together & apart

marriage is so hard. there are bright moments and impossible darkness and so much grey in between that i often feel that we're doing it completely wrong. especially when i have so many single friends that just want to be in a relationship, i feel like such a fraud - sure, i got married young, and he hasn't left me yet, but... is this what everyone wants? pinning all your hopes and dreams and future on one other deeply flawed person? hoping every day that they don't break your heart and steal your money and crush your spirit? we've been in a good place the last few months - better than we've been in years, to be honest. and i know i'm a cynic and a scorpio because the longer things are okay, the more on edge i become, waiting for the other shoe to drop. he's been working non-stop, multiple jobs and not a second to spare, and it's bringing back so many memories and worries of times that this has happened before, and the damage and havoc it wreaks on our marriage. i will not survive another cycle of this.

with all of that in mind, i came to the cards. how can i stop the cycle? what can i do to strengthen our marriage? what am i missing? and oh, how the cards answered.

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1. what brings us together

ace of wands.  ace-of-wands one of the most energetic, exciting, dynamic cards in the deck, the ace of wands is about untapped potential, bursting life, limitless passion. aces are beginnings, wands are action, and fiery growth and energy just pours off of this card.

we've always been energetic and passionate, particularly at the beginning of our relationship - and our conversations always seemed to stimulate new ideas, inspiration, and creativity. even now, talking to him about whatever is on my mind always seems to spark fresh perspectives, and give me energy to seek something original. we are good for each other in that way, encouraging each other to push the envelope, be more dynamic and adventurous, and not be afraid of what lies ahead.

2. what pulls us apart

mother-of-wands

mother of wands. really fascinating to get another card from the suit of wands here - all that passion and energy can certainly backfire, and it does in our relationship. while this queen is strong and powerful, dynamic and energetic, fierce and proud, she is also a pretty scary adversary. she's a beautiful, passionate mother, but in this position it's almost like a reversed card - arrogant, stubborn, resentful, jealous, overbearing, selfish, and destructive, this card shows the worst parts of our marriage.

over the years all of that fiery energy has often driven us away from each other, pushed us to fight and scream and withdraw, and find new and exciting ways to hurt each other. we both struggle to be understood, but rather than offering each other kindness and compassion, we instead argue over who's made the most sacrifices, who's in the most pain, who works the hardest to make our marriage succeed. it's a vicious, ugly cycle.

3. what needs my (our) attention

six of cups. six-of-cupsa beautiful card with so many layers of meaning, these cups represent memories, nostalgia, and the roots in all of us. we've been married for seven years, and in that time have developed a strong shared history, for better or worse. this card encourages me to consider how far we've come, where we started, and how we got to where we are. we both have roots, both our personal life journeys as well as the roots we've put down as a couple, and all of them are important. it's critical for me to remember that he has plenty going on under the surfaces, emotions and stories and memories that have nothing to do with me but impact how he makes decisions and choices on a daily basis. the six of cups often calls us to practice kindness, particularly acts that do not demand any reciprocity. being kind for kindness' sake seems like excellent marriage advice.

additionally, this card can also point to being stuck in the past, dwelling on things that are no longer present. and wow, is that something i do. i constantly dwell on painful things that we've done to each other, every fight and threat of divorce, every time he didn't come home or drank too much or said something horrible, every time i ran away or tried to hurt myself or begged him to stay away from someone. i do think that prophecies can become self-fulfilling, and that by obsessing over our past i can inadvertently bring it into our present and our future. i think this card is telling me to remember the good in our shared history, the beautiful roots we've created, but to leave the painful things behind rather than continuing to dig them up.

what a lovely, insightful spread. i love that wands appeared in both our positive and negative present spaces - that fiery passion and adventurous dynamic that brings us together also has a tendency to push us apart. the energy and spark and enthusiasm that we can ignite in each other can burn out of control and consume us if we aren't careful. but by remembering the joy in our past, acknowledging our separate stories and pain, and resisting the urge to expose painful roots, we can find the pieces of our marriage that are still strong, and encourage them to grow.