I guess on one hand, my marriage rests on years of history and memories. But it almost seems like the living thing that is my marriage mostly depends on what we’ve recently done with it. Like it’s a flame in a blustery night, and it’s no good that you threw mountains of wood back then.
But what have you done together recently?
But how have you seen each other just now?
But what are you learning about that always evolving, always growing, always struggling, always hoping bedfellow?
Oh, like all the beautiful things in life, it's two things held in tension. It’s foolish to be insecure about our love such that the entire thing is a never-ending performance. We’re so quick to perform everywhere else that marriage is where you hope you can let your hair down and simply be.
But how foolish to think it won’t gently die if left unwrestled?
I know how it goes.
First, in love; in ravenous pursuit to know every godblessed thing together; in soaring flames. You stay up ‘til 5 a.m. seeing every conversation to its absolute bottom. You make and memorize poems and speed down I-35 in the thick summer night and toss pebbles at windows so you can wake her with the dawn.
Then, second, flame finds fireplace; roaring heat turns to quiet crackle; familiarity breeds sleep. For what more can be known, for what conversation can be had where we don’t already know their answer, for what poem might be composed that hasn’t already been written, for who can blame us when we have been taught to start love-fires but not how to keep them?
I don’t want to wake up in some distant day to find our marriage has long been soot & ashes.
So I’m convinced of two things that don’t look right together.
I am convinced that our marriage is a home where we can take deep breaths, where we can let go of all the faces we present to the world, where we can fall sleep on our marriage and still find the flame going.
But I am also convinced that, of all places, you never rest easy in your marriage. You always wrestle. You find new questions to ask. You refuse to believe you sleep next to somebody static & unchanging, you refuse to believe that flashing flames yesterday mean the same for tomorrow. And you stoke the flames like the annoying fool that love demands you to be.