Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Riding the waves of marriage

Ebbing and flowing. These words conjure up images of water, rivers streaming through valleys and meadows, ocean waves lapping on the sand or gushing forth and rushing back in dramatic fashion. Some years ago I heard these words used to describe marriage. At the time, I thought it was an odd way to refer to the normal ups and downs within marital relationships. Lately I can see that my relationship with Tim really does resemble a stream which drifts along ebbing and flowing.
Tim and I married young. He was 22 and I was 21. We still had a lot of growing up to do and were somewhat naive about relationships. Our early years were a lot like white water rafting, full of waves and whirl pools. It was exciting and tumultuous all at once. Sometimes we felt close and comfortable with each other and other times we were at odds with one another. We argued and fought, sometimes for days at a time. But though they lasted a while, the fights were few a far between and, for the most part, we talked and laughed together, growing closer and maturing together.
We welcomed our first child only two years after our wedding and the water got a little more rough for a while. Life was like a hurricane stirring up enormous waves and turmoil as we adjusted to the new role of parenting. We fought a lot more and distance grew between us. Though the water was rough for quite a while we toughed it out and life eventually became smooth sailing again.
Over the years, life and our relationship have continued to rise and fall like the waters of the sea. There are times I feel as close to Tim as I do to my own thoughts. And there are times I am incredibly frustrated with him and feel he does not understand me at all. I have come to realize that relationships do ebb and flow. It is normal to go through times of ease and comfort and just as normal to go through times of struggle and suffering.
Lately I have felt more like a co-worker of Tim's in the job of parenting than I do a friend and companion . As we once again adjust to a new baby in our family, our relationship, which had been flowing along beautifully for many years, is now stirred up and tumultuous on many days. Thankfully, we have learned that our marriage is strengthened more as we ride the uncertain waves of life together, than at any other time. As much as I want it to be, my marriage cannot be free from struggles and challenges any more than my life can be. It is only by facing everything in life, including our challenges, together that Tim and I can grow in our relationship. As long as we are committed to each other, and to a life of faith and prayer, we will survive the rushing torrents once again and come out all the better for it.

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