Thing 2

Marriage is a dance. A battlefield. A rock of refuge. A rollercoaster. Ryan says, a primary means of sanctification. I say, more than anything else a learning curve.

I’ve been married nine years next month.

“[Nine years] is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. I know less than half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

A lot happens in nine years, a boatload of light and darkness.

We love each other more now, my man and I, but it’s changed too. The training wheels of initial infatuation age and break off, the habit of love holds you upright.

He has to forgive me for being—and not being—the woman he married, and I have to forgive him for being such a Zook.

He learns to eat grilled cheese sandwiches with jam like a Coblentz (a seven-year process of acclimation, at least). I learn to cook his mother’s best dishes (and still pout when he requests them, and he lies that I make them better).

We learn that our families, beyond their surface similarities, had some glaring irreconcilable differences in philosophy, and we must find a middle road to walk together.

He learns The Ten Best Ways to Comfort an Angry Woman without Losing Your Hide. I learn What to Do When He’s in His Cave and Won’t Come Out.

He learns to let me try my wings, encouraging me in areas of interest he does not share. I learn that he is not an extension of me, that letting him move into the world, and try and fail and conquer, is one of my greatest gifts to him.

He learns how jealous I am, how easily pierced. I learn how faithless I am, how easily deceived. We learn the vulnerability of our Shining Barrier, how we cannot hold our love together. We learn forgiveness, grace, humility. We learn to put all our eggs in this one basket.

Our love becomes patchwork—a thousand crazy-quilt memories, some bright, some black, stitched all together, and the rents darned stronger than before.

A lot happens in nine years.

We learn to be thankful we didn’t know the whole story ahead of time—how could we have found the courage to start? We learn to be thankful for vows made before God and these witnesses—strong cables pulling us through the times when if we’d been dating it would have been the end of the road. We learn to be thankful for joy, for the bright sun rising, for the hundred thousand good times. We learn to eat the bread of marriage—the daily nourishment and companionship, the sleeping close and the quiet welcome-home kisses.

He learns to cherish. Again. And again. I learn to reverence. Again, and all over again.

A lot, a lot happens in nine years. Thank you, Jesus.

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Mom Coblentz
11 years ago

LOVE it!! Why can’t marriage be all in the clouds? Why is there always the coming back to earth and discovering those ‘caves’ are still around? Is it partly because we learn some of the best things in struggle and it’s in the “dark” where we’re forced to…or we’d never find our way out? 🙁 And I love the quote from Bilbo…I always laugh when I hear it!!

11 years ago

Shari, this is beautiful. I think most married women would say that you have put words to the exhilaration and the crap (excuse the crassness) of living smack up against someone for many years.

Joanna Sch
11 years ago

Thanks…love it! And try being gone for 8 days:) Puts a whole new dimension to marriage:)

11 years ago

Concerning acclimation to jam on grilled cheese, I have Ryan beat by about 6.8 years. In fact, it’s makes my “Top 10 Reasons for Marrying a Coblentz” list as a subcategory under interesting/unique foods and food combinations.

11 years ago
Reply to  Josh

Yeah, well, a Nisley might fold early. A Zook, on the other hand, is obstinate.

I want to see that list. I might have a few to add. Bruckle soup, anyone?

Rosanna H
11 years ago

Excellent piece!! Oh so true – forgiveness for being who (or who they thought) was the person they married.

Wendy Zook
11 years ago

Ahh . . . I think a good talk would be so good again! 🙂

I must say I keep coming back to read this post, so I can guffaw loudly over the line about forgiving him for being such a Zook. 🙂

11 years ago

“He has to forgive me for being-and not being- the woman he married.” Well said. This post is beautiful. Keep writing.

11 years ago

Loved this! The training wheels of initial infatuation, love as a bright and dark crazy-quilt patchwork, rents darned stronger, surface similarities with irreconcilable differences in family philosophy (and sometimes the humor therein), vows as strong cables pulling, all our eggs in this one basket, learning again to cherish, learning again to reverence….SO MUCH of life put into words here! Thank you!

11 years ago

A beautiful, funny post that describes marriage well! My favorite line is this: “The training wheels of initial infatuation age and break off, the habit of love holds you upright.” That’s such a good description! This whole post resonates with me.

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