I haven’t been writing—for weeks now. And my escape of running has fallen by the wayside too, because I have a stress fracture in my foot. I’m the kind of person who needs an outlet, or I get depressed. I need to write my worries away, solve problems I don’t understand, or run to clear my mind.
My foot is almost healed, and it’s only been about a week and a half of no running. This makes me think it is/was a weak spot on my bone and not an actual fracture. Weak spot. I have a lot of weak spots in my life. I have a lot of times I don’t feel like enough. I hem and haw over the fact that I couldn’t be two places at once, that my house is dusty, and that my children’s nails are not trimmed. I worry they are growing up and I haven’t been present enough. I worry I’m not feeding enough love into my marriage. My marriage is a constant worry, because it represents companionship and love. Sometimes I think I take advantage of my husband’s good graces or take him for granted.
Thinking about the weak spot in my foot made me think about how sometimes we let weakness cripple us. We let those weak spots in our life fester, build up, and turn into a fracture. We let weaknesses in our marriage grow until they become raging gaps or chasms that cannot be crossed. We let weak spots define who we are.
Reading about stress fractures, I learned that often when the weak spot heals in your foot it is stronger than before. A revelation to me. Sometimes things have to break down before they can be made whole again. Marriages often cycle through weak spots before strengthening. I wonder how many people have left in a weak spot, when all they needed was a few dedicated weeks to heal.
A few years ago, my marriage broke down. We were not in a good place. We were both to blame for this breakdown. We both had selfish needs to fulfill. I left the marriage. I didn’t leave the house, but I explored my wants and desires. I started exercising a lot and taking myself away from the house, because being in the house was too tense and painful, and I couldn’t stand to look at my husband’s face. I spent time with friends, gallivanting around, and figuring out the me within. I was lost, but I didn’t know it. During this time, I felt strangely and hugely alive. I felt like I had awakened from a dream and realized the reality in which I lived was not the reality I wanted to be living.
My husband rallied his family and mine around him. He talked to them as I pushed myself further away. I felt alone, manipulated, and betrayed by the people I loved. I wanted more than anything for my family to stand behind me and to understand why I was hurting, but I don’t think they did. At first, I wallowed in the weak spot of my life. I was depressed and filled with hurt and rage. I wanted to make that weak spot deeper just to feel justified in my stance on my marriage. And slowly, through walking out and finding myself the weak spot began to heal. I began to see my husband’s point of view. I saw just how much we had been hurting each other. I told him it hurt me that he’d gone to my parents and tried to get them on his side. I understand now he was trying to save the family. I understand now that he was hurting, and didn’t see it as a betrayal. I told him it hurt me that he hadn’t told his mom and his family the whole truth about his actions.
But I chose to forgive and rebuild. And he chose to forgive me (I’m guessing, since we’re still married). And we began to rebuild by communicating. We began to rebuild by focusing on the good in our lives, instead of focusing on the bad. We built up the bone around the weak spot until the foundation was deeper and stronger than before.
I learned by finding myself that I can give of myself to my marriage even if I’m not always getting what I want. Marriage is, after all, a compromise. I realized how much my husband does for me and how much he does for my kids. I realized that no one is perfect, and I can’t ask that of him. I also realized that no one is a mind reader, and therefore making a marriage weaker by not communicating is certain to bring on a non-repairable fracture.
We are both human, and we both have wants and needs. Our wants won’t be entirely fulfilled by each other. That’s impossible. We still have bad days, and we will continue to have bad days as long as we stay together. No one’s marriage is perfect, but we can provide each other with companionship, warmth, love, respect, and someone to come home to.
I strive through my writing to find some inner piece of me, some weak spot, and try to fix it before it becomes a break too big to heal. Much like my marriage, my writing takes work. And I could not do that without the reinforced strength and bond of my marriage partner. We’ve been together fifteen years now and married for thirteen. I hope we have much more time to get to know each other, to let go of our hurt and our past, and to build a stronger foundation than the wobbly, weak spot where we were founded.
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