I bought this ornament for Steve in 2002. I know this, because 2002 is written in black Sharpie on the back.
It is 2014.
That means I gave this to Steve twelve years ago.
Twelve years ago, we had been married for ten years.
It didn’t feel like we were soul mates back then. I know this, because we started working on our stuff eight years ago, and it certainly wasn’t feeling very soulmate-ish at that point! It was feeling more like yoke-fellows, camp counselors, teammates, boarding house operators, partners in crime.
What were feelings, anyway?
Eight years ago, we had been married for fourteen years.
And by started working on our stuff I mean taking the first tiptoes into healthier emotional places with our seven children in tow.
We didn’t really start working until sometime after that, and then, mostly individually. We still have a lot of couple work to do.
So how could I get Steve a Soul Mates ornament in 2002?
I had hope. I had faith. I was committed to trying.
I deeply desired to be whatever “soulmates” is, which, I think might be kind of over-rated and over-used.
I married a good man. A good, broken, messed-up man. A hilariously funny, completely creative, extroverted mess of a man.
He married a broken-down mess of a girl. A nightmare disguised as a daydream to quote from current pop culture.
I think that might qualify us as soulmates in the fine print.
Those who know us in real life may or may not be surprised to find that we have struggles. Really big struggles. We try not to keep that a surprise and to just let people know that we do.
In the midst of the laughter and the weekends away and the coffee dates and the facebook updates, there is heartache and disillusionment and disappointment and pain.
We hurt each other.
We are hurt by each other.
We annoy each other.
We are annoyed by each other.
We shut down.
We keep trying.
One day we will no longer see through a glass darkly and will be able to rejoice in what really IS. Until then we are choosing to live together and to love together and to walk together into the dark, rainy messy places where there is beauty reflected in the broken. Together.
I love mine.