Me & the Bookah
…this I tell you brother, you can’t have one without the other…
Isn’t it ironical (yes, despite what my husband says, that is a word) that the theme song to the old show *Married with Children* implied that they actually had a happy marriage when it was actually crap? And in the midst of their crap they were -at least somewhat-committed to one another.
This is the example of marriage I got growing up with a single parent: Al & Peggy Bundy. And a whole host of other kiddos grew up with this marital example: Homer & Marge Simpson. Being in campus ministry we have so many -hundreds over the years- students tell us that we are their example of a happy marriage. Dave & Grace Biskie. (This represents no pressure at all, mind you. Just kidding of course –it’s huge! I think the demise of our marriage would equal the demise of a couple hundred students faith in God and in the institution of marriage itself). Yet, for all it’s difficulty, I long to experience the fulfilling, ongoing, lasting emotional satisfaction marriage provides at it’s best.
That got me thinking about the whole issue of having a “happy marriage. What is a ‘happy marriage’ anyway? I was wondering this the other day since so many of my gal pals have marital issues and most especially since my hubby & I feel like we’ve hit a bump in the road of our marital journey.
Yet, if you asked me flat out, “Grace, do you have a happy marriage?” I’d say, “yeah, but we can fight like a mug.” No need -in my book- to ever pretend like all is perfect. Shoot, it’s a doggone waste of emotional energy I say. Dave & I can fluctuate between being passionately in love & barely standing each other one minute. Most of the time, were good friends. Some days, flat out enemies. I don’t mind sharing that bit of personal information because seriously I’d be lying to you if I presented our marriage as anything easier than that. If you respect my marriage, you should know, it comes at a cost.
Anyway, we’ve decided like we usually do, that we are each 100% committed to working on our issues. Of course the problem with working on your marriage is well, it’s doggone work & it’s freaking hard work. Work you don’t get paid for, takes a long time, and requires a lot of patience. It isn’t exciting either, ya know? It’s not like when you are going to “work on having a baby,” or “work together to buy a new home.” It’s that nitty-gritty life junk: we are going to work on getting along better. Nothing really enticing about that, huh? Though perhaps it’s the most important work any marriage can do.
Needless to say, all this got me thinking again about how I think marriage is tough & should be entered into extremely thoughtfully. Dave & I are of the mindset that once you make a promise to someone to stay with them through thick & thin… you should probably keep that promise. If you don’t think you can keep a promise, don’t marry that person. Divorce is a painful and exhausting option. Personally, I’d rather be unhappy for a long time married to Dave, than unhappy for a long time wading through the choppy waters of divorce, custody & financial battles. (This is the simplistic version. I realize a lot of yall got a lot of junk going on & each marriage should be considered on a case-to-case basis).
And if you think for one minute that I personally have never been tempted by the divorce option and that all of this divorce talk is “easy for me to say,” well then you need to get over yourself. There have been times I’ve been ready to jet like a mug. One time I had the horrible feeling that I would never ever, never, ever, never be happy again & I felt so trapped. And guess what? We stayed married & by the same time next year I’d never felt happier in marriage.
Besides what I see to be the horrors of divorce, one of the major reasons we don’t opt for divorce is simple: because God said so. I don’t think God was being a stickler for rules in his admonition that we should learn to live with the one we choose to marry. I think it was actually a lot of wisdom. Wisdom that supersedes faith. (Meaning, even if an atheist was considering divorce I’d appeal to them to stay married for various reasons without ever bringing up what God thinks about it).
So, here we go on this journey towards growth, renewal & healthy conflict. As I took a walk today I was trying to list in my head everything that’s wrong with me. It took me less than 10 seconds to think of the top 10 problems I bring to our marriage. Crap! If only I could just blame it all on Dave. Nope. I’m just as screwed up as ever, trying to trust in the Lord to change me, to help us, to rescue us, and to make the changes in Dave I’d like to see. Because ladies, as we all well know: we have to change & we cannot change our husbands –triflin’ as they may be. Today, though was my day to say… Grace, it is you who are triflin’ & it is you who needs to change.
At the end of the day, I’m one of the lucky ones having a husband whose committed to staying with me. Triflin’ old me. And who is also committed to dealing with his own junk as well.
So we press on. Like a horse & carriage I suppose. Horse shoes falling off, carriage almost tipping… we keep going though. Hope your able to as well. It’s worth it.
p.s. don’t forget in a few days, I’ll be found permanently at http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com