It seems like most couples get a “pass” during the first year of married life. This is the time when they simply get to know each other, spend time together, laugh, enjoy each other’s company. There are fewer responsibilities, and children haven’t entered the picture yet; the couple is free to discover and have fun. It’s the honeymoon period.
Our first six months of marriage, on the other hand, have been characterized by continual hospital visits. Shortly after our wedding, Mike’s mom was given a 30% chance to live, and had to undergo some very serious surgery. Marion’s dad then had open-heart surgery. Her grandmother had some heart problems that landed her in the hospital as well.
Every weekend was marked by a trip to a hospital, mostly to see Mike’s mother, who was the most critical of the three patients. Some weekends meant two hospital visits on each day. It was exhausting—mentally and physically.
But good news all around
The good news is that Mike’s mom beat the odds that the doctors gave her. The doctor who performed her surgery calls her “the miracle woman.” She recently returned home and has undergone lots of physical therapy. She now walks down both flights of stairs in her home. The doctors have even whispered the words “100% recovery” a few times.
Marion’s dad had two successful heart procedures and has fully recuperated. And Marion’s grandma was in the hospital but is now in a rehabilitation center. Marion knows that she must be feeling better because she’s been bragging about the great Italian food she’s been eating at the center. All such wonderful news and we’re very grateful.
Our homecoming weekend
So finally, just before Thanksgiving, we had our first full weekend together—just us. We were able to simply enjoy each other’s presence and not be “on the go” to one venue or another. We celebrated home. We rented some movies and snuggled together on the couch. Marion noted that even doing the laundry together was fun. We had time to be ourselves in our new (or now not-so-new) home. We were able to go on a “date” Saturday night to a new movie theatre and restaurant we had never explored. Marion finally had the chance to use our new waffle iron (a wedding present) and added a bit of romance to the morning meal by preparing a nice candlelit breakfast (doesn’t every meal need a bit of ambience?).
All about discovery
During the past six months, we’ve been forced to discover much more about each other. We needed to stretch ourselves in ways that we didn’t expect. We needed to be there for each other, to support one another during hard times. Listening, communicating, and understanding each other was a challenge. During tragic moments, we sometimes didn’t think clearly, misunderstood each other, failed to grasp what the other needed. Sometimes it was more important to just be present and not give advice.
Really this part of our honeymoon period was all about discovery. We now have grown stronger in our marriage and realized that our commitment to each other is one that can last through anything that comes our way. When we look back on our first six months together, this homecoming weekend is one we’ll remember as a celebration of that discovery.