"That married couples can live together day after day is a miracle that the Vatican has overlooked." -Bill Cosby
Marriage is a miracle even when we don't see it as such. It endures a lot. Anyone who tells you that they have a so-called 'perfect' marriage has willingly redefined the word 'perfect' because marital perfection, like money in a bank account, changes over time and comes in different increments.
Your marriage is 'perfect' at the very beginning, lots of lust helps that along and the sweet knowledge that no one in the entire history of humankind has ever loved the way you love each other. This is the small change phase, the beginning of banking your love. The perfection is the fact that it's brand-new; unsullied by the realities of life.
A few years down the marital road marriage's perfection lies in acceptance of the other person's faults; faults you could swear they didn't always have. The sex is still great and that along with love enhances your life. Call it the 'we're not rich but we're not broke either' phase. You annoy each other but you can overlook a few problems and you know that the relationship is still perfect and will only get better.
Ever hear the expression, "I had plans but then life happened"? That can put a dent into your 'savings' plan.
Daily life takes an unexpected toll on your marriage account and intimacy takes a back seat to exhaustion. 24 hour days are crammed with 48 hour demands. This is a period that makes you wonder why you ever thought getting married was such a good idea! You change, he changes, and so does your life together. You're so involved with everything else, there's no time for 'just the two of us.' Your life begins to have separate paths and you hope those paths will lead back to the center where you first started.
The phase that can bankrupt your marriage is one where you are overwhelmed with life's problems that cause heated arguments. Job loss, aging parents, 'cold' spells in and out of the bedroom, and lack of communication take a tremendous lot out of your account. You don't want to deal with it all anymore. This is the time you just want to cash out and cut your losses. But something stops you from ending the relationship. Why? Who knows! Maybe marriage is that overlooked miracle after all.
If the marriage, with all its ups and downs, has been a fairly productive and good one, we begin to remember how we felt in the glow of new love. That love was a precious gift but, like any gift, the glow tarnished over time. This doesn't mean that you're not fond of that gift. It just means that you get caught up in every day matters and the gift is put on the shelf.
In marriage we know that we are loved, we assume it; we take it for granted. Life takes over and our marriage takes a back seat. But then there comes a moment when we remember the feeling of being in love and can literally fall in love all over again.
At a recent seminar on relationships and marriage, a woman told me how one small incident caused her to re-evaluate her ideas about her feelings for her husband.
"We were getting ready for a party and my husband was tying his tie. It was something I've seen him do many times but this time I really watched him. I saw how he concentrated, getting it just right. In the mirror he saw me watching and gave me a wink and a smile. He did something like that when we were dating and I felt my heart jump. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with love."
A colleague once said that she fell in love with her husband again after he quit his job.
"It was a high stress job and he was so miserable in it. When he found a position that he really liked, he became a different man. No, that's not entirely true. Actually he became the man he was when I first met him; laid-back and happy. Seeing him like that I remembered falling in love with him in the first place."
Whatever phase your marriage is in, it is a miracle. Whether you define the word miracle as supernatural or just crazy good luck, there's something to be said for being with someone whom you love and who loves you. Aren't miracles supposed to be a phenomenon and unexplainable? Perhaps that miracle is contained in that four letter word, l-o-v-e.
Relationships are only as perfect as the people in them. Living together day after day is a challenge. Couples who love and appreciate their partners for who they are, warts and all, and what they bring to the relationship; who stand by each no matter what is going on, have a healthy marriage account.
Giving thanks for the wonderfully, perfect imperfection that makes your marriage a miracle seems quite appropriate now doesn't it?
© 2011 Kristen Houghton
To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at KristenHoughton.com
You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the book critics call "sane and savvy advice for all a must-read," ranked in the top-selling 100 books of 2011 by Tower.com "And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First."
Her new book, "No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut" is due to be released on Kindle December 1, 2011.