“But that’s NOT what I ASKED YOU! I just want you to answer the question I’m actually asking! ”
Even as the words came out of my mouth, my shoulders relaxed and I kind of smiled, mid-argument.
“My parents had this same argument all the time,” I explained to my puzzled husband who was probably wondering how I could go so quickly from fighting back angry tears to looking fond and amused.
Because of my parents’ example, I had several misconceptions on how married life would be. Like, doesn’t being married mean you always run errands together? I think I got a little insulted when my new husband suggested only one of us need run out to the store. Despite misunderstandings I brought with me based on my parents’ acting like they were high school sweethearts who needed to spend every waking moment together (though in retrospect, they probably just wanted a moment or two in the car alone to have an uninterrupted conversation; they had a lot of kids) – the underpinning of all of it was that they were in it, in life, in the trenches, together.
One thing I was not deceived about, though, was whether being angry meant the marriage was over. My parents could always argue heatedly. And it’s not all for show. Feelings are hurt, words are said. Real emotions have a place here. There is no fake smile dripping with resentment. This is a wonderful gift I received in my upbringing. You can’t buy that kind of security as a child: knowing that yes, there is complaining, arguing, yelling, but there’s also loving, feeding (always feeding!), caretaking, consideration and giving– and as long as there’s life, there’s always tomorrow.
The fact that Dave and I had the same argument as my parents gave me a chuckle before I was even done being mad. It reminded me how much two people can love each other despite their differences. Because today my beautiful parents celebrate forty years of marriage.
Thanks be to God for his grace in granting them two score years together. Thank you, Mom and Dad for being a shining example of true love, the kind you don’t learn about in a movie– the kind that is real and instructive.
Happy Fortieth Anniversary!