Yesterday as I sat in the waiting room of a Counselling service, preparing to have my less frequent than it used to be ‘supervised crying’ appointment, I was flicking through a magazine. I came across an article about assessing the health of your spousal or partner relationship. There was a time when I would have avoided the article as reading it would have indicated to me how far from healthy my marriage was, and to be honest I didn’t want to have to be reminded of that as it was an ever present reality. However yesterday I chose to read it. The checklist caught my attention, and as I read through it I mentally ticked each box. I didn’t even have to think too hard to come up with the examples for each item. This astonished me; aren’t we the couple who are trying to put things back together post (my) infidelity ? Aren’t we the couple that have had friends and family on their knees in prayer for us knowing that we were very close to not being able to continue ? Aren’t we the couple who’ve just had to face some extraordinarily difficult family circumstances in the past week ? Aren’t we the hollow eyed, exhausted looking people who are being slowly worn down by the demands of work right now ?
Yes. That’s us. But we are also the couple who have learned to say thank you, and I appreciate you, and I couldn’t do this without you, and I’m sorry I’m so cranky. We’re the couple who fall into bed every night exhausted but who make sure there’s time to hold one another, sometimes it’s more clinging than holding, as a non-verbal communication of ‘this is scary and I need you to get me through it’. We are the couple who get up early to leave for work and then spend time sitting talking before children waken to hear of the other’s thoughts about future career plans. We are the couple who find humour in the blackest situations and the darkest of days, and who know that each others’ borderline inappropriate jokes about deeply unfunny situations are always welcome. We are the couple who have got each other’s backs rights now.
It tells me something really important. I could go through the rest of life feeling that because I fell in love with someone else, and because the circumstances leading to that happening stemmed from actions which my husband takes responsibility for, we don’t have a healthy marriage. We are limping along with a permanently damaged limb.
It’s just not true. People recover from illness and we don’t permanently regard them as a sick person because once upon a time they were sick. I am going to say today, and fully believe it, that we have a healthy marriage. We love each other and we talk to each other and we are deeply, deeply honest with each other. We laugh and we cry and we turn towards each other not away when things are hard. It brings to mind Kintsugi. The ancient Japanese practise of repairing a broken object with gold, so that in the repair it becomes even more beautiful.
I need to stop thinking of us as damaged and broken, and instead allow myself to accept the truth that we have been repaired and that gold has filled the cracks.
This is miraculous. This is a story of God.