Monday, July 27, 2009

9 and 17

A good friend of mine was telling me a story about something her professor said one day in class. They were talking about marriage, and he told them plainly, that the 9th and 17th years are the hardest, and that if you can get through those, you should be fine. I have no idea where these numbers came from, or if there is any empirical evidence at all to support them. But, it makes sense in a way. Some years of marriage are just harder than others. And I know first hand that the 9th year was a challenge, the hardest thus far for us.

Marriage is work. It's not easy, and unfortunately I think there is a romanticized idea of marriage by far too many people. It gets hard. The truth is that it's not always fun. It's not always great. And it's not always easy.

Living with anyone can be difficult. One of the hardest things to accept about being married is the fact that you absolutely cannot do anything to change the actions, the feelings or the thoughts of another person. They are who they are, and you have to just deal with it. The only person you have control over is yourself.

What makes this reality even more challenging is the fact that people change. We all change as we get older, and life gets more complicated. And we have to deal with the changes that happen not only to ourselves, but the changes that happen to our partners. The changes that come from having children, and the changes in priorities that come as a result. Not all of those changes are always welcome.

We are old enough now that we have witnessed most of our friends get married. And we are starting to see some of them getting divorced. The reasons are many, the situations different. Unfortunately, not everyone has their happily ever after.

We have had bumps in the road. We've struggled to see eye to eye. And we've had trouble communicating. But, we are together. We made it through year 9, let's hope that year 17 is one we can overcome too.

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