‘The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. It is the greenest where nurtured and cared for. If your grass is not green, what are you doing – or not doing – to have it that way?‘ – Wedding Ceremony Sermon
The Cowboy and I had a wonderful weekend together .. filled with family and friends and more friends and family.
And some drama.
Fortunately, not between us. But it was .. surrounding us. And as we were caught between conversations (and this is just in one 48 hour period); 1) of a friend miserable in their marriage, wanting to know about a single friend 2) of a married couple we are close and spent time with but who were at each others throats 3) of a single friend over the phone wondering why the only people who want to date her are married 4) catching up with another couple who plans their week scheduling as much time apart as possible because its easier than being together and 5) of another couple in the midst of an affair and very open about it ..
The Cowboy asks me as we’re trying to navigate phone calls and how to respond to any of it, “Who do you know that really has a good marriage?”
I paused .. and when I went to answer, I paused again for a long time.
Thinking about the question posed, now almost a day later and as I write, I do know quite a few friends who are in wonderful marriages. Not that any union is ever without its challenges. But when challenges come, from what I have ever witnessed, they face them together, with respect, love for each other and a commitment to stick together. And they have come through it stronger.
Far too many of us know …
… That’s not always possible.
Having been through divorce myself though, I get it. I know the feeling of hopelessness. Years of it. Of, no matter what you do, it’s not right. Of defeat. Of trying everything you can to save it. Then being told its never enough. Of counseling. Finding hope. Of a few months of things going well only to have the cycle reverse itself again. Of knowing there is more to life than the misery it seems two people bring out of each other. Seeing the pain in a child’s eyes of what the two of you are when you are together. And imagining the sorrow and confusion in that same child’s eyes, of what it will be should you part. Of wanting to run your car into a tree versus return home at night because it would be easier than making that decision. Of knowing that’s not the answer. And then, of getting to the point you know the pain of staying is worse than anything else you will have to go through to get to the other side.
My ex still says he wishes we had never married in the first place. That it was the biggest mistake of his life and he should have known better.
While I don’t feel the same .. I get it.
And I’m not going to lie ..
There are so many reasons why one might choose the option of divorce over staying married. Statistics show over half of our population now does. While I was devastated to be the one to finally force that step we had both talked about for years, I have not regretted the decision to separate from my ex for one day.
But had there been any chance for us .. any .. to live in harmony and have the life we both wanted, I would have continued to try and make it work.
Marriage .. even just a committed long term relationship, is hard. And as the Cowboy and I talk about where we go from this place we are at .. in life .. in location .. in any of this and we look at the challenges being faced by so many around us and the situations they are creating for themselves as well as having been in some of those places in one way or another ourselves, the question posed stumped us both. At least momentarily.
We have something good. But at one point, so did we with our -ex’s .. and so did all of these family and friends ..
How do you hold onto that, the good? Or the great. We have talked about this before. Many times.
I asked the one married friend who was calling to ask about my single friend and if I thought they might have any chance to hook up with them .. first, I think I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ Second, I know I asked if they were willing to work on their own marriage. Tend to the grass. Work on making it green. Had they even talked with their spouse about how devastated they were.
“No, not really,” they said.
“Wouldn’t that be an important first step? Do you want to save your marriage or are you just done? My ex and I went to counseling on and off for almost 8 years, you know that,” I said.
“I think I’m just done. There is no love. There hasn’t been for a long time,” this person replied.
How .. how do you bring it back?
How do you make sure the grass is greener on your side of the fence than what it appears on the other. And what can any of us do to regrow the lawn/a relationship when it seems so far gone?
Or are we just a throwaway society anymore and it doesn’t matter if there is still some life in the yard .. we just want to rip the whole thing apart, and start over with some fresh sod. Because sometimes that is all you can do.
The Cowboy and I have been pondering all of this …
And they have been good, ongoing conversations for us, as we work to keep our own relationship strong and green and help others we love and care about through some pretty rough patches.
Something I need more time to think about .. before I write any more. That will be tomorrow’s post. Your thoughts in the meantime?
Well . . . I read this post, and followed it up with your post about how The Cowboy coordinated a special, sensitive, crazy-good birthday party for you. He didn’t have to do that. A couple decent steaks, a couple lobster tails, a bottle of good wine, flowers, and he would’ve covered the usual good-guy bases. He went Over and Above. I think you have most of your answers right there.
Greg, thanks for reading and your thoughts. It sounds as though you think I am questioning the Cowboy and where he and I are at in any of this .. and that isn’t at all where my head is at on this. It’s just us pondering through the chaos of so many others around us and having both been through divorce before, what it takes to rise about that, stay healthy in a committed relationship, keep it fresh and never go back to that place where there seems more pain than joy in a relationship. You are absolutely right, the Cowboy went over and above. Far more than I would have ever expected, asked for or wanted on any sort of a party. He always does where we are concerned. I try and do the same for him. Never a question there .. we just want to maintain that as long as we can knowing every relationship has challenges, expected and unexpected, that lie ahead. Thanks for stopping by!
My thought is that marriage and having a good or great relationship is a lot of work – maybe even harder than being single (please don’t anyone attack me on that one)… I am not far enough removed from the single life to have forgotten that loneliness and that desire to truly share my life with someone else. At the same time, I would say I’m now in a very good marriage, but that it takes a LOT of effort (more than I ever expected) to keep it going strong… and we have our moments of “weakness” mixed in. It’s not perfect, it’s not always pretty, but I know from the bottom of my heart that I will always love him and he will always love me and we will do all we can along the way to continue to make it work.
First, good to know I won’t be fielding any surly phone calls from your end. Second, your thoughts warm our hearts. The C and I are sitting here checking in on this .. wishing you all the best as we know some beautiful new challenges await your HH with babester #2! xo love & hugs to you all
Becks, you are right on. Relationships are a lot of work. When you have to compromise, its never as easy as just telling yourself what you get to do today and being accountable only to yourself. 🙂 One thing I’ve loved about my life is, it is rare I have ever felt lonely .. so this whole notion of actually wanting to share wholeheartedly again is a big more scary to me than just staying single. 🙂 I love that you and the hubby are so strong. and Love you all dearly.
We love you too… hope to see you soon! 🙂 xoxoxo
There is nothing simple about making marriage work, and yet it is all about keeping it simple. Doing all the little things is what makes the ride smoother. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sharing part of your life with other.
You might be interested in reading one of my posts on marriage. http://wp.me/p1pA4k-5R
I agree. And the older I get the more I’m learning simplicity is where it’s at. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and will def check out your work!