The Perfect Marriage
The only perfect marriages I’ve found are either at the grocery store or at a restaurant. Peanut butter and chocolate. Prosciutto and cantaloupe. Mozzarella, tomato, and basil (because some marriages are threesomes).
But humans … we kinda suck at perfect marriages. For humans, perfect marriages don’t exist. We can try all we want to make it look like we have one — present a curated, Instagram-ready picture of smiling faces and holding hands and sand-flecked feet — but the reality is that no marriage is perfect. Because no human is perfect.
Marriages are messy. They’re fighting at midnight and spooning at 3 a.m. They’re crying all day then wiping away the tears in time for Sunday dinner. They’re awkward silences. They’re loaded silences. They’re all of the unspoken things slammed inside the expanse of a single sigh.
They’re doing his laundry even when he won’t touch you. They’re doing her dishes because you want to live in a world with a clean kitchen. They’re laughing together at The Office when you still can’t look each other in the eye.
They’re messy. They’re uncomfortable. They’re … worth it?
I’ve asked myself that question so many times over the past year: If it’s going to be this hard, why do it? If it’s destined to be messy, why agree to it at all?
For the same reason I adopted two little furballs even though I will most likely outlive them by decades. For the same reason I get in my car and drive to the beach to feel the toes in my sand even though I might die in a car accident on the way there. For the same reason I hop on a plane to visit my best friend even though 10,000 feet in the air is the last place a human being is supposed to be.
Because it’s our willingness to take the risk that sets us up to reap the reward. Because love cannot enter a closed heart. Because in the midst of the mess, that’s where we find the good stuff. Because we can’t have the really good stuff without also signing up for the really bad stuff.
The really bad stuff’s been staging an assault for a while now, and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. But I’m still here. Because there’s something about those moments when my heart is so full that I understand what it means when someone says “her heart swelled with joy” or “she overflowed with happiness” that keeps me coming back. That makes it worth the really bad times.
There’s something special about the heart — it’s the only thing I can think of that can be broken, be repaired, and somehow be stronger than it was before. Other things break, and no matter how well you repair them, they have a weak spot. But breaking a heart somehow, magically, fortifies it. Like superhuman scar tissue.
Maybe love works in poles — maybe it’s the ultimate yin and yang — the balance of it all. Maybe the only way you can experience real, deep, earth-shaking love is if you’re also willing to endure real, deep, earth-shaking pain. Maybe you can’t have one without the other.
Maybe it’s like peanut butter and chocolate or prosciutto and cantaloupe. Better together.
Shit. Maybe every marriage really is the perfect marriage, then.