Maybe I just got lucky, but I don’t understand why marriage is always presented as being ‘so hard’. Why? Why does it have to be ‘so hard’?
The other day, my husband of almost ten years, Rhys, said something that quite shocked me. He said ‘Most couples would have broken up if they’d been through what we’ve been through, Ivy’. My head swivelled toward him, mouth open but nothing came out.
Because marriage to Rhys is easy. Very easy! I can hear you thinking, ‘Yeah, Ivy. You have no idea what my partner and I have been through!’
Really? Since our wedding, we have lost almost everything and I have looked into the very eyes of evil.
If you’ve heard of the paranormal claim that Black-Eyed Children exist, then you know a little something about my husband’s ex. When the honeymoon was over and we returned to our normal lives, it was my great misfortune to meet the mother of my step-children. I looked into her black, beady, greedy eyes smouldering with hate and looked into the depths of Hell. She used to have quite lovely eyes, I’m told. No more.
Since then, she has devoted the last decade destroying Rhys, me and our marriage. My handsome raven-haired groom has lost his health, his career and his lovely head of hair to the futility and sham of the family court system. You see, Rhys is the victim of Parental Alienation.
Along the way we lost our home and were briefly thrown on the kindness of strangers for our daily bread. We witnessed Rhys’ children abusing each other and feared for the life of my step-son through his many, many suicide attempts. Then we blundered through the maze of emotions as my step-son transitioned into my step-daughter.
There have been false accusations, court dates, bills, threats, constables, insults, incest, tears, anger and shock at the evil his ex stooped to and manipulated her children into as well. She has been successful at destroying everything except our marriage.
And maybe that’s the key. Everything that has happened swirled around our marriage. It was never part of it. Why would it be? It really had nothing to do with Rhys, with me nor with us as a couple.
Why would I kick Rhys to the kerb merely because the situations that swirl around us are so cruel, so painful, so vile? Rhys is not cruel, painful or vile. Rhys is kind, considerate and even-tempered even in the midst of persecution that has driven other men to despair and suicide.
There have been days I longed for the peace and serenity of my boring, lonely, boring, peaceful, boring, single, loveless life. But I never, ever wanted to be shat of Rhys … just of all the drama that swirled round him.
Money, careers, friends, children (or infertility), sickness, even death all will touch your marriage, but they don’t belong at the centre of it. It is the eye of the storm. An ever fixed point, as Shakespeare said.
In the midst of hellacious circumstances, Rhys and I have only had maybe five ‘fights’ in ten years. Of those, about four of them, we later discovered, were merely miscommunications. We were saying the same thing but in vastly different ways. Even in the midst of our worst ‘fight’, if you can call it that, we stopped for a kiss and a hug between arguments to reassure each other that ‘I’m not going anywhere. Don’t worry about it’.
Whatever angst we have, we cool down before expressing it. We know where our own personal baggage leaves off and don’t blame each other for it. That too is another key to a solid, even peaceful marriage. Don’t blame your partner for your own shit.
Everything swirls around us but it doesn’t touch US, the ‘us’ at the centre of the storm. The ‘us’ that has nothing left to lose. It’s all been lost and yet, my now silver fox who looks twenty years older than when we wed, still makes me smile. Just looking at him makes me smile. Even when the stress is ‘up to here’ and I’m about to explode, he says something so weird that it makes me laugh. The best part is that he’s not even trying to be funny.
We have this strange chemistry that defies description.And I don’t mean just sexual chemistry, although that’s good too. The sex is wonderful, but it’s not important to our commitment. The intimacy is where it’s at.
I guess in my own bumbling, long-winded way I’m just trying to say what Shakespeare already said in 1609, but said so beautifully that he puts my writing to shame.