Journal Entry: July 29, 2014
“Love and harmony combine, And around our souls entwine, While thy branches mix with mine, And our roots together join. Joys upon our branches sit, Chirping loud and singing sweet; Like gentle streams beneath our feet, Innocence and virtue meet.” -William Blake
Before I got married, my mother gave me a little paper jewelry box with the saying, “Love is Blind, but Marriage Restores its Sight” painted on the inside of the lid.
Five years ago, I wrote a post about that box on my regular old non-anonymous blog that I have had since 2008 and where I post about and document all kinds of things including recipes, my children’s accomplishments, our travel adventures, etc… I am going to copy that blog entry here. It is interesting to read what I wrote all those years ago, when I was completely ignorant of my husband’s addiction and his wandering ways (I’m trying to be nice here, on our 25th wedding anniversary, but don’t ask me why). Here is my post, word for word:
When my Mother first gave it to me I thought what a pretty little box and what an interesting little saying… what does it mean? Every once in a while, when I open the box to get out my favorite necklace I think back on the saying and the day my Mother gave me this box. I knew my Mother, having been married at 18 and divorced at 25 and then remarried again at 26, knew more than a little about marriage. When I got married she was 45, the same age I am now, 20 years into my marriage. She did not steer me away from marriage, but she did provide some words of advice and caution. I know that I listened, but I know I could not have absorbed but a small percentage of her words… sometimes it is hard to understand the advice of others when you have no frame of reference. It is hard to understand until you have lived it.
I was 26 and Blue Eyes 25 when we got married in 1989. We had known each other for 5 1/2 years and had been engaged for 4 1/2 years. We had lived together, but more importantly our relationship had survived three significant long distance intervals. Even after the long engagement and the long distance periods (mostly instigated by my husband’s parents) the in-laws still thought we were too young to marry. They hated me all along.
Well, we are not young any more and nearly 20 years have come and gone and I am looking from a completely different perspective now, but I can say that I am happy and proud of my marriage and the level of serious hard work that has gone into it. It is a true accomplishment of strength, will, compromise and understanding that has brought me to this day. Some of my favorite quotes are about marriage:
“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.”-Amy Bloom
“Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.”-Tom Mullen
I believe I know what the Greek saying in the little hand painted box means–now. I understand that marriage is the ultimate challenge of a person’s ability to truly love another human being. I understand that love is grand, but that marriage is the practical side of things, the side that tests your every emotion. Its an agreement that challenges your ability to keep promises and respect another person’s soul. That there is no perfect mate, or perfect marriage. It is hard work, but provides an amazing reward.
As most of you know, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer, but aside from an exciting trip to Rome and a cruise of the Greek Islands, we will celebrate a comfortable place in our lives of peace and happiness. We celebrate the health of all six of our parents and the beautiful faces of all our nieces and nephews and their parents, we celebrate all our siblings near and far, we celebrate our two teenage children and their amazing accomplishments as they take their journey through life, we celebrate the pets that make us smile every day as we look into their furry faces. We celebrate a love we have shared and a marriage that has succeeded.
“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.”
-Adam, in Adam’s Story by Mark Twain
–end of post–
Today we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I still agree with pretty much everything I said on my blog, in ignorant bliss, more than five years ago. That comfortable place of peace and happiness is gone, however. Everyone is still healthy, and we added another pet to our family. I guess you could say our marriage is still succeeding since I have not divorced my husband, but we are certainly not in the same place we were five years ago. I wonder how my husband could read my blog post all those years ago, and other posts I wrote before and after it, and not feel like the worst human being on the planet. How can a person go for 15 years, breaking every vow and promise he has made to a person he promised to love, honor, cherish, and spend the rest of his life with, and look himself in the mirror every day, without breaking down and collapsing from the weight of it all.
My husband actually commented on the above blog post all those years ago. He said “Thank goodness for the blindness.” And that is what I was, blind. I will never, ever get how he could be so cruel for some many years. I know he doesn’t see it this way, but I do.
So, we made it to 25… any bets on whether we make it to 26?