The other day, my husband and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance from college.
“You know they’re getting a divorce, right? I saw posts about their separation on Facebook,” Aaron said.
My heart sank, as it always does when I hear news of a marriage dissolving. My sadness is always joined by a jolt of fear.
“Do you think,” I began slowly. “That some marriages are just doomed to failure? Or do you think anyone can make it work?”
“Yeah, I think some marriages are doomed,” my husband said. “But that’s because most people are selfish. They want what they want. People start going in their own direction and don’t think about the other person. Pretty soon, their lives just don’t match up anymore. They’re too set in their own path, too rigid. For a marriage to work, really work, you have to bend.”
I thought about our own marriage, our 10 years of living and loving and arguing and paying bills together, of raising children and worrying about the future, of staying put because that’s what I wanted.
I said “no” to his dream of going into the military for many, many years.
When I asked my husband, “can anyone make it work?” the underlying question was, of course, “Are we making it work? Is our marriage one for the ages, or doomed to failure, like so many other marriages?”
In many ways, I have been the rigid one, saying “no” year after year.
My husband could have been rigid too. He could have shrugged his shoulders, rolled his eyes, emailed the recruiter, and demanded that I “submit” like a good Christian wife.
But a good husband loves, never demands. He made a vow on our wedding day and he makes a decision every day to keep in step with that vow. To him, our marriage, us, me, we’re worth more than his dream of going into the military.
In order to make our marriage work, he patiently bent in my direction.
But when one spouse is rigid, neither partner is going anywhere fast, at least not together.
My husband was stuck, and I was part of the equation.
He wanted to pursue at military career, but he wasn’t going to move until I was ready.
It’s difficult, to unstick yourself, to let go of selfishness, to bend in a fearful, new direction. But once I said, “yes, let’s do it” we started moving forward, together.
My husband has been accepted as an Officer Candidate in the Air Force but our military adventure is just beginning—there’s a whole lot more bending that is going to happen in the future, especially for me.
The bending isn’t always equal.
That’s not how marriage works.
But I do know that if any marriage is going to work, to last a lifetime, both people have to be moving in the same direction. And if one person isn’t moving at the moment, the other partner has to wait until their beloved says, “Ok, I’m ready.”
My marriage, like so many other marriages, is complex. My husband and I constantly battle our own selfishness, but we’re learning to walk this road together.
We’re learning, day by day, that True Love Bends.
Have you bent for your beloved?
Has someone you loved bent for you?
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Want to read more of The Story of How I became a Military Wife?
Part 1: The Day I stopped Crushing my Husband’s Dreams
Part 2: You don’t know until you try
Part 3: Three Percent
Part 4: True Love Bends