Wednesday, April 03, 2013
31 years ago Jenny and I promised to be a couple "till death us do part". These words sound so strange to the times we live in. Nobody commits him/herself to a project 'for life'. We commit while we have the strength, the interest, the finances, or until the context changes and other challenges replace the current one. So why are we still committed to being married to each other?
Certainly not because it is a habit. Neither is it because I have no other option. I wake up each morning and choose to be married. I am free to leave this relationship, and I am free to enter into a relationship with someone else. Jenny is not my jailor. Each day we offer each other a partnership all over again. This is freely given, without obligation. I have never felt trapped by my marriage to Jenny - because this is my reality: I choose to stay married.
This does not imply that being married has been easy. That would be a lie. We have had moments when our weaknesses, and our deepest insecurities have been a source of great irritation to both of us. This has asked patience and kindness for one another - something we have had to learn, and will continue to learn over the years. As we have got older we are finding that we need to adjust to new frailties in each other. This is tough, because I am irritated enough at my failing body, without having to deal with a partner's newly discovered weaknesses - and her irritation at how her body fails her! Again: we are learning how to stay married under changed circumstances.
Let me answer before you ask: marriage has not make me immune to attractive women. I have very attractive women friends, and am grateful that Jenny is not jealous of these friendships. I am grateful for these women who have offered their friendship and support over the years, particularly when you have helped me continue to be married.
I love Jenny. This does not mean that we are always 'in love'. I know that there are times that I irritate her intensely - probably enough to commit murder (mine). I know too that there are times when I have failed her because my own interests and passions distract me from her needs. I am bewildered that she continues to get up each morning and stay married to me. But I am grateful that she does. I look forward to another year of choosing to be married to Jenny.
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Posted by Peter Grassow at 9:13 am