Marriage is hard guys. No one who’s been in it for more than a couple of months is going to tell you differently.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love being married. I married young, and haven’t (really) regretted it once. But the marriage and the life that I have today is very different from the one I would have envisioned when we walked down the aisle and exchanged rings of gold almost five years ago. Especially considering the events of the last six months…
I had a breakdown in April. After months of mood swings and panic attacks, depressions so deep and dark that suicide seemed like the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel, and days spent hiding out in the bathroom at work to cry, or vomit, as needed, I finally accepted that something had to change. I quit my high-stress, well-paying job. My family doctor recognized how seriously ill I was, and referred me to a psychiatrist.
I was unemployed and broken. My self-esteem was shot. And soon I had a name for the monster inside of my head: Bipolar Disorder.
I felt like a burden of a wife. I felt like I had pulled a terrible con on the man I loved; I thought that had he known how defective I was from the start, he would never have married me. I felt like a monster. Suddenly instead of plucky Jane Eyre, I was the terrifying wife in the attic that eventually burns the house down.
But my husband did something amazing. He loved me. He accepted me. He held my hand when it all felt like too much. And, on my good days, he helped me live life to the fullest. He never judged me when I was too depressed to move for days at a time, or when mania took hold and suddenly all of the furniture in the house was rearranged by the time he returned from work.
He did admit that things had changed. He did admit that he too had pictured something different for this stage of our life. But he also did everything he could to make me understand that I was not alone. That whatever my life was going to be, he was going to live his right alongside me.
With medications and therapy I’m starting to do a lot better now. But it is an uphill battle, and one that I am likely to be fighting to some degree for the rest of my life.
We went for a drive the other night, up a mountain road to a beautiful look-out. I looked my husband in the eyes and told him I loved him. I thanked him for all he had done over the last several months, and I gave him a new wedding ring.
This one is silicone, and I have one to match. They are flexible, as we now know that we have to be every day in a marriage. The are comfortable, as marriage should be. And most importantly, they never have to leave our fingers; whether we are at work or at play, they can survive it all.
I still have my original gold wedding band, but my silicone ring now seems so much more of a real representation of marriage to me.