I walked into our kids’ room and could hardly believe my eyes. Lifting my knees to my chest so I could get over the mound of pillows, blankets, toys and cardboard boxes piled high in the middle of the floor, I let out a heavy sigh. After being away at a camp for middle and high schoolers all week, I had zero energy left to convince my kids of the need to clean their room. My husband stayed home with our five kids each day, allowing me to volunteer as a camp counselor, but in that moment I wondered if my time away was worth it.
Marriage can be like this too. I give and take and give and take, and sometimes I look up to find a mound of relational mess and wonder if sharing my life with someone is really worth it. There are the obvious things, like having to coordinate everything I schedule with another person and being on the same page as we parent our children, and there are little, everyday things that begin to pile up if our actual relationship is left untended. The dirty dishes. The beard hairs that clog the bathtub drain. The tools stacked in our dining room.
My husband and I are both committed to our marriage for life, but there are still moments where we wonder (sometimes out loud) if it wouldn’t be easier to do life on our own. Maybe doing life on my own would be easier, I can’t say for sure. But I can say with confidence that without my husband in my life I would lack much of the joy I have now. Easier or not, I want to share my life with my husband because the good far outweighs the bad.
No matter how many times we double book our schedules or how high the dishes pile in the sink, he is my partner. The messes we make, even when the “fault” lies fully in one corner, we clean up together because we’re committed to doing life together. We’re committed to being there for each other, to pointing the other back toward true north when dirty dishes threaten our line of sight.
Without my husband, I would miss the opportunity to share my life with someone who knows all of my flaws and chooses to stick around anyway. And I would miss out on committing to someone else regardless of his flaws as well, something I didn’t experience when I cohabited with someone in a previous relationship. Without the foundation of a loving, patient, forgiving and committed relationship provided by marriage, the big and small areas in which the particularities and peculiarities of our individual selves rub together would be enough to do us in. Despite messy floors and messy people, marriage is worth it for me.