Thursday, August 12, 2010

Us Against the World

This post is the fourth in a series leading up to our anniversary on Sunday. Click here to start at the beginning.

Grow old along with me.

The best is yet to be - the last of life

for which the first was made.
Robert Browning

This week I celebrate my love for my beloved. When I told him I was eulogizing him all week on my blog, he responded, "Why, am I going away?" Oops. I meant to say, this week is an Ode to our Marriage.

With every difficult moment, every ordinary day, and every glorious year that passes, I grow more convinced that I married the right man for me.

We are still both convinced that we have the better end of the deal. I really know I have it better, but I let him believe he might be right. I also let him believe he is the smarter one of the two of us, which works well because in return he lets me believe that I am the smarter one.

We genuinely enjoy one another's company, one another's interests, one another's ambitions and passions. Plus we also enjoy one another's children, which is fortunate since they are also our own.

We are so blessed to have found one another, because a good marriage brings a wellspring of life to one's soul.

I believe we provide an example that while it takes constant maintenance, marriage does not have to be hard work. There are challenges, to be sure. Make sure you marry the right person, yes, sort of. But I think it's also about two people deciding to commit fully to this institution, this project, this team.

We have found that when you keep expectations realistic, you fight fair, and live by simple principles, life together can be the blessing God intended.

Chains do not hold a marriage together.
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads
which sew people together through the years.
~Simone Signoret

Great Expectations: Us Against The World
The challenges of our early time together came from outside our relationship, and ended up cementing our bond. We set up house across country from all of our parents and brothers and most of our friends, which quickly led to us relying on one another instead of the support structures we had previously had.

Six weeks before the wedding, my grandfather (dad's dad) suddenly passed away after open heart surgery. Ten weeks into our marriage, my grandmother (dad's mom) was told she had leukemia and was gone five days later. Our first Christmas was spent with my parents and brother, staying in my grandparents' empty house in Arizona where we had met up with my dad's brothers in order to divide up the estate.

I remember telling the Captain we would be glad someday to have had that as our first Christmas, because it could only get better from there.

By the time we had been married six months, we had developed an attitude of "It's us against the world." This attitude has served us well through the years, helping foster our togetherness when we might be inclined to let circumstances pull us apart:

  • Our rallying cry has become, "Go, Team Burdine!" as we pound fists like the Wonder Twins from our childhood Superfriends days. Incidentally, that's why I call him the Team Captain. In case you have always been dying of curiosity.
  • Together, we plot to take over the world with our awesomeness, like Pinky and the Brain ("we're totally insaney").
  • How could you not grow to love someone more, after you have spent years outlining together how you will survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

I jest a bit about the application, but the principle is completely true. When you are busy working together toward a common goal, you spend less time worrying about whether your teammate is perfect, and
more time worrying about
less time worrying in general.

In our case, having appropriate expectations means expecting that the two of us are on the same team. Tomorrow I'll tell you what I have learned about fighting fair.

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