I’ve got a lot of friends and acquaintances who claim they are… “unlucky” in love. They are the products of failed marriages, or they are people who have never been married nor even had lasting relationships. They look at me, and at the man I’ve been with since I was seventeen, and they shoot me with a, “You don’t know how lucky you are to have someone who cares about you that much.”
Well, the subject came up again just recently and it made me realize that it’s been bugging me for a while. I want to address this attitude that I’m “lucky” and that they’re “not.”
My husband is a wonderful, wonderful man. I won’t deny that. I’m fortunate to have him by my side. But then again, I was smart enough to recognize his potential when I saw it and cling to it through thick and thin, through objections from all around me, and through obstacles the world couldn’t seem to stop hurling at us.
And I contribute to the marriage too.
A marriage takes work on both sides, and this is something that too many people don’t understand. They hit me with the “You’re so lucky” routine, and that’s that. As if I won the lottery or opened a good fortune cookie. As if I didn’t put any effort into making certain my husband and I would remain together.
So I’m gonna give it to you straight up. Here it is – the truth of why I’m “lucky” in love.
I take care of myself. I eat right. I spend some time on my hair. I use sunblock and anti-wrinkle lotion. I hold in my farts. I don’t breathe bad breath on him. I don’t let him see me naked if I’m having an off and pudgy day. I make sure my clothes fit well and are flattering. I never smile at him if I’m afraid there is food in my teeth. I support him in his work, edit his papers, give him ideas for his research, talk him up to his peers and bosses. I drive him to the doctor’s when he needs it, take care of him when he’s sick, ask him how his day was. I worked my very poor way through college, earned a few degrees, and continue to learn about the things around me.
I never stop trying.
And if I think HE has stopped trying, I call him on it. I never settle. In the long run, he respects me more for it and appreciates that I love him for all of the wonderful things he IS, and not the wonderful things he could be.
It’s not easy. It’s got nothing to do with luck.
For a marriage to succeed, you have to push through the muck and pull out of the sludge and give each other lifts-up to climb the cliffs. And in the end, you can collapse at the bottom of the mountain together and momentarily rest in the knowledge that you’ve made it this far. You’ll probably make the next mountain too.