Yesterday I traveled to Scarborough to see my cousin John and his lovely wife Barb renew their wedding vows after 30 years of marriage. John is actually my second cousin, but he was a surprise late in life baby for my Aunt Mary (my Nana's sister... who I adored) and Uncle Willie. He is really closer in age to my first cousins and I, than with my Mom and her brothers, so I have always lumped him in with them. He also happened to be one of my favourite cousins. He likes to tell me I was a brat, and he could be right, but I thought he was awesome. I was so complimented that he and Barb chose to include me in their special day.
The minister spoke about the difference between a new just married love and the worn in comfy love of long marriage (ok she said it slightly more eloquently than that). It got me thinking, and it really rang true for me. Christopher and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage this August. Not all of those years have been happy, to be honest it was really touch and go for many of those years.
When we first fell in love, we actually fell in like/ lust. It then became we were in love with being in love. When we first moved in together we had fun playing house. We were both very different people, each unable / unwilling to change or bend. This was all well and good until the arrival of our first child. That was the time we had to put on our big kid pants and focus not on our old selfish ways, but to put that beautiful little boy first. This is where the cracks in our "love" began to show. We were not changing together.
Now 22 years later I can tell you a hard won lesson. A loving, good marriage is not easy, and love alone cannot see it through. Ours love now is a deeper, almost spiritual love. We are no longer in lust
(oh don't get me wrong there is still lust, it's just no longer the pillar of our relationship). My love for Christopher is very close in depth to the love I feel for my children. For those of you who know my fierce love for my children, you will appreciate what I mean. Our love that we have now was not easily attained, we worked hard for it. We fought dirty for it, and we won. I now no longer take that love for granted, I cannot let it slide.
22 years ago we were 22 year old children. We were both so very different. We came from very different backgrounds. We were night and day. They say that opposites attract, but oil and water are opposites and I think we all know what they do. In the end we both had to change. You know sometimes people say that old married couples begin to look the same, I think to some extent that is true. You change and become more alike. Our "opposites" are no longer "opposites", but instead complimentary. We are still different people, with different personalities, but we make it work. We are like that puzzle where after all the struggle to find the right pieces, we are that perfect connection of sky and water. We meet in the middle perfectly, but are still so different. We are different but have the same morals, the same life goals. I didn't become him, he didn't become me... we met in the middle to become "us".
A good marriage is a work of art. It takes hard work and struggle. In the end it is worth all the fights, the sweat and the tears. The reward is being married to my best friend. I'm really proud of us. The reward is not just a beautiful life together, but we are showing our children what a good, loving marriage looks like.