Fred and I have been married 18 years today. Here are some reflections on that:
As a Catholic, I believe God placed us in each others lives to help us to find our way to heaven together. Some of those years have brought sadness and pain, because lets face it folks, suffering is part of life.There have been days we disappointed one another, or failed to be what we ought. We have had 4 miscarriages together as well as many days when health was simply sub-optimal. There have been financially tight times and work related stress-ors. There have been sleepless nights as we worried over our children. For us suffering serves another purpose as well, it keeps us mindful that we haven't reached our destination yet and that we were made for something bigger than anything this earthly life has to offer us. We continually look forward.
Most of those years have been filled with happiness. Goodness know how many nights we still stay up chit-chatting with one another over the days events and the meaning of life. Fred's sense of humor has only gotten better with age.We know how to simply be with one another after all this time. We have had 10 children together, bought and sold a few houses, watched proudly as our kids hit wonderful milestones,improved our lives in various ways.
When I was younger and before we were married I would say to Fred "I need you." and I meant it- sort of. I was pretty independent and didn't really want to 'need' anyone. I didn't even realize it was normal to 'need' anyone other than myself most days, as I was too self absorbed.
Once we were actually married and we disagreed with one another, I would say after a fight "I need you." and I meant it, but I resented that I needed him in order to help me know myself, and grow, and support me.It was troubling to be 'in need' but it was my lot in life.
After many years of being married I would say to him "I need you." and I meant it because I had realized and had come to appreciate how much he did for me and our children through his work,and his presence in the household, and his example to the boys, and his commitment, and his fidelity and I could see that as a family, this is how it worked. I needed Fred because he was very useful.
Today when I say to Fred "I need you." I say it because I do need him. We have become one living organism in 2 bodies, One heart that beats in two chests. Living without him by my side is the worst possible chastisement I can imagine ever having to endure. After 18 years of marriage the love I feel for him is so beautiful at times it is almost painful. He is the greatest gift I have ever been given and the surest proof to me of not only God's existence, but even more so of His genuine goodness.
When I say to Fred I need you, I mean I need him for my survival. (And I don't mean for the food or clothing or shelter he provides to me and the kids either-that is only the exterior form of survival). I need him more for the survival of my heart and soul, which is so intimately linked to his now I could scarcely tell you where he ends and I begin any longer. My happiness and sadness, my good times and bad, my sorrows and joys are all caught up in him. I am acutely aware of my need for him now and so grateful to know what it is I am in need of. I need him.
After 18 years, I finally do.
After 18 years, I finally do.