My husband and I celebrated ten years of marriage in October — an impressive feat in any year — but, this year feels especially triumphant, considering how difficult these past several months of staying home, schools closing, job uncertainty and more have been on us and so many other couples.
This pandemic has pushed many marriages to the brink, and indeed, we know a few couples whose unions are already dissolved or soon will be.
Then, of course, there are those high-profile splits, including that of self-proclaimed life coach, Rachel Hollis, that have left us disillusioned over what exactly makes a lasting marriage.
Did these couples fall suddenly out of love? Or, were there deeper issues uprooted by the challenges imposed by an unprecedented pandemic?
I wonder why other couples are struggling, while my husband and I, so far any way, have come through this mostly unscathed.
More than unscathed, I would argue or relationship has strengthened and evolved, as if the shared experience of going through hardship together has forged a greater bond.
Of course, “hardship,” is relative, and our circumstances no doubt enabled us to survive this better than others.
To start, my husband and I were already used to being home together long before the new Coronavirus shut everything down.
My husband has been working remotely since 2011, traveling only for business trips and client meetings, while I left my office job in 2013.
Those seven-plus years have included working all while trying to keep young children quiet enough to allow us to get things done. Maybe now you know how to feed a baby and take a work call simultaneously, but my husband was mastering this seven years ago.
Fast forward to March 2020 and both of our children would now be home with us full time, we knew going in that it would take a lot of team work to manage remote learning, maintain a peaceful home, and support one another through this.
The support and understanding of my husband’s colleagues and superiors — many of whom were dealing with the exact same issues we were — was also beneficial in our efforts to keep some sense of sanity under our roof.
And, we were fortunate, as millions of others were laid off or experiencing employment uncertainty, that my husband was able to receive a steady income throughout one of the worst economic crisis in American history.
Without the stress over whether we would be able to keep a roof over our head, feed our children or pay our medical bills, we could focus on our marriage, while also helping our children, particularly our oldest son, whose anxiety skyrocketed during the earlier months of the shut down, as well as each other cope with our own mental health.
There were hard times, but I would be remiss, if I didn’t acknowledge how lucky we were to have so many of our basic needs met, and how, without that safety net, our marriage may very well reached its breaking point.
Yet, marriages fail all the time, regardless of how well a couple is doing financially, and plenty of unions survive — even thrive — under the most difficult of circumstances.
What makes ours so “special?” What are we doing that is so much better or more profound than any other couple out there trying to hold it together while the world is falling apart?
I have no idea.
Really, no idea.
Some days I go to bed wondering how neither my husband and I, after spending all these months in the same home together with our kids (and thankfully a large enough one where we can give each other space), have never decided to hop in the car and drive off into the night, though I would be lying if the thought hasn’t crossed either of our minds.
But, jokes about fantasizing about a dream life on some remote island, my husband and I are in this together. And that, perhaps more than anything else, is what has kept us going throughout this clusterfuck of a year.
Instead of imploding under the weight of 2020, we forged its hardships into a rock that has lifted us up.
We provide each other with a listening ear and physical affection, as even a simple hug and acknowledgement of what the other is going through can make all the difference, but we also understand the need to provide one another with the literal and figurative space to work things out on our own.
We also laugh. A lot. While we take seriously the issues facing society, we try to find the humor in the absolute ridiculousness of this year.
We are lucky our kids are pretty hilarious, themselves, and the random things they say keeps us smiling even when the world seems scarier than ever.
And having the kids back in school (mostly) full time helps. If they get sent home again, I just might make a run for it.