I Want To Hold Your Hand At 80 and Say We Made It
I recently had someone tell me we are so lucky to have a perfect marriage, to have it all & it kind of disgusted them. I am about to get real & the reason why I am about to get personal is because I think some people need to hear this. Maybe you are struggling or feel hopeless in your marriage & just maybe this will give you the hope you need.
Everyone has this picture of how things should be & typically those visions are not reality. A perfect marriage doesn't exist & a successful marriage takes a shit load of work & give and take from both partners. Our marriage is the strongest it has ever been, but it's not because we are lucky or perfect. We just decided that through sickness & through health, for better or for worse we were NEVER going to give up on each other no matter how hard life got.
I did lay eyes on this man in May of 1999 & told my girlfriends I was going to marry that man after he walked into our summer class. I didn't know his name, but something in my gut & in my heart told me he was the one. So I introduced myself & the rest is history! We both fell madly in love with each other & spent every single moment we could that summer together.
We were both at different colleges & had a long distance relationship. We were engaged after a year, so many friends & family told us don't get married you are too young & you guys will never last. Then after 9 months of being engaged I found out I was pregnant. Our wedding was still over a year away & our lives would drastically change. Dave was a D1 pitcher in college, had no job & I was working two jobs while going to school. We both finished out our semesters in 2001 & could not afford to go back to school. We needed a home for our baby girl, so we both went to work full time to afford a 1 bedroom apartment. We would then have two more babies within the next 3 years.
We struggled financially. We worked opposite of each other for nine years, never seeing each other except as we passed one another in the driveway. Dave worked three jobs, I babysat from home during the day & waitressed at night. Thank God for my parents who watched our kids whenever we needed them. It seemed like no matter how much we worked we struggled for so many years to make ends meet & when you struggle financially it adds a lot of stress & takes a toll on your relationship.
We know what it's like to starve so our children could eat. We know what it's like to feel grateful when family brings groceries over or what it's like to pray that someone invites you over for dinner. We know what it's like to have $5 dollars in our bank account & feel grateful when it's our 2 year old's birthday that he was thrilled with the bat & ball from the dollar store. We spent many years wondering how the heck we were making ends meet, it just seemed like we could barely keep our heads above water. Those years were so difficult & scary.
We have suffered great losses & have held each other up during those awful times. Dave stood by my side when I was hospitalized as I struggled horribly with depression & anxiety. At my worst he never left & did whatever he could to support me. We have supported each other when we both decided to go back to school, even currently as he gets his master's degree. We often say to each other " what do you want out of this life"? We share our dreams & we work hard with each other to make it happen. Our past is why we truly appreciate every single thing that we have earned, including this strong marriage.
There is so much more to our story, just like everyone else. Luck has not got us to where we are today. Love, hard work & dedication has. We all have the choice to say this isn't what I signed up for or this is just too hard & walk away or think the grass is greener on the other side or we just decide our marriage, our family & each other are worth fighting for every single day of our lives.
As we look back on these last 18 years, we can't help but feel such gratitude for those hardships, for always giving our marriage all that we can even when we didn't have much to give & truly believe it's why we have the incredible relationship we have today.
You see we are not lucky, we are not perfect, but we are determined to make it through this life together & work hard to make life to together one hell of a ride.