How do you know your marriage is good?
Passionately and deeply in love? Want to spend all your waking and sleeping hours with that one person? Enjoying today, together but planning for tomorrow? Moving in, setting up a joint bank account and sharing the day-to-day tasks of living?
Every one of these could indicate a strong relationship, a good marriage. Anyone of them could also be just a symptom of what looks like a good marriage.
The first time one of you makes a bad decision, you’ll get a look at what underpins your marriage. Lose the savings account on a bad investment and watch the argument rip from money to control and back again. Or make a bad choice morally – just once and it didn’t really mean anything. But your partner may not be able to bridge the gap between the before and the after.
The truth is anyone can have a “good” marriage when things are going well. The acid test only happens when things go badly.
Sometimes, bad choices can make or break your marriage depending on how you and your beloved handle it. But what happens when no one makes a choice but both of you have to live with the consequences?
What happens when one of you gets sick? I don’t mean a head cold or the flu. I mean sick unto death. In our case, it was cancer. Will you run or will you stay?
It has been 10 years since our journey began, 10 years of chemo therapy, surgery, hospitalization after hospitalization. Sitting here, reading my journal from the days when I thought, we both thought, that treatment would be fast, surgery would finish it, tears are streaming down my face. What happened to my husband, to us, still cuts to the bone. Our loss runs deep and wide. Our sorrow is endless.
But our marriage not only survived, it got stronger with every treatment, every surgery, every hospitalization.
Since he was diagnosed with cancer, my husband and I have spent every vacation, every year, in that very expensive resort with very small rooms, a single bed and terrible food. Hitting 34 hospitalizations in this, the 10th anniversary of our relationship with cancer, we are closer together than ever, enjoy each others company over that of almost anyone we know and wish only for one thing, at least another 10 year of whatever life has to throw at us.
It seems ours is a good marriage.