I stood in my bedroom doing my makeup when I heard my parents across the hall in the bathroom. My father was groaning in immense pain and luckily my mother was there to help him.
I was a self-absorbed twenty-something at the time—bouncing back and forth between two men like a rubber ball.
But this moment between my parents struck me.
My father moaned. “It’s okay, Chris,” my mother said to him. “I’m here.”
That was the start of my father’s painful side effects from his prostate cancer years prior—something that would only get worse with time.
As I leaned toward the mirror, slipping mascara onto my lashes, I heard more grumbling from my father. I froze.
I was stuck in their moment with no place to go.
I heard a clank in the bathroom. A mess was made out of my father’s control. My mother would be the one to clean it up. “I’m so sorry,” my dad said.
“It’s okay, Chris,” my mom said. “I’m here.”
After I was done with my makeup, I sat on my bed with the door cracked open.
While I was nervous about my dad’s health, tears fell onto my jeans because I finally realized something—THIS is marriage.
Marriage isn’t found at the big wedding, the trendy date nights, or even hours spent together on the couch watching Netflix.
Marriage is found in the darkness—with one spouse helping the other during a time that would be humiliating to share with anyone else.
As young girls and boys, we watch movies and read stories about happy endings, blissful beginnings, and comedic in-betweens. But true romance is found when two people need each other, are vulnerable with one another, and can wholeheartedly depend on one another during the darkest times in life.
I sat on my bed, and at that moment, I decided to stop bouncing. I wanted my future to look like my parents’—imperfect but beautiful.
My parents’ marriage and my marriage have been full of dips and peaks, but witnessing the true love in their moment will forever keep reminding me that marriage is found in the toughest spots in life—even the bathroom.