Once upon a time, there were two young folks...kids, really....who embarked upon a journey together, one quite common to the human race. Marriage.
Now, these two kids were adorable. They knew their marriage would be different, special, so much better than the other commonplace marriages all around. Arguing? Wouldn't happen. Financial woes? Not a chance. Figuring out how to have a healthy sex life? Not a problem. They were prepared. They had read all of the books. They had this thing nailed down.
Their expectations of such a union lasted about as long as it took them to get into the getaway car post-wedding ceremony. Their honeymoon was lovely, but imperfect and not the stuff of fairytales which, come to think of it, ended before the honeymoon ever began. Their first year of life together in that tiny apartment with the rowdy college neighbors and the dusty pink carpeting was, yes, full of happiness, but it also bore tears and rejection and fear and mistakes.
In the years to follow, during moments of sadness and hurt and disillusionment, they assumed they'd failed. After all, marriage wasn't supposed to be this way. There was a standard, and the two of them had woefully missed that mark.
Except they hadn't. It turned out that marriage was exactly supposed to be that way. It was, as they discovered, a union of two humans: Two individuals with different ideas and tastes and baggage and families and hormones and hearts. Two very human people walking together on a long road over many years; and those two people would change so much over that journey that they'd resemble their foolish young selves in very little ways after awhile.
It turned out that this marriage road, with all of the steep climbs and the hidden holes and the lovely vistas was never supposed to be a flat, smooth trail. It was, instead, meant to be an adventure where the one who happened to be ahead on the path would stop and wait for the other and the one who happened to be stronger in the moment would reach out a hand to the one who was weaker in the moment, knowing that she would need the same familiar hand to pull her to her feet further down the road.
If I could travel back in time and talk to those two young kids, so idealistic and optimistic at the start of the trail, I wouldn't lecture them about the dangers ahead. They would be too full of light and hope to even take in any of my wise words anyway. Instead, I would give them water and a smile and tell them about the places of rest along the way. They would stare at me blankly, not comprehending the need for such a stop but, when they found themselves exhausted and foot-sore, they would remember. And sit. And gather their breath for the climb ahead. Together.