My husband revealed the other day that the lockdown made him realize how he is actually looking forward to the time when we are both retired and can spend more time together.

“What do you mean?” – I remember asking, almost wanting to cry “Did you not trust we’d be just fine?”

He told me that in his experience when people retire they’d often go separate ways.

Even when they have the freedom to go off and do things together, boredom and resentment will start creeping in.

What felt special & “forever” suddenly feels like a prison, so even the most weathered couples will call it a day.

He worried that perhaps even us, despite our love & devotion for each other, would not escape “the retirement curse.”

But as the lockdown finally eases down, apparently we’ll prove the stats wrong.

Nine years ago my husband & I made vows to stick together through thick & thin.

I don’t think anyone could have prepared us for 2020.

Books don’t tell you what to do when a pandemic strikes and your Monday mornings end up looking like Saturday night.

They don’t tell you how suddenly there is no mystery left and you are just there, completely exposed..

Nowhere to hide.

At least, that’s how I felt these last 4 months.

For when you are not forced to be with the other person the whole time, you can actually disguise your flaws and insecurities.

You can pretend they are not there., hide them somewhere, or go for a walk.

You don’t have to show up every day pretending you’ve got everything in check.

In fact if you are having a bad day, you can just blame it onto your boss, the people on the bus, or the tax man.

I sometimes felt exposed and vulnerable during the lockdown.

And I really did not want my husband to see me like this.

I didn’t want to explain what was happening within me: the sheer terror , the sense of loss, the anger.

To be fair, I actually had no words for it anyway.

I know this to be true for him also.

We both experienced all sorts of emotions especially at the beginning, and even more so towards the end.

The only thing we could do, was to hold on tighter to each other.

We saw how talking often made us feel worse, so we let silence speak instead.

And we had wine.

Loads of it.

So here is what I realized during our time together: often the thing that makes us feel uneasy about the other, is the very thing we are yet to heal in ourselves.

When you see that, you’ll either run away or you’ll stay and heal together.

You feel like fleeing because either the pain is still to much or you don’t trust you can actually change things.

If you stay you will have to accept that you cannot do the work for the other.

Even when both partners are willing to heal & walk together, they each will have to honor the other’s pace.

And that is the very hard part.

We have a very romantic idea of love, for we think that walking together means happily strolling along, holding hands.

I have come to see how “through thick & thin” looks more like a relay race instead.

You may often have to wait for your significant other to arrive and hand the baton over.

The respect, trust, & devotion are in the waiting & how you remind each other of the finish line over & over again.

And so it is,

Antonia Lyons

 

 

 

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