other. We have such good, fun, quite frequently boring…no, perfectly comfortable…times together that we just can’t get enough. And we are happy. We are happy with each other. We are happy with our life together. In short, life is hard, but we are happy to be plowing through it together.