**First, let me say that if you don't understand the title of this post then I demand you go out and rent (or totally just buy) The Princess Bride.

I was going to do another post about Lost, what with it being D-Day and all. Then I thought about my dear readers who maybe are not counting down the actual minutes to the show tonight. With that and the thought of all the Lost posts that will inevitably appear once the show starts, I got the ol' noodle crankin' and am going to take a crack at something else. Bear with me here. I'm not sure where it will go.

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately. Relationships and how they work. How we learn what to do in a relationship, what they mean, how we change and grow when we are involved. Marriage and relationships seems to be a reoccurring theme that has shown up in different places in my life recently.

When my amazing hubby and I first got together it was head-over-heels, movin'-too-fast, you're-the-one-for-me, bliss.

For a few months.

Then things got real. And for me, that meant things got scary.

All I ever knew was to "cut and run" when things got hairy. Because, in my eyes, a "good" relationship meant that you didn't fight. Fighting meant it wasn't a "good" relationship and that meant you ran away.

I grew up in a loving home. My dad and stepmom (Mom to me. Nothing "step" about it.) loved us (my brother and I) and did their best to raise us right. I honestly do not remember seeing them argue. I'm sure they did. With all my brother and I put them through, with all my biological mother put them through, I'm sure there was plenty reason to have a disagreement here and there. I don't remember seeing it. They had, in my mind, a "Donna Reed" marriage.

Flip the switch to the weekends I spent with the other set of parents. It's easy to be argument free when you're only dealing with kids on weekends here and there. At least, it's easy to appear argument free. But, that's not what I learned from her. The lesson I learned from my biological mother was that when things got tough, it was okay to run.

So, entering the first real and adult relationship of my life with expectations of blissful days and argument free nights, all the while carrying no real conflict tools, was a time bomb waiting to happen. Well, unless you count sarcasm as an argument tool. I mean, sarcasm counts, right?

What did I do?

I left.

What happened next?


Fate. (yes, I believe in it.)

Because my hubby was the only person I had ever dated that I remained friends with. Because we went our separate ways and lived through things that needed to happen to us. Because, in the end, I truly believe we end up with the person we are meant to be with. Because the first time around, it just wasn't the right time in our lives yet.

Because of that, two years later we were back together.

And it's been five years, almost one year of marriage, two kids, countless obstacles that life has thrown at us and all the other wonderfulness in between.

I've changed a lot. I've gained some fairly decent conflict tools. Sarcasm still counts, right? I've learned to trust, to love, to care, to stay.

Though, the credit really goes to my hubby.

He came along for the ride. He held me back when everything inside me was saying "cut and run". He changed with me. He grew with me. And together, we allowed our relationship to grow, sometimes without even knowing it.

There were times that I really thought things were over. Petty fights about the stupidest of things sent me into spirals of grief over the relationship that I was sure wouldn't last. Because, I didn't know any better.

But, we learned together. We learned how to trust together. We learned how to let it all go and give ourselves up to the scary thought that is "forever".

Don't get me wrong. I still slip. I get mad over things that I am ashamed of later. I make a huge deal out of things that would be ridiculous even to a 6th grade girl. But, I've learned how to let it go. I've learned how to talk it out. I've learned that it doesn't mean the end of our relationship. I've learned that every time we argue and then get over it we are one step closer to each other. I've learned to love those pits of life as much as I love the mountaintops.

I've also learned that as much as I love my memories of the "Donna Reed" marriage I grew up with, I want my kids to see some of the conflict. Why? Because I want them to see the resolution. I feel an intense need to teach my children that disagreement is perfectly fine and there are healthy ways to get through it. Do they need to see every fight? No, certainly not. Just as they certainly don't need to see the really fun resolving! But, I just know that I don't want to send them into the harsh world of relationships without showing them the realities, the grumblings and the apologies that completely go along with the smiles, hugs and love.

Because, like a very smart blogger I read said recently, the ups and downs are why people ride the roller coaster. And she's totally right. Those naive visions of the "Donna Reed" marriage or the "cut and run" lifestyle will only get you so far. Once I realized what true love was...once I realized I had found it...I was ready for my lifetime pass to the roller coaster...and the puking that sometimes goes along with it.