Although it feels like an eternity, it wasn’t all that long ago that I had to sit down and admit that my marriage was in shambles. It wasn’t something that happened overnight; it took a long time to unravel to that point, and even longer to actually accept it as the reality of my life in order to repair it. First, I had to decide if I even wanted to. I wasn’t sure. Marriage was not at all what I thought it would be, which made me think perhaps I was in the wrong one.
It was at that moment I really had to think to myself: am I in the right place? Do I want to stay? I took a long, hard look at my marriage and then asked myself one simple question: could I picture myself with anyone else? The answer was no.
That was when we slowly but surely began to pick up the pieces.
Here we are, over 8 years into this strange thing called marriage, looking back and saying, “We did it!” Looking forward we see just how much farther we have to go, because if there is one thing we learned, it’s that the journey never ends. It’s not always uphill, but it always takes effort. If there’s anything else I’ve learned, it’s that I don’t really know anything at all. Marriage is a strange creature. It is always changing and full of confusing and questionable things. It is what we expect and isn’t all at the same time. We all have different lessons to learn, hurdles to clear, successes to celebrate – and they are never the same as the couple standing next to us, even though we might want to compare to make sure we’re doing things “right.” Like parenthood, there is no one right way.
In life, I always feel like if I had to go through something terrible and made it out the other side reasonably unscathed, it should be turned into a positive. Why not use our experiences to benefit other people, or to make them laugh, or not to feel alone?
With over six years of marriage, two kids, ups and downs and a couple of fender benders, these are the very few things I have figured out along the way:
Love and marriage doesn’t mean you’re never going to fantasize about smothering and then burying your spouse in the back yard.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect” union. Hell, it’s usually the imperfections and the ability to admit them that makes a union stronger.
There is no competition for who is happier, and we shouldn’t even base how happy we think we are in marriage on how happy we think we SHOULD be, or how happy we think everyone else is.
It takes two, duh, but sometimes you are going to have to be the one to kick things into gear. Don’t expect your spouse to always know there is something wrong with you. We might consider each other to be the most predictable person on the planet, but we’re not psychics. Well, most of us, anyway.
Calm down and explain. It doesn’t matter how SIMPLE something seems to you, it may not be to your partner; especially when you are over the top emotional. If you can’t say it without losing your head, write it down. Talk. For the love of all that is holy, COMMUNICATE! Even if it’s just about the dumb stuff you did all day. TALK! To each other! When you live with someone over time, it’s easy to get caught up in routine and monotony. You might not even realize you’re not talking until you’re not talking about anything anymore and you find yourself feeling uncomfortable even bringing certain things up.
If you have kids, it’s important to remind yourself of the couple you were BEFORE them. I know that parenthood changes things in inevitable and BIG ways, but you were a happy childless couple before procreating, who had conversations and did things together as a couple. Remember that. You still need to MAKE time for just the two of you, or you will forget who the two of you were without children, and then you might forget why you two were ever happy in the first place.
It’s okay to argue. Seriously, it really is. Remember that whole communication thing? At least you’re doing that! If you want something, ASK FOR IT.
The most important thing, in my humble opinion (and I am NO expert here) is to remember that there was a reason why I married my husband. I might lose sight of it at times, but we ALL, at one time or another, thought it was the best idea we’d ever heard to marry the person who is currently driving us insane. Maybe we were just batsh-- crazy… or maybe it was love. It’s worth finding out, isn’t it?