Loneliness in the single life is often palpable, but is it somehow more palatable when social expectation allows space for the sadness in unmet longing during singlehood? But what happens when Loneliness picks out a placemat and sets a seat at the family table after you’ve already said your I Do’s Forever?
Reality is, eleven years later, I am not who he married.
Reality is, he is not the one I married.
Reality is, we forget to just kiss.
Some anniversaries you celebrate the marriage. Some anniversaries you celebrate the boot dragged, mud-flung, belly under barbed wire, jaw set, hard earned finish line of having made it through another year of parenting young kids without divorce. This is one of those years.
Reality is, we have to decide if we can flirt again, fall in love again, this year, eleven more years, every more after that.
Reality is, remembering the goodness of a partner in marriage in the midst of having and raising small children, our careers, and our own interests takes determination and faith and time; a list of all things already squeezed to the point of dry.
Reality is, we’ve wasted time over the years playing the Who’s Day Was Harder game when we both needed more affirmation and less competition.
Reality is, we are functioning business partners but have to work to make space for the play when we get to be friends and lovers again.
Reality is, we don’t make sense together until you’re sharing our campfire, our beer, so we have to confidently rely on our relaxed intimacy instead of nods of approval from others.
Reality is, we are a Dreamer and a Pragmatist learning how to make a life together.
Reality is, there are some problems that perpetuate and we keep having to bring them before the Highest Judge with a repentant heart before bringing them (again) to each other, and before bed after exhaustion is never the time to do this.
Reality is, when Loneliness comes we name it. We look it in the eye. We serve it a piece of cake. We ask why it has come and what need it is representing or longing to be filled. We pray it or think it or write it or take it on runs with us and when we are able to convey these needs out loud to one another without sting or blame or judgement we do so.
In the meantime we make the beds, the lunches, the life.
We remember to say thank you. We remember that we each are trying. We remember to laugh. We invite Loneliness to be listened to but don’t let it have the last say. This is the movement of marriage.