Photo by Crystal Tillman
Sometimes, you’re trudging along mostly outside of your marriage.
For the both of you, the everyday is long and apart and when you’re finally together, you sometimes gratefully, sometimes begrudgingly, spend what’s left of your collective energy on making and managing a family dinner, bathing the kid, pajama’ing the kid, reading books to the kid, lying down with the kid, and finally breathing in the kid’s infectious kidness one last time before tip-toeing out of his bedroom and into the living room where you punctuate it all with three long episodes of Game of Thrones.
I know in my heart that I love these everydays—I live for them—and, quite possibly, one day, I will look back on them as the sweetest of my life.
And yet, life isn’t an epoch, a gingerly repackaged moving picture, a watercolor of nostalgia. Life is the everydays.
So I’m left terrified that all of the things that go undone and untouched in a day will soon turn into everyday. I think a lot of us are because it happens all the time. A marriage is up against kindness atrophy, intimacy atrophy, empathy atrophy, et al.
This move we made, which looked so rosy and refreshing from afar, has turned out to be understandably hard on our family. Here, Adam began to reap the benefits of all of his hard work; he became a serious student on an exciting path. He’s exactly where he should be, doing exactly what he should be doing, and it’s explosive. I know in my heart that each and every day he goes to battle to fight the shock of all that he’s manifested for himself, and to protect it with all his might. I know it’s a lot.
But here, I continue forever searching for a path of my own.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time—squashed between the things and the hours and the milliseconds of the everydays—I find myself less than supportive of my husband, increasingly impatient even, and sometimes, I’m straight-up unable to stomach another piece of career-furthering good news unrelated to what’s in it for me.
Yes, somewhere inside of me, where all the goodness seems to go and hide to service my internal virtue to spite my external self, I know that what’s in it for him is what’s in it for me, in it for Bastian, in it for all of us, for our family.
Last night, I was doing what I do when I’m craving connection and inspiration. I scoured StyleLikeU. Though Elisa and Lily’s portraits can feel limited to so many interesting artists—working no less—in great cities, I love few things more than watching video profiles about real people. Even when the subjects are posturing, which happens a lot, even then they’re so goddamn fascinating.
Here, now, in Madison, as I am, I people-watch on StyleLikeU. Ugh.
Anyway, last night, I watched A Love Story: Amanda Charchian and Guy Blakeslee, and was struck by this pearl of wisdom:
“It’s clear to me that being together is the way to evolve, more. It might create more resistance within me but it would also be just that much more worthwhile to work through that. And I think if you go back to, like, what marriage or commitment is; being willing to work through everything and stick to it and you’re gonna grow more from that.”
It’s simple and it’s real and it’s exactly what I needed. Tomorrow, I may make all the same mistakes, but I’ve proven myself willing to work through my marriage and stick to it, and I am forever growing as a result. There’s so very much work left to be done. On a good day, I feel like I’m on the very bottom of the love totem pole, ignorant as shit. On a bad day, I feel like I might not have it in me, that I just might not be a lover. So it feels good to hear another person say that it’s hard to be together, that it creates resistance, but that it’s really fucking rewarding. Yeah, it feels good to hear that.