M and I are not one of those perfect couples. Well, to tell you the truth I'm not even sure that these couples really exist, or if it's only a surface image they project.
We love each other like crazy, we can't get our hands off of each other when we don't have a kid to take care of, we are always able to find this genuine emotional and intellectual connection we've had from the beginning, and we are a lot alike.
But we are also different and need our space and (sometimes!) snap and bicker and nag and have fallouts. We disagree, we argue (and let me tell you it's not easy doing that with someone who went to law school) and we fight, mostly about what a lot of people must fight about: kiddo, money, housework... I mostly choose not to write about it, because you never know how it could be interpreted and it's not what I want to document for later...
The idyllic honeymoon period of our relationship lasted nearly two years. Then, without much transition, it pretty much came to a screeching halt when we were suddenly handed a baby. Tough on any couple, but LP was a really fussy baby to boot. And this had a way of making our overemotional selves melt down into a puddle of helplessness, worry and negative feelings.
For a while it wasn't pretty. I could never say we had serious, root core problems, but we kinda turned on each other. One day when LP was four months old and had been hopelessly wailing all day (that kind of bawling that made two different, not immediate neighbors come knocking on our door just to see if everything was alright), we completely lost it (in front of my mother!) and started screaming at each other in public, then I turned my back and casually mentioned to her that I didn't think we would last through the year.
Of course that's not what we wanted, but instead I guess we just nursed a classic case of slightly drifting apart for a little bit. It's so easy and insidious, after all. It just happened, I don't know why or how. It's weird to think about it now, now that we've gone all the way around again, in a puppy love stage of leaving each other cheesy little notes and me being totally excited about buying cute frilly underthings just for him to see on our honeymoon.
Rebecca Woolf blogged about it recently in a post called "The Almost Divorce", in which she confesses the many struggles her husband and she had before finally finding their happy place. Her unabashed honesty is so great, because it made me feel that our own less-than-glorious moments were not abnormal or shameful. It made me reflect on our own relationship a lot, about how I think we also more or less consciously came to the same conclusion she did: that with kids in tow it was really important to try your best at making it work, not staying together "just for them" and faking it -which is actually probably one of the worst examples you can give them-, but earnestly give it your best shot. As a child of divorce, I've always told myself that the single most important thing I wanted to achieve in life was to succeed at my relationship, and give my child(ren) an example of a positive relationship. So simple, yet so infinitely complex, right?
So through time and tries and compromise and a lot of listening and teary, sincere talks, we've found our happy place again as well, and I feel so ready to take the next step. I am so in love with him now, so happy to have him, so proud of having chosen him, so giddy for what's to come. I feel we are really strong... Although I will always fondly remember the perfect beginning of our relationship, I think our bond is so much deeper now. I'm really glad in the end that we waited to get married, because I feel my position as a bride is completely different than it would have been if we had gotten hitched soon after we met. An initial hopefulness that we could withstand through thick and thin has changed into an almost certitude that we can. We'll never be perfect. We'll most probably have other tougher periods. We'll try to reinvent ways of being happy to have each other. Come what may, we're in this together.
As part of paperwork we needed to fill to get married, we each needed to write about how we met and what we love about each other. Here are excerpts of what he came up with (and which completely made me melt):
I think she's simply brilliant and stunning. I always knew I wanted to be with her, and tried to spend as much time as possible with her, until the day we finally did what should have happened way before: be together.
She's sensitive and pragmatic all at once. She's thoughtful but also lets herself be touched by life's little moments. Her heart is huge and she's involved in several causes, which are all very important to her. She's much stronger than she believes, and much more beautiful than she thinks she is. Her devotion for LP and I is infinite.
I am so lucky that in a couple of days, I'll be able to call this man my husband. Because after all, the marriage is so much more important than the wedding.