“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NAS)
Over the years I have been lucky enough for almost half of my life to have my best friend by my side. Many times I have taken him for granted, thinking he would always be there or not realizing how very lucky I was. However, I have been given many opportunities to realize that “two are better than one”.
Our love goes back to a time, 16 years ago when I was at such a low place in my life. After being physically assaulted by men, I had no respect for myself or anyone else. In fact, I remember saying to myself, “I hate men”. But then, I am sure by the grace of God, I met Ryan. At the time I was dating a friend of his, not interested in him at all, I met Ryan by chance on his 19th birthday. (Sitting across from me at subway of all places.) He couldn’t look me in the eye and was nervous speaking with me. As I stared at him, I was curious, why was this good looking guy so nervous? My curiosity was what drew me closer to him. That night we ended up talking for hours, and for the first time I had a glimmer of hope for the pure heart of a man. We then began spending more time with each other and I had never felt this way about anyone. A pure heart and soul and an underlying attraction for him, which was reciprocated back onto me. Not knowing how to receive this type of unconditional friendship, I pushed him away. But for some reason, Bigger than me I am sure, he stayed. I always tell Ryan that God sent me an angel in him to save me from a downward spiral of hate and despair. I am so very thankful for that. Ryan stuck with me through my damage, and because he led by example, I wanted to as well.
We have been through many trials together, and have grown with one another. There are so many moments I reflect on, that without him by my side I would have been lost. Why is it that so many give up so quickly? Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I thought “this isn’t the person I signed up to marry”. Oh really? Actually I signed up for to death do us part. In this day, it seems that individuals are ready to call it quits when things get tough or their partner is not behaving as they would like them to. I am sure the statistics are stifling, divorce has become commonplace. What happened to sticking together through thick and thin?
I believe that society gears our girls up to thinking that the princess will marry the prince who will carry her off on a white horse in a beautiful sunset. The reality is, the princess marries the frog or vice versa (dependent on perception). It is not a fantasy, it takes work from both sides, it takes forgiveness, it takes turning the cheek, it takes zipping your lips form time to time.
I have learned that men and women speak and think quite differently. I have observed that many spouses don’t see divorce coming when it is at their door, primarily because the communication at some point ceases to exist. The female expects the male to “know” what she is thinking; meanwhile the male does not hear any complaints – so that must mean she is happy. Women think very fluidly, everything in life is interrelated. If someone has an issue with her at the beginning of the day, it seems to feed into all areas of her life. Whereas men seem to compartmentalize things, work is work, home is home, kids are kids. So if for example, there is an argument earlier in the day – that moment has since past – it is not related to the evening time spent with his wife. I know I am talking in a somewhat stereotypical way, but for the most part this is how women vs. men think. Most men see love through intimacy, whereas most women see love through actions (whether it be physical, or words). A marriage break down occurs usually when one side of the equation does not want to understand the other side any more. He/She no longer understands me, no longer acknowledges my feelings, speaks for me…. Do you see the tone? It is the comparison trap. The comparison trap then lends to a sense of entitlement which in turn leads down a road where, the only option is for the marriage to cease to exist. “I am a different person now, we are on different paths”. I often wonder, if the person left the marriage and we were to fast forward down 5-10 years would it be the same pile? Which leads me to my comparison trap I fell into….
A few years ago I was living this, I felt like my husband didn’t understand my needs. But in all reality it was I that didn’t understand everything my husband was giving our house hold. I would work all day, and then come home and because my husband worked shift work, would expect the house to be clean, supper made, and everyone smiling…. Yes I know, a bit of a dream world and not reality – much like the princess with the prince on the white horse. I was assuming I knew what happened during the day, and judging what was not complete vs. what was. It took me nearly losing my life, and being at home on a day to day basis to really see what my husband was contributing. Thank-you for this perspective God.
My husband was teaching my boys life skills, he was teaching them to read, write, laugh, and to tie their shoes. I didn’t realize the extent of it all, while trying to make sure that everything got done in the house so that I could spend quality time with our children. These past two years in our lives have been filled with much trauma, and up and down circumstances in our families’ lives. I am so very thankful for the perspective these past two years have shown me. I have seen a side of my husband that most people do not get to. I had to walk a few weeks in his shoes to really see what he was doing for us as a family.
My perspective has changed over the past two years, to one of forgiveness of myself for judging and for falling into the comparison trap. I cherish my husband and every day, I look forward to seeing him and being next to him at the end of the day. In 2011 I could not hug or have skin on skin contact because of being within a halo, this too was something I took for granted. There are many things I have learned over these past two years, which has deepened our marriage:
- No one is doing more than the other, we each have our strengths and the weaknesses are offset by the other spouses’ strengths.
- We both have personalities that complement one another and make us stronger as a family.
- Leading by example in our marriage will have a positive effect on our children in years to come.
- My husband is my soul mate and my best friend, we will have times where we will not see eye to eye – but there is nothing we cannot get through together.
- Resentment only leads to dysfunction within a marriage, and it will not be present in our home.
- My husband is the greatest daddy I know, and has an amazing capacity for love like no other; I am blessed to have him in my life.
- We need to seek to understand before judging any circumstance.
- And last but not least, two are better than one.
Two are better than one; I am learning this for the first time being away from my husband for a month. Together we are a team that is unbeatable. I feel energized to have him near, our family thrives on unity. However, I am doing the best I can do, and relying on God to be in the driver’s seat every day to carry me through. But every day, I count down until I see him, and so do our precious children. Their daddy is like no other to them, they look up to him in every way. I am the mama that kisses the wounds and nurturers the sadness and disappointment. Two are better than one.