Today’s Prompt: What’s the story of the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in a relationship? Did you overcome it? What was the outcome?
Every time the subject of marriage comes up, I have to shake my head at the single girls I know. Some of them are younger than I am, some of them are my age, some older. They all want that holy grail of dating and relationships – a husband. It’s like some crowning achievement. An end game. Life would only be complete if I had a husband.
Well ladies, I’m going to get real here. No disrespect to The Hubs, but marriage is work and definitely not all sunshine and roses. You can ask him, he’d agree – mainly because he has to put up with me. 😉
I’m not sure what my single friends are thinking, but I can guess it’s something like this:
They’ll find Mr. Right, get married and then spend all their time together. They’ll go to bed snuggled in each other’s arms. They’ll always agree, or maybe they’ll disagree occasionally about what to put on the pizza at dinner or what movie to see, but nothing big. I mean, married people are best friends! They get along! Sure, whatever, it’s work, blah, blah, but it’s fantastic!
I was guilty that thinking too. The Hubs and I were long distance for a very long time. I was ready to just get married and be done with it so we could finally be together. When I say long distance, I mean we didn’t really date in the way normal couples would. Our dates consisted of airline tickets. When we finally did move in together I thought I was ready. I was sure of it. I’d seen my mother interact with my father. Surely it was simple. I learned quickly that what you may see on the surface of a relationship, may not be 100% accurate.
Please don’t get me wrong here, The Hubs and I have a strong marriage that has already weathered some storms. We’re not in danger of divorce or splitting up. We recognize that we don’t have a perfect marriage and we’re fine with that.
We recognize that now.
The hardest thing about marriage is staying together. Yes, really.
The biggest revelation I had a few years ago came at a time when I was dating someone else and that guy up and left. Just disappeared. My mother had just passed away and he took off. He couldn’t handle the emotional wreck I was so he left. He took the easy way out rather than dealing with what was in front of him.
Lesson Learned: Leaving is easy, staying is hard.
I remember being a single girl and feeling like my life was over during break ups. I just knew that breaking up with someone was one of the hardest things I’d ever go through. Boy was I wrong! Are break ups painful? Yes. But breaking up or getting divorced rather than working to make it work is taking the easy way out. Staying is the hard part.
You think breaking up is hard? Try staying instead.
Marriage is work. Relationships are work. Hard work. If you want one to last you have to invest the time and effort to make it last. You have to pour into it every ounce of your being. You have to not run out of the house with a packed suitcase when he leaves his shirt on the floor next to the bed for the millionth time even though you’ve asked him nicely each time to throw it in the hamper. (Not that I’m speaking from experience there 😉 )
Marriage is day to day. Some days are great, some days are a challenge. The Hubs would agree with me. Some days you wonder why you married this person in the first place or who the heck this person is. It happens. Really.
Marriage isn’t all unicorns farting glitter. Giving up because the honeymoon period wears off is just taking the easy road. The grass may be greener on the other side, but you still have to mow it.
Hubby and I have done stupid, inconsiderate things that have hurt each other. Some of those things I am positive have ended up on a divorce decree for someone else somewhere in this country. But we’re not giving up. We’ve had to learn the hard way that not every argument is commentary on the state of our relationship. Not every transgression is a relationship killer.
Ladies, that Mr. Right you’re looking for is going to be inconsiderate from time to time. He might snore. He might make a mess. He probably won’t be Prince Charming. Stop giving up so easily! Stop looking for some romantic comedy heartthrob. He doesn’t exist.
Forgive the one you have. Love him in spite of his flaws. Do your best to cut him some slack.You can’t change the man and trust me when I say this, the next guy will probably be very much the same.
I think the best advice I’ve ever heard relevant to this comes from, oddly enough, the Golden Girls. Sophia’s wisdom says, “If you could take away this one thing, would you still want to be married to him?” If the answer is yes, then keep working. Keep putting in the effort. Relationships, especially marriage, are day to day – some days hour to hour. And he’s living that schedule too.
Learning this lesson was hard, sometimes painful, but worth it. We are stronger in our marriage because of it. We earned every bit of our two years and look forward to earning many, many more. We refuse to let trivial, small things get in the way of our happiness. We will do whatever it takes to avoid taking the easy way out. It’s worth it.
Before I get angry e-mails: I recognize that there are instances when break up/divorce is the only option. I totally respect that. I believe deep in my heart that some relationships are toxic and really need to end. I know that there are relationships that are abusive. If that’s the case I urge you to get help and send you my thoughts and prayers. I’m not referring to you.
What I’m referring to here is the blase attitude many have toward marriage these days. Get married, get divorced 72 days later because of irreconcilable differences…Kim K – I’m looking at you.