My parents’ decades long marriage crumbled six months before my husband and I began our own.
After months of lies, distance, brave faces, and finally cheating, they split on less-than-peaceful terms and began to live their lives without each other.
I started to examine the relationship I was building with my soon-to-be husband and realized how similar my story was to my mom’s: a college graduate living at home, preparing to move straight into her husband’s home the moment after the cake was cut and the vows were said.
We were so in love, like they had been—so young like them, so hopeful like them. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder when our happy ending would fall apart, like theirs.
I started to worry over little things. I’d see him pull out his phone and wonder if he was texting another woman, or he’d come home late and I’d immediately imagine him meeting someone else for dinner.
My fears were perhaps unintentionally fanned by my mother, who, when I’d tell her something happy about my relationship, she would sigh and say things like, “Your dad and I had that once.”
The more I lived with my husband, though, the more I realized he is nothing like my father. My husband is an incredible man of integrity. He’s never given me a reason to mistrust him, and our marriage is one of such open communication that, if something were to come up, he would tell me about it rather than sneaking around.
But I still had those funny little thoughts that somehow he was less than genuine.
One night he and I were laying on the couch watching TV when I voiced my concerns to him. I said all the things I knew already: that he was kinder than that, more loyal than that, that I trusted him.
But I told him that I was having doubts—about him, about us. And he wrapped me in his big bear hug and swore that he would never do to me what my father had done to my mother. He promised that our relationship and our someday-kids would always be our first priority.
But for all his reassuring, in the back of my mind was the thought that my dad’s “fatherly wisdom” to my husband would come true: “You’ll be in my position someday, and you’ll know where I was coming from.”
About six months into our marriage I was sitting on our back porch, struggling more than ever with these unfounded worries. I reflected on the positive qualities of the gentle soul I married, the home that we were building that was based on active love and communication.
And I made the choice, the deliberate choice to trust him.
I see that core difference in my marriage and that decayed mess of my parents’: the choice to choose marriage every single time. To choose love, to choose commitment- to choose each other. When it came down to it Mom and Dad didn’t do that. But I know that won’t be us because my husband shows me every day that he’s just as devoted to our marriage being a lifelong commitment as I am.
My husband and I continue to choose each other over ourselves. And we’ll continue to do so.
And that’s what will make us last.