Yesterday’s post, though honest and fraught with the reality of my swollen hot feet and sweaty knee-pits, bothered me all day. I kept thinking about how it wasn’t the post I should have written. How the lightening storm was great, but it was actually a small piece to a larger puzzle. I thought all day and even into my happy hour with Claire about how to say what I want to say, but I am still coming up blank.
Since we’ve moved to Seattle things have been good, I have been happy, we have so many opportunities here, we have a much better quality of life, there are a thousand and one excellent things about our world right now.
Except Kamel isn’t happy. He is happy that we moved, he loves Seattle! He is not happy for other reasons. And his unhappiness spills out of him and onto us. It creates tension and stress and negativity that eats away at all of the good things, all of the happy things. And it is exhausting to be forced to go down that path with him. Things have been harder than usual. More tears from me. An undercurrent of loneliness.
This marriage thing is a constant evolution. I don’t even remember what our relationship was when we dated. Who were we again? I do remember what I thought marriage would be on the day I got married.
A buddy for life.
Someone to always have adventures with.
My jovial, up for it, supportive Kamel.
Except we are way more things than that. We are much bigger than vows. On our wedding day we are the best version of ourselves, but in our marriage we are sometimes the best, we are sometimes the worst, but we are often just somewhere in the middle.
But lately it hasn’t been great. And more often than I want it has been not good. It’s been hard. It is hard navigating the world with someone else’s issues in mind. It is hard for Kamel, but I don’t speak for him here. It is hard being the person who is generally content while tied to a person who is not.
The thing is it is not an easy thing to talk about or write about or express. “Marriage is not easy” is too simple of a phrase. Marriage is a difficult, challenging existence but it is not a bad one. The work of it matters, the hard parts mean something, choosing that person even when they suck, even when they are no fun at all, that means something.
Staying up and watching the lightening after a day of choosing to be nice instead of wanting to be nice. That moment where he reaches out and touches your side just because. Being kind to one another, knowing that each of you is trying and working towards a common goal, knowing you have a partner even if in a moment (an hour, a day, a week) you feel alone.
Marriage doesn’t have anything to do with kids, parenting has to do with kids. Marriage is this umbrella thing that I am sometimes figuring out on my own, figuring out how to be better at my parts, figuring out how to communicate about the parts I need us both to be better at. It’s a dance, it’s a slow dance. Sometimes the songs really suck. But I keep choosing him, again and again and again, I keep choosing.
Because Marriage is not the end zone, it’s the starting line.