Relationships are difficult no matter who they’re with, even friendships. But somehow in the marriage relationship, we get caught up in lies as if we are the only ones struggling or failing in what should seemingly be the best relationship of our lives.
I was chatting with a friend tonight and the span of our conversation encompassed marriages that were brand new, 5 years old, 40 years, 50 years, and everywhere in between. And what a breath of fresh air it was to hear wisdom from decades of marriage. And to hear how we all have our struggles and how we’re all so similar as women and all so similar as men.
Even with the divorce rate at 50% and over, there are still marriages out there that aren’t perfect, but are still together. I mean, two imperfect people can never equal a perfect marriage, so why do we always assume there’s a fairy tale ending for all of us?
My husband jokes that he got married late because he wanted to skip to his second wife without marrying his first. In other words, he wanted to try to find the perfect wife. But am I?
Far from it.
In fact, I have annoying traits. I get frustrated and anxious. Sometimes too easily.
Every one of us possess anxieties, triggers, pet peeves, frustrations, and more.
No one ever said marriage was easy. In fact, it’s a fight to stay together so many days, a fight to make it work, a fight to love a person despite their imperfections…
… and a fight to admit what a blessing it is someone else love you despite our own imperfections and is willing to fight for you.
Marriage Lies We Readily Buy Into
That social media is a family’s complete reality.
Facebook is a highlight reel full of engagements, weddings, anniversaries, births, baby milestones, toddler quips, first days of school, family vacations, and holiday photos. And what a life it would be to only be those moments!
But I challenge you to see between the lines. Go beyond the marriage lies that tell you that you should be perfect because “look at everyone else’s life!”. Know that the moments on film or the moments transcribed for everyone to see are not the only moments in the life of a family.
In fact, our honeymoon was far from a fairy tale. It included arguments, sickness, and a failed attempt at sailing. But look at our photo album and you will only see 14 days of nothing but adventure, fun, and epic memories. And it was all of those things, but failure and frustration still followed us.
That no one else ever fights or argues.
You may not fight or scream at each other, but you may disagree. You may get frustrated and upset at your spouse because of something completely stupid… or maybe over something completely justified.
Regardless, you are not alone. Disagreements happen because as two people trying to live one life, opinions, preferences, and personalities come into play.
In fact, one of our biggest arguments is about how I typically don’t vocalize my needs. And unfortunately it’s a character flaw in me. I work on it, but I revert to the part of my personality that bottles emotions despite high, unvoiced expectations.
That other couples are either on the brink of divorce or perfectly compatible and there’s really no in between.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT OR OVER! Millions of people are fighting the good fight to stay together. Whether it’s for the kids, because they know it would be just as hard with someone else, they don’t want to be alone, divorce isn’t an options, or something else.
Sometimes it feels like the end of the world when a spouse commits your pet peeve of pet peeves. But does that make a marriage go from working to destroyed?
It’s illogical to think there are only two ends on the spectrum of marriage with no gray area, but the reality is most of us fall somewhere in between where we’re trying to make it work, are frustrated sometimes, giggling with each other at other times, and confused as to how the whole marriage thing really works.
That marriage is just about the kids when it gets hard.
Plain and simple, it’s not or it doesn’t have to be.
While some people do try to make it work because of these little beings that came into their lives, it’s a lie we tell ourselves that kids become the sole reason for a marriage to stay together. In fact, many times it’s when we put our children first 100% of the time that we typically lose sight of the marriage relationship and slip into the temptation to think we share nothing in common with our spouses.
Even couple without kids find a way to fight for their marriage because it’s a connection that goes much deeper than “just” a friendship or casual relationship that can be replaced.
That no one else has felt roommate syndrome.
It’s ok to admit that as a couple you feel like you’re living separate lives… that you come and you go each day without a meaningful connection. It’s a season of life that feels lonelier than being single and some days it’s hard to find common ground or a common topic to discuss.
I have had my husband tell me that he’s going to a movie by himself even when we hadn’t been on a date in over a year… and in some ways I feel like “well maybe that’s a good time to finish up my to-do list”.
That couples that are truly in love, enjoy spending every moment together.
We all have our hobbies, our interests, and our alone time and we should all value that.
And we all need our space.
In fact, rejuvenate your soul in complete calm and silence away from a single other person, and there is clarity. Indulge in moments away from each other to truly appreciate the moments together. It is true that distance makes the heart grow fonder, especially when applied in a healthy manner.
That marriage isn’t a daily commitment.
Stuff goes wrong and emotions run high. Bad days happen. The stresses of life pile on and bills, house work, and to do lists pile up.
But it IS a daily commitment to be married.
You know the little things that matter and the big ways you can meake or break their day. You wake up each morning and know your spouse would love to be greeted with a cup of coffee and you can choose to make it or not. You listen to your spouse’s stories and even frustrations and you choose how to react or respond that undermines or builds up.
What marriage lies do you struggle with?
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!