Sometimes it’s the way he looks at me when he’s exasperated. It’s the way I feel when I feel like he is being too critical of me or of one my many perceived shortcomings. Sometimes it’s just the things he says and, my God, the way he says them that makes me want to rip my hair out. It’s the way he stresses me out sometimes when I just want things to flow. It’s the way he gets so overexcited when he relays a story that he leaves out ten critical points, leaving me clueless as to what he’s talking about.
The “he” in question is my husband, John.
I am sure he has his own laundry list of things that I do that annoy the absolute shit out of him. I would list out the ones I know, but there are too many to list and I wouldn’t want to bore you.
Alright, alright. I will, because it only seems fair.
He hates the way I leave my laundry inside out.
Speaking of laundry, I think he wishes I did it more.
He can’t stand that I don’t rinse out dishes more before I put them in the dishwasher.
He wishes I was better with money. He is right.
He wishes I was less sensitive and would let things go more.
He wishes I liked sports. Even if I just pretended for his sake every once in a while.
He wishes I played outside with the kids more.
He wishes I wasn’t always so damn tired from Lyme Disease.
Some of the frustrations we feel, we say to each other. Other ways we annoy each other, we just recognize as partners who have been married for almost 9 years.
A few years ago, the annoyances about the smaller things grew into grievances about much larger issues. Our house, which is large, suddenly felt too small for the two of us. We both felt like we were stepping on each other all the time, despite the space. Our resentments, our justifiable frustrations and the different directions we seemed to be growing in seemed insurmountable. It didn’t help that our communication sucked. Big time.
And so the little spaces that were growing between us grew larger and we seemed to breathe a little easier outside each others’ presence. But we were a family and so we were not allowed that space. The tension grew while our space grew smaller.
I’m not going to lie. Adding two headstrong kids to the mix of, well, two headstrong adults didn’t help smooth the rough edges of what John and I were going through. I don’t know – would it have mattered if they were all sugar and spice? Would that have suddenly made everything nice? I somehow doubt it.
About two years ago, John and I went down the path of getting a divorce. We went pretty far down that path. It was all very adult. We had lawyers and contracts and lots of heavy legalese thrown into the mix of our split. I decided that I would buy a townhouse and put a down payment on a beautiful, contemporary home. It was everything that our large, traditional home wasn’t and perhaps I was making my own subconscious point.
We had heavy discussions of how we would tell the kids. Of how we would split the assets. Of how we would stay close to each other so we could share custody. It all felt a little surreal, mainly because it was.
About two weeks before I was meant to move into my new home and right before John and I were getting ready to sign our names on the divorce contracts, we both took a step back and had our “holy shit, what are we doing?” moment.
It took us to get to this stage for us to realize that neither of us wanted a divorce. Yes, we both wanted things to change in our marriage, but we weren’t ready to end it.
There was one thing in particular that kept going through my mind as the divorce grew imminent. John is my team. He is my person. He is the person I call when something good happens to me. He is the person I call when my world seems to be falling apart. He is the person I call when I just need a person to call.
I couldn’t just quit on my team. Not like this.
Marriage is hard. It is damn hard. Anyone who says otherwise is not married or, well, not married. Two people get together with their own dreams, their own spirits, their own quirks and you suddenly merge all of these things and — BAM! – it’s all supposed to just work. Well, sometimes it doesn’t. And whether it works instantly or not, it requires constant communication, mutual respect, and what feels like a whole lot of fucking compromise sometimes.
And sometimes, it exhausts me. Even now, even when we have re-committed to each other.
You know, earlier in this post, I wrote the things about John that can slightly get to me. I think it’s only fair that I tell you what made me realize why I didn’t want him to stop being my person.
He can always makes me laugh.
He loves his family and my own genuinely and authentically.
He is loyal to his friends and loves them like brothers.
I love his passion for the things he loves (yes, even sports).
If I am sad, he doesn’t let me stay sad for long.
He is an amazing father.
When I let him be, he is a great husband.
He always tells me my hair looks nice, even when it doesn’t. (That’s just nice, isn’t it?)
He will always be my person.
Every day we show up for each other and every day is a little different than the last. There are days where we make a great team and there are days where we butt heads on everything. But every day I recognize a little more that the person I chose to be on my team is the person I need right now and who I am committed to showing up for.
This post first ran on Mamalode.