There are times when I don't want my marriage.
I don't know if you're allowed to really admit to that, but there it is. There are days when Anthony and I feel like overworked oxen moving in our daily treads, chastely kissing hello/goodbye, a little hug here and there, a discussion of goings on, then lights out. Two moving parts, mostly well-oiled, but still needing some juice, going through our life together day after day after day after day.
My resentment builds cyclically. I feel great for a few weeks. I work hard, I'm all warm and fuzzy about all things Anthony and Jessica, then suddenly I'm at the base of a wall of anger and fear for my future so high I can't see clearly; I feel like I'm under water and life is murky and Anthony. is. the. cause.
If only he'd just take out the trash instead of waiting for me to ask him to do it.
If only Anthony would take initiative with bath time.
If only I could rely on Anthony to something other than just go to work.
If only Anthony would ______. Which then swiftly morphs into, Why doesn't Anthony just _______??
I ranted and raved at myself for an hour the other night with this line of reasoning, then: What am I saying?? Do I not want to be married??
The answer is so simple: Of course I want to be married (and married to Anthony), but I don't want THIS kind of marriage. The marriage of resentment and anger, of general emotional dishonesty.
Admitting that I don't want it is terrifying. It feels oh so close to saying I'm quitting the marriage, but it's the absolute opposite. I'm renewing my vow to the marriage I want. The one where Anthony and I are connected and interested in each other; where there is passion and laughter; a spirit of camaraderie and teamwork.
I want a divorce from the bitchy, punitive marriage that sucks my energetic outlook on life right out through my worn down fingertips.
In a world where too many people get married for all the wrong reasons I think Anthony and I were one of the few couples who did it for all the right reasons. We were thoughtful about it, happy to do it, and regarded each other as partners, not "completers." We were already complete human beings. I have always seen Anthony like the sprinkles on a cupcake: not required, but definitely a bonus. And, I think, he feels the same about me.
So, when I start getting pissy about the placement, color, and number of sprinkles on my cupcake I know it's time to slow down and do some digging. I want a good relationship after all, and it's my responsibility to not let it slip into a daily dog fight over who's going to give Hollis a freakin' bath. I have to remain focused on those glorious sprinkles and how much they add to my life and ask myself, What's really going on here?
Anthony proves to me each time we come to this kind of impasse why I married him. Inevitably we come to a conclusion, a place of utter harmony of spirits, and I melt into him, his strength, his sensitivity, his raging intelligence. When I see his commitment to me and to a better marriage it invigorates me to continue to believe in it, in ours.
In the end, it has very little to do with what Anthony does or doesn't do with the trash or a dirty baby. It has everything to do with how I communicate my feelings and how they are received and reciprocated. True to the typical gender stereotypes, I'm the one sending out the vibes and Anthony is the receiver. I wonder how it'd be if he was the one always saying, "Jess, so I've been thinking..." I'm shocked he doesn't just put a pillow over his head whenever those words leave my mouth. But again, he never does, and it's why I continue to risk putting my feelings out there in the first place.
After this small revolution of heart I'm not afraid to admit that I don't want my marriage when it feels like a whole lot of crap. I'm not saying I'm going to give up on it whenever it does feel that way. I'm saying I'm going to slap myself back to reality and out of wallowing in my pitiless misery; to incite myself to find new ways out of it; to dig, claw, cry, and fight back to my sunny spot in the mythical flowered meadow of marital bliss that I truly believe in. - And it's worth noting, it's a mythical place only if you think it never rains.
So, hear me now, Universe: I want a robust, complicated, rich, visceral, love- and laughter-encrusted life of commitment that is a Marriage and I most definitely, definitely, want it with Anthony. I want a Marriage born of strength and honesty, of love and laughter. To this Marriage I say, I love you and will always be here for you. And to Anthony I say, I am yours forever and always... you never have to wonder.