45 Years On.
You get into a relationship with a man in your prime years. Soon it turns into something serious. You date and get married, say “I do” because you truly do. You are barely 18. You love him. You would like to spend the rest of your life with him. You are accepting him at his best and will keep him at his worst. You mean it when you promise to be with him for richer and for poorer. In sickness and in health.
|Mr. & Mrs. Murrey|
You start your life together. You fit into your new role as a wife pretty fast since you have your first child (a son) the following year. You are there for your young family. You are happy. He works. You are a housewife, which is work too. Immense work. You endeavour to take care of him, your home and your child. And the children keep coming. One after the other. Eight of them, they come. Some pregnancies are easy breezy. Others are a challenge. But you bear them all like the champ you are. With each birth come unsurpassed emotions of love. With each child, you experience elation that knows no bounds. You want more children, but the eighth pregnancy proves challenging. You realize that you have stretched your luck. Eight is ok. Eight is enough. You love the eight.
You take care of all of them. You change napkins more times than you care to count – diapers are not a word that exists in your vocabulary. You run after the children to contain them. You scold those who show signs of straying from your teachings. You crack the whip on your wayward brood more times than you can count. You love them all. You adore them even more.
Soon they start school and have to go to the city to get the good education that their father wants for them. You have to stay in the village and run your home. It kills you to be away from your children. You tough it out all the same. You do a spectacular job. A big beautiful house is constructed under your watch. It rises from the ground to tower intimidatingly at the other huts in your neighbourhood.
You tough out a lot more for your marriage to stand. You are taken for granted. You feel unappreciated. You remind yourself how it felt to be loved. You wonder whether he has forgotten how it was between the two of you. You wonder if he thinks about you. If he still loves you the same way he did when he married you.
You keep the faith.
He loves you. In his own imperfect way. He shows it. He takes you to travel around the world with him. You traverse the globe to countries you only saw in the map during your Geography lessons.
Years come and pass by. Retirement beckons. He comes home to you and you now spend every waking minute together. The children are all grown up. They are out there charting their own paths in life. They visit sometimes, but it’s only you and him now.
Then it hits you. You’ve been together for eons. During these years, you have argued. You surely have laughed. You have cried and made merry. Through the good times and the bad. Better, worse. Health, sickness. Births, deaths. Weddings, divorce. Success, failure. Bounty, scarcity.
It’s been a long stretch. So long that you don’t know where his life ends and where yours begins anymore. You are at this point entirely, completely, confusingly one. Your dreams, ideals, values collided so much over the years to eventually merge into one.
You understand his every need. You know his deepest secrets. His strengths, his weaknesses. You know what he’s feeling because you have studied his mannerisms to perfection. You know why he is quiet and withdrawn some days and why he bubbles with excitement on other days.
You look at him and wonder how you managed to stay together for all these years to remain standing. You wonder to what you owe this miracle where you have called him husband for so long, while he calls you wife.
You marvel at how you worked through marital problems and made a conscious decision to stay together at the end of it all. How you honored your leap of faith that resulted in you saying “I do” even without knowing what you were ‘doing’.
You wonder how your marriage stood the test of time.
Most of all, you wonder if he still remembers how it felt to fall in love with you for the first time. How it felt when he led you to the altar to declare to the world and to God that you were his chosen one, his wife.
Then he gathers his children together on the 3rdof August, 2014. He makes it known to them that today is a special day. He explains that it is special because it is the same day he married a beautiful girl 45 years ago. A very beautiful girl, he calls you. He remembers. This brings tears to your eyes.
45 years on, you still do. It’s you and him now till the end of time.
To my parents! To 45 years of marriage! To many more!