In Praise of the Tenacity of Marriage

jennifer-grantBy Jennifer Grant

At the small, religious college I attended, some girls joked that they were there to earn a “Mrs.” degree. I steered clear of them; their preoccupation with finding husbands seemed not only ridiculous but also pathetic to me.

And I had plans. After college, I’d go to grad school, write a novel, and take a job as an acquisitions editor at a publishing house. I’d get around to the “marriage and family” thing later when I was older and wiser and knew more about what to look for in a potential mate.

But then, like it so often does, life took me by surprise.

At the end of my sophomore year, I broke up with my boyfriend. As much as I loved his intelligence, gentle spirit, and proclivity for faded flannel shirts and worn Levi’s, he had just graduated and began talking about the future. Our future.

“I need space,” I said. “And, anyway, I’m not getting married until I’m thirty. At least.”

Standing in the kitchen at my mother’s house, moments after I spoke those words, the wall phone rang. As my newly ex-boyfriend stood by, I answered. It was a guy I hardly knew asking me out to a movie. Feeling defiant, I spoke clearly into the handset, “Sure, I’d love to!”

Three weeks later, my movie date asked me to marry him. The following summer, not long after my 21st birthday, we walked down the aisle.

Don’t worry—despite our whirlwind romance, I am not going to say that the 27 years that have followed have been nothing but wedded bliss. Like all of our long-married friends, my husband and I have our own habitual annoyances (Do you have to eat so fast?), predictable—if insoluble—outbursts (You don’t have any idea how much I’m doing around here!), and shriller moments of hurt and anger (Are you even listening to me?).

We’ve also confronted what has felt like real deadlock a few times over the course of our marriage, times when it has only been our marriage vows—later coupled with the fact that we have children—that have kept us together. One such time came at about the 11-year mark of our marriage. Swaying on a backyard tree swing with my best friend one night, I watched my husband moving around inside our house.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever feel anything for him again,” I said.

The fact that we had two young sons and had a baby on the way, however, made me resolute: we had to work it out. Continuing reading at For Her

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