Strange Boat

It’s amazing to me how anyone stays married these days.

I mean, really, why even bother with marriage in the first place? The process of getting married is expensive, the process of getting a divorce is expensive, so why put yourself through that? Why not just live together until you’re finished with one, then move on to the next one? Aside from minor disagreements over who bought which CD in the collection, the latter option is clearly the abbreviated way to go.

This is what I wonder each time I’m tempted to (and sometimes follow through on) throw inanimate objects at Bryan. Why do I bother? Why does anyone bother? How does anyone in the world find the strength to stay in a relationship when it’s not going the way they want it to?

Seriously.

If I can have fantasies of leaving in defiance, of taking my children with me to a hotel, of being so right there is no rightness left for him…. If I can become that close to walking away like Brad Pitt, yet I don’t, why not?

I know people who don’t believe there is one person who can grow with you throughout your life, that we change too much and no one person can change with you. They believe we get married, have a few babies (or maybe not), build a career, then we outgrow that husband like a wool sweater in the drier – it was a great sweater while it lasted, but how unfortunate that it’s just not useful anymore. Someone at the Goodwill can make use of it; I’m going to Macy’s for a new one.

I can see that. I can see how easy it is to want that. I can see how infuriating it is to have the same fight over and over and over again. Maybe the object of the fight is different, but the fight is still the same: I want it done my way.

It just gets tiring. And old. And bothersome.

Pretty soon you just stop having the fight – you go straight from the point of early disagreement to shut-down mode, skipping the heated debate in between. Why bother? It all ends up the same so you might as well save your energy for something really interesting. I can see moving on from that to the new sweater.

I have been there. I have felt that. More recently than I’d like to admit.

We are crawling out of our hole. We still fight bitterly, but we fight to the end until tenderness overtakes tension. We end in kisses rather than silence. We intervene with humor rather than pushing through with pride.

I’ve started reminding myself of the song we played at our wedding – the only song in our ceremony. It was the song I listened to as I walked through the grass to meet Bryan under the ancient wisteria tree. It was dusk. It was beautiful. It was perfect.

We are strange, anyone who believes in Covenant. We take on an unknown life, head in an unknown direction, with an unknown end. But we go in the hands of a God who demonstrates what it means to love the imperfect.

And THAT’S why I bother.

2 thoughts on “Strange Boat”

  1. Jen…really enjoyed checking out your blog. I’ve been in a strange boat for 17 years now. Deea and I brought a lot of stange baggage with us. I think we’re finally getting over ourselves. I can take myself so damn serously!

    I’m a big believer in the mystery of covenant. Anyone I’ve watched over the years who has chosen to trust God with their families has seen something artistic unfold. These redemptive masterpieces are difficult to discern at times, to be sure, but when I look closely I eventually recognize the masters brush, the same colors.

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