‘I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.’
Powerful, powerful words aren’t they. They that always make me wonder if many of those exchanging these vows truly understand what they really mean.
The script may have been written. A girl shows off her rock and announces she’s getting married. I’m so happy for you! Can’t believe you’re getting married! These reactions just make me smile. Some people are genuinely happy. Others are envious. And yet others left wondering whether the person really knows what they are getting themselves into.
Nevertheless, family and friends are there for support. She gets married and honeymoon is so fantastic. She comes back home and opens up the gifts. Everything is bliss. Heaven. Better days to come.
Not so fast. Just with any other relationship, conflict is usually looming in marriages. Especially in marriages.
No one prepared me for the challenges I’d face in my marriage, even though every marriage has its own unique challenges. I remember running back to some of the older women in my life, asking them why they would see me going into a pit and let me do so without stopping me. According to me, the issues I was experiencing were as high as the mountain called Everest.
One of my friends even asked me whether I would have really listened to anything objective at that point. And it’s true, my mind had already been made up about getting married. She, however, assured me that what I was going through was quite normal. It’s known as panic attack. I preferred calling it reality check.
This state of normalcy, according to my friend, begs me to ask a question. Why is it then that in the event of conflicts between a married couple, they put themselves asunder… in bed??!! Remember, once the couple exchanges their vows, the pastor will state ‘and what God has put together, let no one put…’, to which the congregation chants loudly ‘…asunder‘.
It usually happens that when facing issues, no one wants to even touch the spouse. Trump’s Mexican border wall coupled with the Great Wall of China are quickly put up as there are, supposedly, legitimate reasons to do so.
What makes me laugh, when I think about this, is how I go to great extents at times to ensure that no body part of my spouse – no hand, leg, finger, toe, shoulder, hip, elbow, including no strand of hair (ahem) touches me in such times of conflict! And that’s my experience. You can also raise your hand up. Ha!
If one stretches in the middle of the night and happens to touch the spouse in the bed ‘by mistake’, the body parts bolt so fast and twist like a tornado in the opposite direction, since it is a very grave offence for such manner of contact to exist with the ‘enemy‘! Each person is left literally lying at the edge of the bed. And who gets to enjoy the great space in the middle of the six by six? Make a guess.
Then comes in the occasional pull of the duvet. My husband once in a while snores, which signifies that he is in deep, sound and sweet sleep. And it does get me upset at that point at times. I know my guide, the Bible, tells me that I should not let the sun go down when angry. But I have a good reason at this point, and no, not because it’s already at night, but everyone can see it, right?
And then, once I have pulled off the duvet, I wait for the reaction. Then I smile to myself when the sweet ol’ cold hits my husband! Revenge is just sweet, I cheat myself.
In retrospect, I have spent a considerable time in my marriage behaving this way, and in many occasions to the detriment of my relationship. ‘…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse…’ It is easy to say those vows on your wedding day and easily forget them once married.
I appreciate that physical oneness is important in marriage. And probably, probably, that little stretch in the middle of the night serves a purpose to remind me, to remind us, that there is one who is, and always will be, in need of our love.