It’s hard. And it’s wonderful. And it’s really hard.

Ten years into a marriage, I wouldn’t have it any other way

BRATTLEBORO — I'm going to talk a bit about marriage. If you haven't started rolling your eyes yet, just give me two minutes. Hang in there.

My husband and I are entering our 10th year of marriage. It does not get easier. It's a little like the sand in the bottom of your shoes at the end of a beach day: persistent and sometimes annoying - and mostly, a lovely reminder of that great day at the beach.

And then there's the changing. No one is ever done changing. As Michelangelo said at age 87, “Ancora imparo. [I am still learning.]”

We were 25 and 32.

We are now 35 and 42.

A lot of learning happens. A lot of changing happens. And yet, we're still here.

* * *

The thing about binding yourself in perpetuity to another is really the whole permanence of it.

Our generation is not one of sticking. We are into growing and changing. We are into development. We are into our kids - epically into our kids. We are not so much into ourselves.

We are not so much into each other. Therefore, we stick like those craft googly eyes to yarn: not very well.

Many of our parents divorced. Hey, we all turned out all right. It's true. We turned to Annie and The NeverEnding Story, and E.T.; the real-life stories of broken homes healed us. We found a way to be resilient.

And it worked because our parents were happier apart than they were together. We learned that if you cannot be happy in your own skin, you should never inhabit the skin of another.

And like elephants, we remember.

* * *

Marriage is hard. It's give and take, and mostly it feels like you're the one doing all the giving.

Of course, both parties feel this way. It's love and unrequited love, and both parties take turns feeling the pangs of rejection. It's the day-to-day with small children and nights when you want to talk, but then sleep wins. Because sleep always wins.

It's sex and no sex and not enough sex. The sex, it matters.

And it's hard. And it's wonderful. And it's really hard.

Then, there are times when you come to a crossroads. It's not about one thing. It's about all things. You look at that face you know so well and wonder if you really know it at all. You do a lot of wondering.

The changing is happening every moment. You have very little control over how you change and how you grow. You just do, and you expect the people you love to come with you.

Sometimes they don't. But sometimes they insist upon it.

I've only packed a bag once and meant it.

* * *

And yet, we're still here.

It's not perfect, and it never will be, but our marriage is really quite beautiful in its difficulty.

My husband and I had a standoff recently, a this-is-who-I-am versus I-might-not-like-who-you-are-becoming. It was intense, and there was no give.

Until then, there was give. Because someone gives instead of giving up.

It's part of the growing. It's not all synchronized swimming. It's bloody knees and stopping to help each other back up.

This is my marriage. It's ugly and beautiful and hard and, ultimately, perfect.

But it's never easy.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

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