As I watched the young newly wed being driven away to their honeymoon hotel, I thought of my own big day many years ago. We were radiant, big smiles on our faces and could not wait to do things together. As in most cases of newly wedded couples, we were inseparable. Well, until kids came along and they came too fast. Yes, children come along with special blessings but not without certain sacrifices.
Sometimes ago, I assumed that someone had children just because she was married for many years. When she said she and her husband were not blessed with kids, my first reaction was show sympathy. I am glad I didn’t. Instead, I said to her, “You have not missed much.”
Perhaps I said that to make her feel good. Perhaps I meant it. It could be I was of two minds when I said that. I wouldn’t know that now. But very calmly, she answered,” children are a gift from God…” and she let the sentence trail away.
I am not sure but she may have meant that gift had not been extended to her. As my grandmother used to say, God’s gifts are freely being given and if you have missed one of them, do not despair.
She was absolutely true. Marriage is not about sharing a bed. It may start that way. I bet the young newly weds would feed each other with a spoon for the next one week and gaze each other in the eyes for another month. Then the gaze would slowly turn into a stare and divert somewhere else. The idealists among you may mock my words but I am not saying marriages should lose their sparkle when the honeymoon is a distant memory. It should be toned down and expectations should be lowered to allow room for maturity.
As years pass by, priorities in life change. Children occupy the top rung of the priority ladder and parents tend to push each other in the background. It should not happen that way but it does. However, if it is manoeuvred the proper way, such precedence should bring the couple closer since they work as a team for the same common goal.
Just look at our parents and the way they lived together. I am not sure about you. But I have learned a few things from own mother and father. The patience and perseverance to make the marriage tick last a lifetime. I am not saying there were no turbulent moments. They were plenty of that but they are meant to be smoothed out. If there are no creases on the sheet, then the bed has not been slept on. If so, what is the use of buying the bed at all? When you come to think of it, sparkles of any marriage do not fly up like fireworks.
All you need is one to light up whenever there is a dark moment. It is like a beacon of light to guide you out of the rough water of marriage. Perhaps that would be the appropriate advice one would give to the newly married couple. For whatever it is worth, they should know that beacon must be rekindled from time to time. Otherwise, routine and commitments, especially the children, can take their toll. But the worse mistake is to base the marriage solely on serving the children. We, as parents, too, need our space. The space that no child can access. We deserve that. After all, marriage is togetherness and not just the pack that comes later.
Marriage can be a bumpy rollercoaster but it is worthy in the end.