"Because it's hard."
Because it makes me despair, seeing our clumsy and half-hearted attempts to merge our lives and desires. Because it disappoints me every time I see Chris cling to his way of doing things, mostly because I see the same unruly tendency in myself. Because whenever it gets hard and ugly, I imagine that's not the way it should be. Because somehow I expected the practice of intimacy and humility and mutuality in our marriage to be more gracious and mature and pretty than it is, and so I find myself becoming angry when we don't do it very well at all, when we're selfish or make assumptions or let sarcasm invade the entire conversation. I wanted it to be easier somehow, all motivated by sweet, bird-chirping love.
(I won't blame social media for everything, but I have more than a sneaking suspicion that the way relationships are portrayed all around me has contributed to this secret belief that this should all be easier. Naturally, I'm not asking anyone to post the details of their arguments on Facebook--but I know I create fantasy versions of couples based on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, and it's likely very far from their real lives and actual marriage/relationship).
I wanted the daily choice to be kind and gracious to be made easier by fuzzy feelings of love. In reality, we usually have to dig deep to find the strength to be the people we want to be, in the kind of marriage we want to have. We make mistakes every day. We find it hard to give up our independence and insistence on having things our own way. It's all so very costly.
I believe the pivotal thought in the midst of all my rambling is this: if I can accept that it's not an easy thing we're trying to do--that a healthy marriage characterized by selfless love and grace and true intimacy is hard for anyone, everyone--then perhaps I won't get so furious when it's hard for us, and we're not doing it very well.
Of course it's hard. Marriage is sacrificial and humbling and embarrassing; it's full of disappointment and sadness and weariness. None of this means we're doing it wrong. By accepting that this thing we're building together is an incredibly complex and difficult organism, I imagine I can let go of some of that burn-me-up rage I experience when I'm disappointed that we've failed one another yet again.
It's supposed to be hard. (Say it a few times).
Accepting this inherent difficulty may allow me to better get on with the hard work required of me, instead of getting so wound up over the fact that it's not easier or smoother for us. I can show my husband grace when he fails because I know what it's like to fail. I can show myself grace when I fail because everyone does. Marriage (and all relationships) are not effortless or tidy or easy-breezy-beautiful for anyone.
And that is good news.
a slightly cutesy video to go with a slightly hard post.