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The first tragedy came when I was 4, and my 3-year-old cousin — my first playmate — drowned. My earliest memories are of him. Vivid. Intense. Innocent. Memories.
The second tragedy came when I was 12 and my parents divorced. Everything has ultimately panned out fine, but I’d be lying if I said their divorce didn’t rack up more than a few emotional costs for all of us.
The third tragedy came when I was 30 and my husband of nearly 7 years walked out of our marriage. And didn’t come back.
The fourth tragedy. Well, I don’t want to talk about it.
The circumstances and depth of loss vary for everyone, but your life’s landscape has its own scars. Complex. Intricate. Unfathomable scars.
The older I get, the more aware I am of the train-wreckish nature of the human experience.
And those of us who have chosen marriage have intentionally decided to unite our life with someone else’s. If I could, I would insert a visual here. The menagerie of my own triumphs, train wrecks and tragedies colliding with those of my current husband. Pretty picture, huh?
My theory (albeit, nothing scientific to it) is that too many marriages stall at mediocrity — caught somewhere between “squeaky-clean falling in love” and “rich authentic vulnerability.”
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Falling in love feels great. Beyond magical in many regards.
Being in love?
Well, being in love often gets buried beneath an onslaught of schedules and tedious details. In many marriages, the “other woman” is the calendar — hell bent on creating two strangers under one roof who occasionally touch base to figure out whose fault it is that there is no milk. Or clean socks. Or emergency fund.
And what about sex? Sadly, that often slips out of the scene silently, reappearing only occasionally as a token bystander, clothed in awkward obligation and misunderstanding.
Enter mediocrity. Stage right.
So here’s the “come-to-Jesus” moment… the $20,000 question, so to speak…
Will you scrape and claw and humble yourself toward rich authentic vulnerabilty?
Will you forgo mediocrity for something better in the life the two of you share together?
My husband and I are coming up on 10 years of marriage. 10 years. Really? When did that happen? In that time, we have scraped and clawed and humbled ourselves toward rich authentic vulnerability.
For all the secrets of great sex being hawked in magazines, the truth is that phenomenal sex is the byproduct of tender, deep, enduring friendship… friendship of the the one-fleshy variety that can be found only on the other side of “I do” and “I do too.”
For some of you reading this, you’re hitting milestones way beyond 10 years. 20 years? 30 years? 40 years? And for others reading this, you’re just coming out of the gate, rounding the bend at 2 years or 5 years.
It’s going to take gut-level work that is deliberate in a way that no one can really comprehend when they stand at the altar.
The alternative? Well, in many marriages the alternative is a rather lackadaisical drift into horrendous mediocrity. Sure, some people careen toward it, but if I was a betting gal, I’d place my money on the lackadaisical drift as the more common villain.
Tragic. And who wants more tragedy?
Haven’t you had enough tragedy in your life?
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.