I’m going to admit something that is actually really embarrassing for me. Here it comes….I’m being brave. I said the “D” word. Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve said the “D” word at least a handful of times (if not more) during heated arguments throughout the course of our ten-year marriage. There were times I said it to be mean…but there were also times I said it in a calm, realistic way. Citing things like, “maybe you’re toxic for me,” or “maybe we’re just not compatible,” or “I saw this coming, but I ignored it.” Dramatic, right?
Now before I dive into this, please…do NOT personalize what I’m about to say. I am not on the inside of anyone else’s marriage, so I have no judgements about divorce…I simply want to be honest about my story in hopes that maybe I’m not the only one who has felt this way.
You see, of the two of us, I am the one who is willing to “go there.” I sometimes have a hard time pulling myself out of the situational depression hole I’m in when I’m seeing red. On the other hand, my husband could be having a knock-down, drag out fight with me one minute, and move on as if nothing happened the next. This is an anomaly I will NEVER understand. You see, I can hold a grudge with the best of ‘em, and if he says the wrong thing? LOOK OUT! He can forget about intimacy…and as for talking? Well unless it’s about who is getting the kids, he can forget that too.
I am not proud of this fact. I wish I was the type of girl that could let things roll off…I wish I could forgive and forget. There are times when grace is lost. “He is a jerk,” I think to myself, “and he should feel like one.” And here I am, the punisher. Willing to place our marriage in a dark place just for the sake of being “right.”
But we know that word “right” is subjective. There are two sides to every story. There are clichés telling us so… “No one has to be wrong, no one has to be right.” (My musical theatre buddies will like that one) I’ve heard it before, probably in marriage counseling, that most problems married couples face boil down to errors in communication. How many times have Cory and I looked at each other and thought, “you still don’t ‘get’ me?!”
How many times have we looked at each other and thought, “you still don’t ‘get’ me?!”
But I want to talk about the word GRACE. How often do we as married couples give ourselves grace? I recently learned that statistically, married couples are the most UNhappy when their kids are five and under, and then again when they’re teenagers. They are happiest during that in between phase and then again when their kids are out of the house. Just knowing that fact teaches me something. Do we ever stop to consider just how much stress we are under, just by being parents to these beautiful little humans? Add to that, (for me personally) the stress of battling chronic illness. I don’t know about you, but I could give MYSELF a little more grace!
Do I EXPECT that my marriage will be easy? I think sometimes, I do. Do I want my partner to bow to my every demand? Do I expect that he will never challenge me? Do I succeed to him anytime he feels strongly about something, but then quietly resent him until it all boils over in a volcanic eruption of an argument over who is picking the kids up from school today?
Sometimes I think I expect too much.
But I don’t think I’d be better off without him. I don’t think the grass is greener somewhere else. What I do think is that I have a lot to work on…and so does he. We are imperfectly perfect together. Once I’m calm, and after the dust has settled, I am able to look at the bigger picture. I see that he challenges me in ways that make me better. He makes me reflect on the person I’ve become and the person I want to be.
In this day of social media, it’s easy to look into others’ photos and feel like, “wow, they really are made for each other…what am I doing wrong that I’m not as happy as they are?” But then I realize, this may be the very thought someone else is having about me. And so here it is…my confession. My marriage is hard. We have been through marriage counseling. I have seen a therapist on and off throughout my adult life. I am constantly working on becoming a human who communicates better with my husband, and consequently my children. I feel at times like my marriage is nothing but work. And here’s the best part…I think that’s okay!
No one wants to paint a depressing picture of their life to their friends online. Many people tend to post their best moments on social media for all to see, but sometimes that’s not the full story. If you are like me and are sometimes in the trenches with your marriage, sometimes battling depression, dealing with a chronic illness, or just tackling the monsters inside your head that keep you from being the best version of yourself, it’s ok. My husband and I are not perfect, but we love each other very much and regardless of what happens, we continue to choose each other over and over again. If you have decided your marriage is worth it, keep up the good work, keep fighting the good fight. DO NOT get discouraged if you have a bad day (or 10). YOU…are not alone!