The camera lingers for a moment, capturing you and your lovebird ecstatic at being the globe’s newest couple. The glorious occasion, sealed with a kiss, is the perfect send off to your field of dreams in the uncharted world of marriage. Joy, excitement, intimacy and adventure consume you as you resonate with Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ title show.
The honeymoon period journeys on after your holiday, with you pleasing your spouse and getting served an equal piece of the same pie. Your heart reverberates; truly a fulfillment of desire, a happily-ever-after never-ending story. It won’t end, you think. As days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, your gospel of heavenly marriages is passed on to those around you, your pride evident in your eyes.
As time presses on, the distance from the town of ‘I Do’ keeps on increasing; the beautiful voyage having long left the suburbs of the ‘City of Angels’. It’s been getting darker and colder, lonelier and treacherous. You are no longer on the smooth tarmac road, the dusty and bumpy drive giving you a clear illustration. As you gaze into the dark, trying to comprehend your new surroundings, time slowly awakens you into the realms of reality.
Your spouse is not an angel, your heaven’s just but a scorched part of earth. Gone are the days you did things together, gone are the times you tried to fit in each other’s dreams. You no longer do the things you used to do effortlessly, you no longer are a star in the ‘Made-for-Each-Other’ soap opera.
Here you are, with the thoughts of your dream partner having taken a sabbatical. Seated right opposite you, the stranger in your house, formerly known as your heartthrob. With your marital bliss busy seeking asylum, the friction from fights and ever increasing differences between the two of you causes a spark to burst into a mighty flame. The storm had been brewing, the volcano only waiting to erupt.
Lately, every odd night, you both reach an impasse. Finances and pay slips have become no-fly zones, the sole joint account giving birth to two individual accounts. Your in-laws have taken over, the two of you puppets for your respective sides. Simple decisions are coated in emotions, giving rise to a cry for independence. Suddenly, silence has become the new mode of conversation, nil-by-mouth becoming the daily bread.
Your field of dreams is now a minefield of torment. Differences have become so irreconcilable, anthills have turned into mountains. You’ve constantly pictured yourself in the Unstoppable train, you’ve rated your marriage’s chances of survival between zero and nil.
A rose’s beauty is in its flower and its fragrance. But what rarely crosses our minds is that thorns develop way before the rose buds into a beautiful flower. Though they prick and can easily make you bleed, they ensure the flower will blossom to its fullness by deterring animals that are attracted to it from damaging or consuming the rose plant. The stronger the fragrance, the longer and sharper the thorns are.
The honeymoon period doesn’t define the flower. No. It defines the dream. The true beauty of marriage comes after the drama phase has been experienced, after the thorns have developed. If not for the thorns, the buds would have a small chance of blooming into flowers.
If not for the drama that you experience in your marriage, if not for the friction instances, if not for the serious challenging, frustrating, confusing and chaotic issues you go through, if not for the painful moments in your relationship, you may never get to know who your spouse truly is.
You may never realize the deep rooted issues within you that you honestly need to work on. You may never get to accept and appreciate your partner for who they are beyond the dream. You may never get a chance to make changes in your marriage that will lead you to experience the true beauty of a matrimony you constantly consider being on the rocks.
Longevity in marriage is not a pipe dream. It takes courage, it takes perseverance. It takes love, patience, forgiveness and hard work to see the fruits, the bouquet, of your marital labor. After the storm is over, after the rains have come and gone, sunshine will appear. It’s darkest before dawn.
You only need to see beyond the drama, for the flower develops after the thorns.