My husband often refers to me as his SourPatch Kid which he loves incidentally. They’re always his movie theater pick. I prefer Junior Mints. I think SourPatch Kids tear up the roof of your mouth. I’ve asked him before why he likes them so much and he says, “I like them because they are sour one minute and sweet the next. It’s a good balance.” I just don’t know if he likes it as well when it comes to being with me, but he’s still around if that proves anything…
I don’t mean to be this way. It’s just how I am wired. He has told me I can lift him up with my words, but I can use them as my weapon against him when my back is to the wall. I am an extremely passionate person but I also have a short fuse. I’d venture to say that this paradox is true of most people; our best qualities are often our faults.
He’s had to deal with me for the past ten years, eight of which we’ve been married. I applaud him for putting up with me. I know I am not easy to live with. But to be fair, he can be challenging too. Scott’s strong points are his determination and his ability to achieve almost anything he puts his mind to. He works hard to succeed at everything he does. He doesn’t look for approval from anyone. But sometimes it leaves me feeling railroaded. When he’s on a mission to accomplish something, I sarcastically refer to it as, “The Scott Show,” where the kids and I are just supporting actors. I know that’s harsh. But it’s our reality at times. Every marriage has it’s challenges and I am just opening up and sharing a few of ours.
To all of my unmarried friends, I will never lie to you and say marriage is easy. But you probably know that already when you see how many marriages end up failing. If it were easy, people would stay together and in love forever. I don’t stay with Scott because it’s easy nor do I expect it to be. In truth, our fights (and we’ve had some doozies) have made us stronger both as a couple and individually. It’s like two rocks rolling down a hill together and when they bump into each other, they help chip off one another’s rough edges. We become more refined. It has helped us to have a sense of humor about ourselves.
As I mentioned, we’re celebrating our eight year wedding anniversary on Monday, August eighteenth. I look back at my wedding pictures and I remember the day better than “just a blur” as many people describe it. I look at that young girl with her meticulously styled hair, looking confident in her beautiful wedding dress. Her cheeks are sore from smiling and her heart is full of hope and expectations. I want to sit her down and tell her, “That hope and that love you feel today are going to be tested. But don’t give up. Every challenge will be replaced with strength once you overcome it. Some days you are going to want to leave. You will think you are going to be better for it if you do. But don’t. You will miss out on a really amazing life if you do.” But I probably would have rolled my eyes at myself and said, “Ok, I’ll keep that in mind, Mrs. Know-It-All,” because we never fully appreciate what well-meaning people are trying to tell us until we go through it ourselves. So you can take or leave the advice I am about to dispense. It is, after all, just my opinion based on my meanderings of my life.
I know sometimes a marriage falls apart because of things beyond control. I have seen people split apart by abuse, addiction, or by the loss of a child; things that I pray I never have to experience. I don’t know what I would do and I won’t pretend to be any sort of an authority on such matters.
I have also known people who walk away because they are searching for a missing piece of themselves or feel that marriage is preventing them from understanding who they are. In truth, I have felt that before mostly because I am trying to control what I get out of life. I want the lessons to be like college courses:
“I would like to avoid having to take Disappointment 101 and AP Stuck in a Rut 400, please. Can I please take Self-Discovery 302 and Intro to Traveling Abroad?”
But our journey is determined by the choices we make with the required courses in which life enrolls us. We don’t always get to “choose our own adventure.” And some of those choices we make when we’re tossed into those tough courses lead to some frighteningly permanent circumstances. The one that terrifies me most is losing this guy I promised to love forever or breaking the hearts of my children because I need to find something I believe I can’t by being with their daddy. Thankfully, any thoughts I’ve had doubting this life are fleeting. And once they pass, I find out something about myself more profound than what I thought I was missing. Every time. Sometimes it takes a bit, but there is always light after the dark if you’re willing to wait for it.
So yeah, our eight years may look a little different than other couples’. Maybe we fight more. Maybe we fight less. Maybe there are a few more dents in the walls from shoes or my phone being chucked in Scott’s direction during one of our epic battles (Sorry, honey. At least I have terrible aim). Maybe we don’t go on as many date nights as some people do. Or maybe we make other couple’s social lives look pretty lame because of how much we do together. I don’t know. It’s really not a contest. I do know that I don’t regret a minute of it and I am thankful that he’s still willing to call me his Sour Patch Kid.
Happy Anniversary, Scott. I’m glad we decided to take this class together.
P.S. It’s been eight years! Does that make us Doctors?