I didn’t write much about my first year of being married with Mike. I think my rawest post about marriage was written during technical school when I was feeling discouraged and alone, without the physical support of my husband. Now, 18 months after we said our “I do’s,” I have spent a lot of time thinking about what marriage truly is, and how little society respects the actual notion of what it stands for.
Marriage is no longer respected, and I really can’t understand why. Maybe my lack of understanding is due to the way I was raised. I’m unsure, but a year and half in, I can say with a firm tone that marriage is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever taken on. I believe my husband would agree.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Mike and I went through a lot of hardships before we ever made vows to one another. It was one of the reasons we knew our relationship was for life – not just a flickering flame that burns out in a storm. With more than a year of marriage under our belts, the hardships have continued and the honeymoon stage has long been over. Mike knows every curve of my body and personality flaw I could ever hope to hide from the world. I know his struggles and secrets that even his own family will never truly know and comprehend. Yet, despite this knowledge of one another, we are one.
This is what marriage is – love in spite of the ugliness that comes with daily life.
The scariest part of all this is that the world is not on your side in marriage. It will do everything it can to make you think that if you’re not happy 100% of the time, you should get divorced. We’ve all heard the lies. Why is it this way?
The more divorce is talked about as if it’s just something everyone goes through, the weaker the foundation of marriage becomes. Divorce is not always the answer. No one ever said that marriage was the answer to your problems or that it would make you content and happy without a care in the world for the rest of your life. Marriage is FREAKING HARD. Sometimes, it creates more problems for you. Guess what… tough crap. Work together and get through it.
Mike and I have experienced some of our hardest days after making decisions that we thought would reduce our hardships and make our lives better. The Air Force is a perfect example. I joined because we knew the income increase would help us get where we wanted to be and reduce our financial woes. And it has. It did just that. But it also brought a big move, more expenses (because… COLORADO), a heavier workload, and new experiences we weren’t expecting. It has not been easy. We’ve had long nights of fighting, tears, and sleeping in separate bedrooms. We’ve even asked ourselves… what has happened to us? Why did we fall so far apart? And you know what…? At the end of the day, we think about our vows and the promises we made to each other. We think about all that we’ve done and been through, and we work it out.
THIS IS WHAT MARRIAGE IS.
Marriage is about having days where all you want to do is give up, but don’t.
Marriage is fighting like cats and dogs, then laughing like idiots after it’s all said and done.
Marriage is about having a partner-in-crime through thick and thin – someone who stands by you even when you’re kinda wrong.
I admit, I suck at a lot of this. There are days when Mike and I really suck at marriage. We get selfish and stupid and petty. But we’re working on it. And as we make big decisions about our life and where it’s headed, we know one thing. We have each other – and that is worth more than any job or house or the dishwasher being unloaded when you come home after a long day of work.
So, here is my advice to you.
- If you have friends who encourage you to leave your spouse because things aren’t perfect, GET RID OF THEM. You don’t need that kind of negativity and discouragement in your life.
- Make a list of pros and cons about your spouse. The good and the bad. Flesh it out, and see what you find. If they are just an absolute total piece of crap, then maybe something needs to happen. But I can almost guarantee you’ll see all the good that they are and remember why you married them in the first place.
- Stop feeding into what the world is saying. Life isn’t always about you and what you want. Other people are important, and your spouse is always going to be your biggest backer. Are you sure you want to throw that away for something so petty as the dryer being full of clothes?
- And most importantly, stop talking about your spouse to your family – unless it’s good things. Just don’t.
I’m sure when you get down to brass tax, you’ll find that your marriage isn’t all that bad and isn’t worth giving up. This is a topic that has been on my heart for a while now, and I hope it will benefit you, the reader, in some way. Please value your spouse and remind yourself of the blessings. Be grateful for what you have, because the grass is not always greener on the other side.