Friday, November 12, 2010
An oxymoron, I know. But it describes my marriage precisely.
Earlier today, I was sharing a little anecdote with a client of mine. My intention for this small self-disclosure was to show how deeply I empathize with her feelings regarding her marital challenges. She utterly surprised to find that even as a marriage counselor, I am not immune to emotional struggles and mental obstacles that sometimes plague the best of marriages. I went on to explain to her that no matter how good I may be at my work, I am still a human being, a woman at that, and therefore I cope with these issues as best I possibly can. Her eyes widened with realization that no one who ever finds themselves in a relationship with a loved significant other, will be able to avoid such issues and challenges.
A few years ago, I had called it quits many times. I am the first to admit that this may be due to my emotional as well as my mental state of mind at that time. I suffer from occasional anxiety attacks which renders me paralyzed by my worst fears whizzing around my mind like a bloody F1 race! In my weakest hours, I had surrendered to defeat and put up the white flag to end it all. In the dark abyss, I saw no hope. I felt I couldn't take another step further. I was tired. I felt beaten.
I am far from perfect. Same goes for my husband and my marriage. Its not always a bed of roses. This is real life. Not fiction. Longevity of a marriage relies upon the stamina of both parties to withstand frustrations and the constant struggles between doing what's right and wanting to be free of stress and onus of responsibilities.
Knowing fully well of my own shortcomings, I strife hard to do the best I can with whatever I have. I give it my all until there's nothing left. And then I walk away to rest and recharge. After strength has been regained, I come back and keep on fighting for what I believe is right and true.
In that process, there has been times when I almost couldn't find my way home. There were also times when I felt like I didn't want to go home. I even had entertained the idea of finding a new home. The worst crunch came last December when I asked to be set free. Little did I expect the outcome to be such a positive one!
Almost immediately, rights and responsibilities implied upon each other by marital law fell to the floor like tiny dust particles. My husband and I began looking at each other in a different light. We had no more expectations of each other. We claimed no rights over one another. We got along fantastically well, despite the fact that we were just bidding time until the end was to arrive. And somehow, along the way, we fell in love with each other again.
A few days ago, my husband and I decided that we are going to keep our marriage together. Most of the big obstacles that stood in our way has already been removed by the grace of Allah. The rest is very doable for us to achieve. Blessed. Yes, I believe we are.
So here we are now. Very much in love with each other. We feel like a couple of newly weds! As much as our daughters roll their eyes each time they catch us being crazily in love with each other, we know they are indeed very relieved that all the drama is over.
Both my husband and I are still as flawed as we were before. Same goes for our marriage. What has changed is that we've learnt that we are worth the struggle to keep us together. We no longer have unrealistic expectations of each other. We see each other as who and what we are. No more denials. No more lies. Only renewed resolutions that no matter what, we are here to stay together. Dreams do come true. But only after making some mis-takes, wrong turns, U-turns, detours, and getting your bearings right. There is no shame is erring. But there is honor in forgiving.
There's roughly about 6 weeks to go till the end of 2010. But the joy and happiness in my marriage and family has regained its momentum. Looking ahead, I can't help but feel excited and optimistic. Perfectly imperfect. Imperfectly perfect. Take it any which way you want. The point is we are still together. That MUST account for something... right? Give it a go. See for yourself. You'll see what I mean.
C'est la vie!