Hi Meltingpot Readers,
Last week a friend of mine reached out for help. She and her husband were struggling and things had taken a turn for the worse. It wasn’t specifically to me that my friend turned to, but rather, to our book club. We’re a group that gathers quarterly to discuss our favorite books, eat and gossip. We range in age, race, religion and life experience, but we all have a love of great literature. While we only see each other in person four times a year, we keep in touch through the magic of the Internet.
When my friend, let’s call her Sharon, sent out her SOS, it didn’t take long for the rest of us to respond. First with online support and soon after, with an impromptu gathering at my home. And when I say impromptu, I mean folks dropped what they were doing on a Sunday afternoon, grabbed whatever snacks they had stashed in a cupboard and arrived on my front door. For my part, I rushed around my house trying to figure how to clean my dining room, make tea and snacks and wipe all the surfaces in the bathroom before anyone arrived. I was throwing garbage in closets, hiding dirty dishes in the fridge and using baby wipes to clean the toilet. But then my first guest arrived and told me to relax, that we all have kids and dirty houses and not enough time for any of it and nobody cared. And she was right. This meeting was about helping Sharon, not critiquing my housekeeping skills. When our last member arrived, panting, hair dripping wet and in her PJs because she’d just gotten out of the shower when she saw the message that we were meeting, I felt infinitely better. Appearances were not the issue, it was about showing up for support and love.
Our gathering lasted over two hours. We laughed and cried, ate fresh papaya and stale popcorn. We all shared stories and advice, prayers and testimonials that this too would pass. At the end of it all, I think we all felt better about our marriages, ourselves and the power of sharing our experiences. I know I did. Marriage is hard. Really, really hard. Even when you have all of the right ingredients, it still takes a watchful eye and a lot of work to make sure everything stays fresh and healthy. I felt such a sense of relief to hear that all of the women in our group struggled with their marriages, that some of the things I have done or thought or said, have been uttered in other homes as well. Sharon left knowing she had a hard road ahead, but she was smiling and she knew we would be there for her.
Even though my group meets to talk about books, I was thinking we should maybe schedule time to do marriage check-ups as well. Marriage may be a contract between two people, but it takes a village, or at least a really compassionate book club to save them and keep them whole.
What’s your secret to a lasting marriage, dear readers? I’m totally listening and taking notes.