On the night that Phyllis died she lay in her hospital bed reading a Reader's Digest. The article she'd been reading was about how to make a marriage last.

She was hours away from her own passing, but she was reading tips about how to honor her marriage in order to make it last.

Her example of grace is not lost on me.

I have been with my husband for a dozen years. We have born children and our life together has been very full and rich at times. There have also been long passages of time that have been angry and resentful and quite separate.

In this lonely and separate place I found a circle of women with whom I seek counsel and strength. My relationship with my own mother has become one of my proudest achievements. However, my relationship with my husband is still fraught with challenges. He is almost as stubborn as I am. He is passionate about his place on this planet and his responsibility not to piss his time here away. He is the only man I ever want to raise children with. He is engaged and thoughtful and kind and compassionate. He is present with our children in a way that I rarely see in the husbands of many of my peers. He reminds me of my father, but slower and more earthy, with fewer guns.

But this marriage thing - it can be relentless. It can be so hard and so lonely. My most terrified moments have been when I could not imagine going on in the marriage, and could not imagine going on without it. (This is not how I've been feeling lately or for quite some time, but my memory is strong of the despair I felt then.)

So I've been sitting with this lesson from Phyllis. Take care of your marriage. Be mindful of it. I've been letting it resonate. Letting it fill me. And I take with me one more lesson from this woman I loved who I do not get to see or hear anymore.

My marriage is my responsibility. Every single day. I can choose to care for it or I can be lazy. And my laziness may come at a very high price.

Today I brought my husband coffee from his favorite coffee shop and I kissed him on the mouth and told him that I know that I am so blessed to be able to love him. And today my eyes are open to that fact.

Thank you, Phyllis.


Wifey said...

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this today. Thank you.

Sugar said...

Thanks for your raw openness... You described your husband as a man who was responsible enough not to piss away his life... for that I am envious.

Angela said...

My husband is in Philadelphia for five days. After reading this, I'm missing the hell out of him.

Tammy said...

And it is so easy to slip into laziness when managing a young family together. Thank you for the eloquent reminder. You are absolutely right.

Lara said...

i can't wait to have that kind of responsibility some day. :)

Erica said...

Thanks you guys. Feeling the love.

Kristen said...

I am in awe of your blog. Your writing is so honest and raw. I love it. Thanks for sharing so deeply with us!