4 Years of Marriage

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For some, I suppose that will be thought-provoking - four years? already? wow, what a long time... For others, it's almost a laughable period of time. Four years? You still have no idea ... which is true, and I know it.

On the other hand, it is still four years, and if I managed to learn something in four years of college, I think I've learned a thing or two in four years of marriage.

Last Thursday was our anniversary. We took the day off, and travelled around Israel for the next three days.

First lesson: Israel is really, really small. And what with the temperments as they are, it's really, really, really small. We never drove more than an hour and a half to our destination, which is okay, spending all your time driving isn't necessarily fun either. The day trips were nice because we got a vacation without the hassle of the airports. Unlike Nathan's vacation, we feel like we really had a great, relaxing vacation. We went to a park that had converted natural pools into a water park (but still, much more nature, than 'park'). We went to an artist's colony (Sefat/Safed/Tsefat) north of the Galilee and had the best coffee I've ever had [that's saying a lot - I don't generally like coffee], we drove around the Galilee a bit (saw the Church of the Beatitudes, one of the loveliest (simple) churches I've ever seen), we visited Ziporri/Sephorris, a partially excavated Roman village - with an amazing aqueduct that we could go down and walk around in - breathtaking!! And then we'd go out and have yummy Asian food for dinner :-)

But beyond that, Mark and I have had a number of opportunities over this past year to really discuss and work on our marriage. I love that we work on our marriage. It feels like we're actually building this 'fortress of well-being' that can be a solid foundation for our future children, as well as ourselves. It also speaks of our willingness to grow, which is scary at times, but feels so good when you look back.

We just completed a marriage seminar with some other 'young' couples - married anywhere from 6 months to 10 years. There were discussion questions, meant for just the individual couple on each week's topic. It was a good way to bring up issues without it being confrontational - we were simply answering the questions. That helped us 1) realize we could, and should do this on our own and 2) discuss and work through some long standing issues. Ahhh, what a good feeling!

It also helped give me perspective on the quality of the marriage being a process, and that there are stages to marriage. What this means is that if something is difficult now, if you work through it, you're advancing, not just 'dealing with an issue'. It also means, to me, that there is nothing stagnant about marriage. It is dynamic, and the more we put into it, the more we get out. And the less we deal with stuff, perhaps because we don't want to rock the boat or some such idea, we're actually creating more tension instead of relieving it. Every issue has a solution, if we can be patient enough to work through it all the way to the end. That end is so delicious, too. The knowledge that I gain from those experiences, that can be somewhat painful as I go through them, is worth the effort. Because at that end, I know that we both understand one another better. We've had the opportunity to explain and explore our perspectives - usually our own exploration happens simultaneous to the explanation to the other - and come to a much better solution than the one we'd been limping along with.

We've started going through the Virtues Guide together. It's a book we'd like to incorporate into our children's lives, and we figured it'd help if we already had been working on it ourselves. We focus on a virtue a week (courage, helpfulness, love, etc.) - in our work, our play, and our marriage. And on Saturday evening, before we went back to work the next day, Mark asked me what we'd like to focus on this year for our marriage. I thought, "wow, what a great idea!" We haven't decided what yet... we'll see where that conversation takes us.

You know, before I got married, one of my priorities for a partner was someone who would help me be the better me. Help me even want to be a better me. This sort of stuff really makes me feel like I'm making progress.

And that I made the right choice, too. I love you, Mark, and I'm so happy we're spending eternity together.

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You touched me so much with this essay on your marriage!! I love you and Mark, you're one of the couples I look up to because you're real and you are working on it, and you're such good friends. Your vacation sounds like so much fun....Mara...sigh....when are we seeing each other for long periods of time? Last time was fun...Pizza and Ipod standup comedy and Mark taking photos of us. I love you. (you as in TOI and you as VOUS)

I love you, and we love you, too. :-)

And yes, we should definitely do stuff together again. I can't wait until you return to the Seat! (she's currently over in the ITC building, and, somehow, we never see each other!)

How about next Wednesday ... since we won't have photo class! And we can go out and take cool pictures and review them for ourselves :-)

I am so glad you two are married. Thank you for being part of my family. I love you both.

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on July 26, 2004 10:35 AM.

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