I’d like to write an article about this but can’t seem to focus my thoughts enough.
I realize that I got really, really lucky that I found and married J. Even at our worst, I think we’ve always gotten along a lot better than a lot of couples do.
I’m basing this on the posts I read in my disability support groups and what I know of some of my family relationships (I won’t say whose in case this is ever found and traced back to me.) So many couples seem downright adversarial, even mean, toward each other.
I wrote an article yesterday in which I shared my thoughts on parenting. I’ve never really written much about parenting before, in part because I felt really icky about presenting myself as any kind of expert. And I realize that I feel much the same way about the success of my marriage.
How do you write about one of the most important aspects of your life, anyway, especially when you recognize that you just got lucky? It would be hard to do without coming across as sanctimonious.
I have realized, though, that our relationship is more rare than I ever understood. We don’t call each other names, even when we’re mad. We don’t tell our kids that the other parent is being unreasonable and the kids don’t have to listen to them (as regularly happens in the family relationship I spoke of.)
We don’t compete over whose life is harder. J doesn’t refuse to help me just because he works hard all day, for example.
We both generally go out of our way to make the other’s life better to whatever extent possible. Now that we’re both dealing with our separate illnesses, we’re really good about giving each other grace and picking up the slack when necessary. If he needs to sleep, I let him sleep. He does the same for me.
Our home is generally a pretty conflict-free place by intentional design. We don’t make fun of each other (except occasionally in an obviously lighthearted way.) We don’t insult each other as a normal part of conversation.
Our kids don’t disrespect either of us, let alone openly disrespecting me because that’s the example their father gives them.
I guess I didn’t realize that it was relatively uncommon to be like this because it’s just what I know. I honestly believed that more couples are genuinely nice to each other than they apparently are.
If the opposite is indeed more common than I thought it was, I am even more certain that I’ll never want to get married again. It would stress me out so much to be in a high-conflict relationship.
I was texting with my mom last night and she said I won the husband/father jackpot. Of all the couples she knows, she said that what J and I have is extremely rare. She said that the fact that we work well together as a team and express empathy for what the other is going through is extremely unusual.
If this is indeed the case, I have to appreciate the hell out of him and our marriage, even more than I already do. I don’t think I could ever find it again.