Marriage and Hard Work


On purpose, the title isn’t “marriage is hard work.” It can be, but that’s not what this post is about.

Instead, it is about doing hard work with your spouse, which is what we, Jonathan and Rebecca, have been doing an awful lot of lately.

This has been a banner week for the Moodys. Aside from SCOTUS putting huge smiles on our faces (and happy tears in our eyes) which actually makes this last week one of the best ever, we’ve had lots of frustrating news.

First, as we were headed out to celebrate our 4th anniversary (yay!), we discovered a sick but simultaneously cocky raccoon sitting on our roof, strutting like he owned the place. So we had to call a raccoon catcher. Apparently, our raccoon made a home for himself in our attic while we were on vacation, resulting in three large cracks in our ceiling. One of these is substantial enough that according to the raccoon restoration peeps, the entire ceiling in Edmond’s room has to be taken out and replaced. BLEGH.

Second, a chicken got attacked by something, possibly just another chicken, and now has a comb that is hanging by a (figurative) thread. If this chicken survives, we’ll start calling her Nearly Headless Chick. She’s grotesque looking but she’s hanging in there, with some meds and special attention. Yuck and uck.

Third, a cheery electrician today out to give us a quote looked at our tiny house’s siding and asked, “Y’all know that’s upside down, right?” Ummmmm…. ARGH! Huge forehead smack on both our parts. Yes, we installed the tiny house siding upside down. Inside out, too, truth be told. So that sets us back a couple days at least.

So this week has not been the best. We’re totally exhausted. We’ve got scratches and bruises and swollen hands and aching backs, etc, etc. You get the picture.

The silver lining though (I guess I always look for these), is that we’re feeling more married and closer than ever. It has something to do with working hard towards a common goal, making sacrifices for our family. There’s nothing very romantic about sweating and smelling and being doused in bug spray and having frizzy hair from the humidity and all, except than when I look at my husband I have such admiration for the guy and how hard he’s working for me and our son and our future. And he feels the same about me.

It has me thinking a bit about what the American family looked like when we were a more agrarian society. I’m not suggesting we should go back to those days (again, yay, SCOTUS!), but I am wondering if there isn’t something to be gained from working hard with your spouse and your kids. When more Americans worked at family farms and family businesses, each day was an exercise in team work, in accomplishing common goals so each family could thrive.

I think this extended beyond marriage to include families and friends as well, and that’s been our experience lately. Our parents, my Aunt Baba, our brothers, and close friends have all pitched in tremendously to help us with this insane project, and I love it. Not just because we are benefiting from it (which, we obviously are), but because it is an opportunity to work hard with people we love. I hope they all call on us to return these favors. We want to work hard for them.

That’s all I have to say on this I guess. That I’m loving working hard, and especially, working hard with the man I love, that it feels good to be invested in work together because our present and our future feel more united than ever.

I think I’ll wait till I’ve been married longer to pretend like I’m qualified to give advice, but I will say that if I was asked to give one tip for having a happy marriage it would be “love is a verb,” which I think you take two ways, and I mean them both.  And then if I was asked for a second tip, I’d say work hard together, not at your marriage, specifically, but at this wild and wonderful life you share.

I’ll close with a poem I wrote when I was sixteen or seventeen. It’s been on my mind lately. Forgive its flaws.

“The Wheat Farmer”

we have hollowed out this niche,
bearing our children upon our backs
to place our fate within the
golden stalks, waves on the earth,
to be crushed, and ground,
de-stemmed and de-stalked,
to finite white chalk.

my girl is brown, and earthen;
my son, a willow wisp of fragile limbs.
stretched and bowed;
they shoot across the earth in the early morning,
holding in their palms the stains of black(andhuckle)berry.

we toil.
our skin is spotted,
and our hands are stained red
with blisters from the plow.
when they are down in bed,
we are still awake and praying,
for sun tomorrow,
for rain in summer,
for a harvest in fall
of the gold, which
seems to elude us.


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