So distant from happily ever after.
Your spouse has been sick, or gross, or hasn’t understood you, or selfish, or demanding, or whiny, or depressed, or has fallen far short of the ideal mate you imagined this person would be.
But you’ve been there anyway.
You’ve been there no matter what.
And your act of sticking, you both know, has gone way beyond simply being duty bound.
After Miss Mary and I had been hitched for about two years, we worked for a short while in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
The village where we stayed, Tricotte, is too remote to be found on a map. A potholed highway led to a dirt road, which led to two tire tracks beside a riverbed, which led to a goat path. And that’s how we travelled there—the 4WD’s wheels spinning and lurching until we reached the top of a mountain.
Far, far, up in that remote village, hours from any phone, miles from any help, I got sick.
Picture the worst case of uncontrollable diarrhea you’ve ever had. Add to that the worst case of nonstop vomiting that’s ever racked your body. Then go roll around in the dirt. For three days and nights I lay near a hole in a cement floor while putrid liquid gushed from all vital bodily orifices.
I needed to go home, to the airport, to America, to a doctor. Finally we drove out of the bush, me reeling in the Mitsubishi as we inched our way down the goat path, and headed for home.
I remember sitting on the floor of the Haitian airport as our bags were inspected on route to America, and feeling an absolute low. I was completely worn out.
Yet--and this was key--Miss Mary wasn’t freaking out, and her cool hand stayed pressed against my forehead.
“We’re going to get through this together,” she said. And I knew she meant it. She wasn’t going to abandon me, even though I was a gross, stinking bag of incapacitated bones.
That’s what an authentic marriage is like.
She for you.
You for her.
That exact moment. In all its literalness. In all its metaphoricalness.
I bet you’ve had moments like that too—or something similar.
At your core, you know what it means to take that vow, for better or worse. You know you really like this person, most days, and deeply care for this person, always, this person lying on the floor of a Haitian airport right now.
That’s why your marriage is better than you think.
Oh sure, you can have your romantic comedies, your evenings out with wine and roses. Those happy, blissful, perfect moments do exist in a marriage from time to time.
But most days your marriage is about basic day-by-day living. It’s the TV and the couch, the dishes in the sink, and the bills that need to be paid.
And the simple knowledge that when you fly back to America and go to the doctor, you won’t be travelling alone.
Will you do something highly practical about this, you married folks?
Will you, tonight, before you go to bed, take your spouse in your arms and whisper, “You are the absolute love of my life.”?
It’s the truth, you with your spouse, although it might have been a while since it’s been said.
You’ve actually got a great marriage.
Question: How else do you know your marriage is good?