I’m not a marriage expert. I’m just sharing what I have learned in my 5 years of marriage. Yup, only 5 years. I know some of you marriage veterans are shaking your head asking “what can she possibly know about marriage in 5 years?” I don’t know everything, but I do know I almost let my marriage fail and then fought like hell to get it back. My marriage has already dealt with, moving to a city I hated for his job (enter one hellish year and the start of a downfall), having a child and moving back home, me staying home with the child leaving my husband to be the only one bringing in an income, depression, anxiety, and last but not least MAJOR COMMUNICATION problems.
Marriage is hard! It’s hard work people, that’s not just something “old people” say. I know some of you unmarried ladies are probably thinking, Marriage isn’t suppose to be hard. It’s about two people loving each other. Okay sweetie, we all thought that before. You know what… We were all wrong. Talk to me after the honeymoon phase wears off. Obviously loving the person you marry is a big deal. Love comes in many different stages though.
There is 1st love. Oh how we all romanticize our 1st loves. Hey, it was our introduction into the world of romantic relationships. Everything was new and wonderful and then there were the heavy makeout sessions. Most of the time 1st loves don’t last. They give us something so pure and beautiful that no matter how bad the relationship was we don’t look back at the mind games and inability to stick around when things got hard. Nope, we remember the excitement, the butterflies, the newness. Once you get past the heartbreak you can learn so much from the 1st love. You might have learned that you like a guy who is outgoing and pushes you out of your antisocial introverted shell. You might have learned that you want someone that opens up to you instead of keeping their walls built too high to climb. Learning what you dislike is just as important as learning what you love. Once you fall in love again you have already started to look for someone who treats you better and shows you that not all guys are the same.
Then there is the rebound. We all think will work out and never does. Rebounds are basically the sorbet of the love world. Cleanse your palate and move on. Sorry rebounds, you were fun for a minute.
Then there is the honeymoon phase. You have met that perfect guy and he ask you to marry him. You are over the moon! You have found the person you will spend forever with! Rainbows and unicorns are flying out your ass between the engagement until a while after the wedding. Everything is enchanted now that you are someones wife. You love introducing your Husband. You love your new last name. You have started your life together and all you have to do is love your husband and he will love you back.
Then there is what I call real love. It’s easy to love someone who is happy. It takes real love to love someone who has gotten lost in the dark places. This is the love that makes or breaks your marriage. All of the sudden some of the quirks you thought were cute about your husband before are driving you nuts. You know realize that you can hear him chewing a banana. He can’t stand your hair clogging up the shower drain. Your kitchen and laundry room are war zones because both of you will be damned if you are going to clean this time. You forgot what snuggling is. Your kid(s) are always around. You can’t understand why he hardly does the things he used to do before you were married. Time as a couple gets pushed to the side because life is busy. This is where real love comes in. When your relationship turns upside down and you make a CHOICE every day to love your husband and he has to do the same. Some days it’s really flipping hard! Some days you might feel like you are the one doing all the work. Some days you might be a real bitch and he is feeling like you aren’t trying. Issues build up and fights start to happen. This is when you both have to choose love each other even when you don’t like each other. You have to choose between fight or flight. It is a lot easier to try to run away from your problems than it is to fix them. For a marriage to work you both have to fight for it. As your marriage grows you will become different people than the love struck honeymooners you once were and that’s okay. You have to learn to adapt in a marriage. I’m not saying you have to change everything about yourself. I’m saying in a marriage it isn’t about just you. You now have to take another person into consideration. Real love gives you a reason to do the dishes because you know it drives your husband crazy to come home from work to a mess. Real love tells you to chill out when you come home from work and the house is a mess. Real love is the light that enters the dark places and helps guild you out. You need real love to make a marriage work in a time where giving up is normal. Real love isn’t always easy but it is so damn worth it.
So work to improve your relationship and be willing to pull the extra load some days. Once you have fought your way out of the dark places you will keep fighting to never go back. You might slip but it’s okay because you know you have someone that is there to help you. Keep fighting and keep learning about your spouse and yourself. Marriage is hard but don’t they say, “The best things in life don’t come easy.” So if you are looking for love or are already in a relationship I want you to drop the expectations that marriage is a fairy tale. Marriage is a job that you both have agreed to work the rest of your lives.