Just Hang On – Why I stayed Married

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We went through rough waves, many of them really. In the last 17 years, my husband and I have seen many storms that not only rippled the waters, but almost sank our ship.

I remember as we came close to our first year anniversary, we were fighting so hard that I walked out.  I grabbed by purse and keys and walked out and drove away.  When I couldn’t drive anymore because I was crying so hard, I pulled over and cried more. I wanted to go back to Cali, back to my home, and back to the life I had created for myself as a single woman. I didn’t want to go back to being married, to making compromises, to hating the man I slept next to.

I was so lost as to how we got to this place, when getting married was supposed to be goal of our relationship, but somehow it felt like we ruined everything.

In a few hours I returned back to my home, faced the problems ahead and learned through tears and tantrums.  I thought every day about running, about getting back in my car and running back to the life that I was in charge of, the one where I knew who I was.  In this partnership that I started with a man that I wasn’t so sure about, I felt like I was never sure of who or what I was.

I won’t lie.  I was and sometimes still am, a bitch of a wife. I don’t like to compromise. I’m highly emotional. And I really like getting my way.

The thing is, nobody really ever taught me how to be a wife.

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The love songs said “Love will find a way” and that really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you are pissed off, broken, and ready to punch this guy that you just married. What I wish I would have heard was “Learn how to fight without wanting to destroy the person you love.”

17 years have gone by since we blissfully said “I DO” and in those years I have said ” I Don’t” more times than I ever expected.

I’ve thought of couple’s counseling, but the best advise came from learning how to accept myself and learning how to work together instead of trying to be right.

All the time I hear of couples that I thought were solid just calling it quits and walking away from each other. At times I even wished that I was brave enough to make that kind of call.  However, that wasn’t the right thing for us, for our family.  The only thing I ever wanted for myself growing up was stability.  I wanted to know where home was and trust that no matter where I went, I knew for sure where to go.  I didn’t want to give up a life I was just learning how to build just because the waves were strong.

I am independent, fiercely sure of myself. My husband is pretty darn sure that his opinions are usually right, even more than mine are. We argue and we really suck at fighting. Through the years we have hurt each other and sadly hurt our children.

My daughter told me recently that when she heard us fight, she wished we would have divorced because we hurt each other with our words. Those crushing words scarred me and my first impulse was to get up and run.

But here’s the thing.  I stayed.

I stayed for reasons that I really didn’t understand, I stayed out of fear, I stayed out of love, I stayed out of this sense that if I gave up on something so important… I was really going to regret it.

My husband isn’t the kind of guy that lets go easily. He’ll hold on to an argument until I give up on it. That’s the way he is.

He will hold on to anger until I have no other choice but to let it go, fix it, and move on. But that’s the kind of man that I need. I need someone who isn’t going to take my shit,  but he will take my screaming, take my tears, and not back down just because I throw a tantrum. Because I don’t need to get my way, I don’t need to be right all the time.  What I need is someone I can depend on who will be there no matter what. I need the kind of man who will walk into wherever I am and not say a word, but hug me until I give up my rage and let go.

He and I both made a lot of mistakes as we learned how to be a couple.

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“All you need is Love” is total crap.  Love fades, it takes a step back to real life sometimes. Love isn’t always sparks and breakfast in bed, sometimes love looks like getting up to let the cat in in the middle of the night so the other person can keep sleeping. Sometimes Love sounds like slamming the door and walking away from and argument because there is no winning. Love doesn’t look the same 17 years later as it does that very first time you say “I Love You.”

We have had our fair share of bad times as a couple. In fact, we have discussed divorce and talked about feelings. But we stayed.  Not for the kids, not for the stability, but because when that call comes that makes you unable to do anything but quake in your steps, the only safe place I want to be is hiding in his arms. I don’t want to be right, I don’t want to be the captain of my ship, I WANT to be there where I know where home is.

Marriage isn’t always pretty. My marriage is loud, it’s stubborn and even rude. It’s full of bad habits and snoring so loud that you wake yourself up. Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I don’t want a life where I have to live up to an expectation, have a size limit put on my ass.  I don’t want a relationship where you can’t be wrong, can’t make mistakes that are sometimes really stupid. What I want is to trust that even when it’s bad, I know where home is and I will always return to my safe place.

I didn’t really know how to be in love, how to be a wife.  In fact I am pretty sure looking back, I didn’t know what romantic love actually felt like.

I am still learning who I am, who I can be if I really try. However I know that this me, the woman I am right now, she’s a good person.  She’s a really stubborn and she loves getting her way, but she has the best people in her life right now that make her shine.

 

 

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