What if you knew heading into marriage that everything would be ok?
That you could relax knowing you were on the right path and that everything was in order. To discover in fact that your partner is in fact the love of your life and someone who you want to treasure and grow old with.
I found myself telling this to my car salesman as we were talking about family life while test driving a mini van. I told him that when he finds the right person, to know that the first few years of having children is delightful and life affirming. But for many, it is also laced with the bone chilling trials of learning to live on one income, the wife feeling fatter than before, with no income or financial control, late nights, early mornings and the stress of learning to care for a child. It is a relationship pressure cooker and many marriages don't make it.
My friend thought her marriage was headed for such a fate when she sought out a marriage counsellor. The counsellor told her "most marriages end when children are between the ages of 1 and 5." She said that "if most parents just knew that it gets better they might stick it out."
I am so glad that my friend shared this with me, as at times I felt my marriage might too end suddenly. I wrestled with ideas about what I thought marriage was and the reality of raising children, keeping a romantic partnership alive and my essential self intact. I thought I was the only one who was feeling this way, and perhaps marriage would be one of those unfinished projects for me too.
What I have since learned, is every marriage faces it's trials. That those trials and how you learn to face them is what creates the rich fabric of the relationship. That perfect may show up from time to time, but living with the rest is just fine too. I have discovered I am not nearly as perfect as I once thought I was, and with that discovered the humility to cut my family members some slack. I also now recognize that our relationship has cycles. Sometimes we are cresting and riding high, and others we are low. I know not to panic any more at low tide, as I know there is always another wave. With each wave, we grow deeper in our understanding of one another and how to keep the boat afloat.
So for all you married people out there, keep the faith if you are struggling and celebrate if you are not.