I've been married for 6 years. I've been with my husband for 9 years. I feel as though by this time in my life, I have a little bit of insight on love.
My husband and I have a somewhat...what's the word...volatile relationship. Don't get me wrong here. It's not violent and it's not unstable. It's just...volatile. We're both stubborn, prideful people. We both hate being wrong. We argue, maybe more than most couples, and we annoy each other. Sometimes we wonder if we even have anything in common and if we even like each other. Other days, we're best friends. We appreciate each other and support each other and make each other feel as though they're the most important thing in the world to us.
It's pretty much like a roller coaster ride. And honestly? I'm completely ok with that. It's our dynamic. It's who we are. We're always striving to be better, but I don't think we're failing at marriage. I think we've got it nailed.
There's a common thread in our marriage, no matter if we're up or down. We are committed to each other. The "divorce" word has been thrown around in fights, but only in the heat of the moment. We've claimed we're breaking up, but only in anger. Even when we say the words, we know in our hearts they aren't true. No matter how angry we get, we're in this forever. We believe, with every ounce of our being, that we can overcome anything. Notice what I said there, because it's important. WE can overcome anything.
The reason it is important is because most of the time people will say, "Love can overcome anything!" It's usually a romantic comedy spewing that crap. (I love a romantic comedy as much as the next woman, but when it comes to love, they're crap. Sorry.) Love can't overcome anything because love isn't a THING. It's not a feeling. It's not googly eyes and cupid and red hearts and flowers and chocolate. It's not weddings and dates and steamy nights. That's passion. That's lust. It's infatuation. And it goes away. If you are counting on your passion for someone else to get through the hard times, you will fail. Passion fades.
Love though. Love is dirty. It's messy. It's painful and hard and raw. It's choosing to tough it out when it seems so hopeless. It's putting your relationship before yourself. It's commitment. Love remains only when we make the choice to keep it around, only when we put in the hard work.
People don't get a divorce because they're incompatible. They don't get a divorce because they have "fallen out of 'love' (aka, passion). That's a lie that people tell each other to ease their conscience. Marriages fail because people are unwilling to try any longer. The feelings of passion have long since faded and the work is too hard, the rewards too few.
Love is a choice. Love is smiling at that man even though he left the bathroom light on AGAIN even though you've told him a million times to turn it off when he goes out and now you're just irritated! (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) Love is comforting that woman even though she's irritable and annoying AGAIN over something that doesn't even matter or make sense. It's making a choice that no matter what, you will fight through and be the one person that the other can count on. It's staying true to your vows, true to your promises to each other, even when the passion has dwindled.
Nothing great has ever been earned without hard work. The great marriages are the ones that were worked on, day in and day out. One of my life goals is to be married to the same man my entire life. Not just any man. My man. Nathan. The one I chose. The one who chose me. The man I love, every day, no matter what.