Wifeys and Gentlemen,
Marriage is hard.
Before I made the decision to get married, I honestly wanted nothing to do with it. I was going through a really rough break up (the last of the 3 significant ones in my life) and I had this strange sense of calm that came over me. In a weird way, my brain had rationalized that the concept of long-lasting monogamy was a lot like a great, vintage dress. You know? Like when you see a girl on the subway wearing one so you go to the store to buy one for yourself, but every time you put it on and look in the mirror, you realize that it just doesn’t look as good on you. In fact, you start to suspect that the dress doesn’t really look all that great on a lot of people. You envy those lucky few who get to parade around care free in an outfit you wish you had the ‘flare’ to pull off, and you end up throwing it in the trash or donating it to Goodwill.
Okay, so maybe that was a lame analogy, but I think you get my point.
I know that some of you might think that I’ve always been the way I am today; a merry ray of optimistic sunshine who believes in true love and commitment. The truth is, when I say that I completely understand those of you out there who are bitter, worried, lonely, and/or scared, I mean it. I completely and totally understand. I understand because I’ve been there myself, and even though I am lucky enough to spend every day with the love of my life, there are moments where I go back to that place; a place where I question if monogamy is real, if anything really lasts.
If it is one thing I’ve learned this past 6 months, it’s that marriage is not a cure all for any of the above. I didn’t wake up the day after my wedding feeling like every problem I had, every insecurity just suddenly didn’t matter anymore. Honestly, I never once thought I’d feel like that, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the fairytale of it all, you know? Our society sends very confusing messages about what it means to be committed; even our own friends and family do their part to contribute to the unrealistic image of true love. I’m guilty of this as well. We’re taught that if it isn’t always happy, exciting, fresh, romantic, and new, it’s not worth having.
Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, this is not one of those “we’ve decided to separate” notifications like I’ve been seeing all over my Facebook timeline these days. I didn’t decide to write this post because my husband and I have fallen on hard times. I promise, he’s just as wonderful as the day we met (& I hope I am too).
When I say marriage is hard, I speak from a place of reflection, not just on my relationship but the state of marriage and love overall. As I just mentioned, I have literally (yes, I mean literally) seen 4 different “announcements” in the past 2 months from couples informing the world that they have decided to “walk away from” or “take a break from” their marriage/long term relationship. As someone who doesn’t believe in divorce, I have been alarmed and kind of bummed out by it & occasionally, that bummer turns into genuine irritation.
Never mind the fact that I will never understand why anyone would feel it necessary to announce their divorce or separation on social media (seriously ya’ll, get your life), but the bigger issue for me is constantly wondering how people who have been together for several years (I mean 5 and up) suddenly decide to call it quits. I mean, how? What changed after 5, 10, or 20 years to make you say it’s done?
Please don’t think that I am being judgmental. I know as well as anyone that there are LOTS of good reasons to get divorced. When I say I don’t believe in divorce, it doesn’t change my belief that people are welcome to do whatever works for them and it doesn’t mean that when I meet someone who gets divorced that I am automatically making assumptions about who they are or what they do. At the very core of me, I have always believed that if your partner is making you genuinely unhappy, if they hurt you, if they break your heart and/or spirit, you should leave. Period. However, I can’t say I’m on board with the notion of divorcing over things that (I believe) can be resolved.
This brings me back to the original point; Marriage is hard and I think people forget this when they make the decision to do it. Getting engaged and taking vows is the easy part, believe me! & I know that (at least most of the time) when a couple says those vows, they really, truly mean them; but we don’t always remember them.
Although my husband and I wrote our own vows; we still made sure to include those “standard” promises to each other. We promised to be there even when things really suck. We promised to love each other even when we don’t like each other. We promised to support each other’s choices and be brave enough to speak the truth (even when it’s uncomfortable or difficult). For better or worse, getting married is a promise to be there, forever, ESPECIALLY when you’d rather not be.
Recently, I’ve been going through some ups and downs in life that have seriously affected my mood. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m annoyed/angry, and most times I am incredibly annoying about it (no really, I am)! I know there are times when I can be hard to live with. I know there are times when I can be hard to love. I know that as I grow and change over the years, I will learn from my mistakes and strive to get better, but I also know there is potential for things to get worse. I know that there is a good chance that my husband will have struggles that deeply affect him as well.
Where would I be if I had any kind of fear that being myself and making mistakes could result in the end of my relationship?
So here’s a little PSA my wifeys:
You will fight with your spouse. You will get annoyed with them. You will do something mean to them (unintentionally). You will do something mean to them (intentionally). You will disagree on big decisions and have to spend time hashing them out. You will change as you age. Your partner will change too. You will have moments where you want to give up. You will have days where you wish you were single. You will meet other men/women who you “spark” with and wonder what it would be like to date them. Your loyalty will be tested. Your faith will be tested. You will miss the “old” days. You will cry. You will scream and some days, you’ll shut down.
This is marriage. This is what it means to build a life with someone you love and trust completely. Marriage is NOT the cure for loneliness. Marriage is NOT the answer to all of your hopes and dreams. Marriage SHOULD NOT be the story of your life, but the chapter that launches you into the best version of yourself.
Wifeys & Gents, please, if you take nothing else away from this post, when the hard times come (and they will come) work that shit out (swearing for emphasis here haha)! I know that you haven’t had sex since the baby was born. I know that you work 8-12 hour days and come home to dirty dishes and laundry that never stops piling up. I know that your single friends have stopped calling because you never have the time/money/energy to go out. I know you gained 10 pounds this year. I know your family is overbearing. I know you’re up for a huge promotion. I know there’s never enough money. I know there’s never enough sleep. I know your partner doesn’t surprise you anymore or bring you flowers like they used to. Believe me, I know, and despite my “newlywed” status, I actually understand (again, my husband and I are just fine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t empathize).
All I am saying is, there is nothing so big that it can’t be resolved for the one you love*. There is no problem so great that can’t be worked out, even if you need to call in some back up* & unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’d exhaust every single option available before letting your spouse/partner walk out of your life, I don’t suggest getting married.
*this obviously doesn’t include major problems like domestic violence/abuse, chronic infidelity, or the discovery that your partner is a serial killer. 😉
Until next time,
Carry on Wifeys!
…and OMG welcome to June! 😀