For Better or Worse
by Joy Campbell
Marriage is a life long commitment. Many in the world – I would probably say most except I have never formally researched it – use it as a base on which to build a relationship. I have friends who were having trouble in their relationships who then had the bright idea, if we get married, it will all work out. I have some friends who married simply because they became pregnant, and yet others who said ‘I do’ because it was expected of them, or because they didn’t want to grow old alone. Personally, I think all of these reasons could be labeled as excuses.
I was married at the age of eighteen, pregnant by nineteen. We dated for one year before marrying, and though my friends insisted he was no good for me, I followed my heart. Thirteen years and four children later, I am still happily married to the love of my life. Impossible, some say. To be honest, perhaps ten percent of the friends and family who attended my wedding truly believed it would work out for us. The other ninety percent had a great time at the dance.
This is not to say the road was easy—far from it. The difference is that we never gave up on each other. I gave up on myself plenty of times. I struggled with post partum depression between each child, and as a result, clinical depression by the time I was twenty-four. There were times, when the depression had control, that I would beat myself up (it’s really not as hard as it sounds), I would scream and rip at my hair as though it was an evil force I could somehow vanquish by pulling it out. It was a time in my life I am completely ashamed of.
I remember once, after a hard day of screaming babies and housework with no end, I begged my husband to leave me. I was thoroughly convinced I could never be a proper wife or a good mother. I begged him with all of my heart to find a woman who could supply him with what he needed in a wife. As you have probably guessed, our bedroom life at the time was nonexistent and I felt he deserved more. Much more.
It was then that he sank to his knees in front of me, held my hands tenderly, and repeated the words which had first sealed our union twelve years prior.
“I will love you until the end of time. There is nothing in my life worth having if you are not in it. I give you this ring as a reminder to you, every day of our lives, I will be there for you when you need me, I will share in your joys as well as your pain, and I give my solemn vow that no matter how rocky the road becomes, no matter how many obstacles must be overcome, I will be there and we will climb them together.”
It wasn’t until that moment in time when I finally realized he had been completely serious on our wedding day. It was also then when I realized that no matter how hard I pushed, he would still be there. The road we have travelled since that day has not been an easy one; in fact, there were a few years when I was convinced I hated him because of his commitment. However, I have learned that marriage is not easy, nor always perfect, but when you have found that special someone, he or she will truly love you ‘for better or for worse’.