Editor's note: This post by Ellen Parker originally appeared on her website, The Sweetwater Blog. It has been reprinted here with permission.
We were riding in the blown out bright light of an afternoon filtered through the dashboard on Sunday when my husband reached over to squeeze my hand. He spoke five words just for me; to be kept close to my heart. There I was being lulled to dreaminess by the humming of tires on interstate (I always call it a highway and he hates that). The sun was warm on my summer-tinted knees. Our three small people were preoccupied and quiet(ish). We were on our way to the beach.
We are a few months shy celebrating 13 years together. I remember when we were still newlyweds and I used to look in awe and wonder at women who were right here. I thought about how wise I would be. How seasoned. How much more I would have all of my stuff together.
The truth is I don't feel any wiser. I might have gained a smidge of wisdom. There's been a lot of life, yes, but I still flub and fudge and generally drop every ball I'm juggling on a regular basis. I don't get much right. Ever.
Here's another truth. Marriage is straight up hard. I don't say this to dishonor my husband. My part in how hard it is is mostly bigger than his. I say this because I'm hungry for voices that are honest about the battlefield that is the existence of being a present wife.
There will be days — seasons sometimes — when you think you might not be able to find middle to meet there. That's OK. You show up anyway. There will be days when you fight about the same thing you fought about yesterday. That's OK. You show up anyway. There will be days when you want to go down knuckle-baring about your way. That's OK. You show up anyway.
There will also be Sundays filled with sweet words and sunshine. There will be afternoons spent sitting together and dreaming. You will see year's-long tearful prayers be answered in sweet ways. There will be evenings at dinner when you can't think of anything you'd want more than a man who makes you laugh, who delights your children. You'll fall in love all over again over games of tag and tearful surrenders and tickle fights and stubborn apologies.
It isn't supposed to be easy. Easy is cheap. And if today is full of sweetness or full of just showing up, I'm reaching out my hand to you. It's the hardest and best fight you'll ever sign up for.