Thursday, February 19, 2015

Marriage is sacred, dang it!

I have always, ALWAYS had a strong opinion about marriage. I grew up never really seeing an example of a good marriage because my mom has been single most of my life. My real dad left our family when I was just around 2 because he was cheating on my mom. Then several years later, my step-dad left our family for the same reason. Because it's SO hard to stay faithful to somebody........right? (Hope ya'll picked up the sarcasm there)

I wish I could say I had marriage examples elsewhere in my life, but that's not the case. Even marriages I thought were okayish in my childhood have since fallen apart. People are cheating or somebody just isn't happy or they're tired of being "tied down."

And although nobody really close to me had a happy, healthy marriage that I could learn from, I did take away a few things from the marriages I saw that didn't work out. I learned a lot about what kind of spouse I DIDN'T want to be. I read the Bible to figure out characteristics a good husband and wife should have.

And I took a class in college about family/marriage (I have NO idea why I took this class and what it added to my degree, but if nothing else, I got this one thing out of it). The professor said something that struck me and has really helped me when I struggle. He was talking about his marriage and he said, "I don't wake up every day overflowing with love for my wife. Sometimes, I roll over in the morning and see her and think, "Oh, shit. She's still here." But I choose to stay married anyway. I choose to keep loving her, even when I don't want to."

I remember being shocked when he said that and thinking how terrible it was that he could say something like that about his wife. But then at that point in my life, I'd never been married. I'd never even been in a really serious relationship. I think our minds fantasize and create this mental picture of what a marriage is--passionate, exciting, fulfilling, erotic, joyful, amazing, perfect. And while it is each of those things at different points, it's NEVER that way all the time. And to think so and expect that only leads to disappointment and broken expectations.

Now that I have been married, I can SO see what he was saying. There are days that I don't want to crawl into the same bed as my husband. There are days that I KNOW he sees my name on caller ID and rolls his eyes before he answers. There are times my pride and stubbornness makes me SO mad at him that I can't think about anything else. I am sure there are days he dreads walking through the door after work because he knows he's got a moody wife and slightly crazy children waiting for him.

But we both made a commitment. We both stood before our family and friends and promised to each other that when things got hard, when things were rough, when things were SO discouraging that it would've been easier to give up.......we would stick together. We wouldn't lay down and let the world walk all over us. We would choose to hold hands when we really wanted to punch each other. We would talk about things instead of running way. Our marriage has not been perfect by any means, but it has been amazing in every way possible--because we TRY. We work REALLY hard at it. We don't give up.

Which is why I get devastated when I hear about another divorce. Another spouse cheating. Another spouse lying. We recently found out that somebody we know is cheating. Somebody that I never in a million years would have suspected would do that. Somebody who's been married for YEARS. Because of their selfishness, lives are changed forever. Because they wanted that moment of happiness, trust is gone. Because they weren't "happy," that sweet feeling of being safe with the one who knows everything about you and loves you anyways has been rocked to it's core. Marriage is not for selfish people. Period. I truly don't feel you can be selfish AND be in a happy marriage. When people are cheating on their husband/wife, they're only thinking of themselves and what they want and what they feel. I can only say that I hope that moment---those few FLEETING moments where something felt new and exciting and left you breathless--was worth losing a marriage it took years to build.

I stop and think about how easily people quit on their marriages. I know people who HATE their jobs and their boss but work their ass off every day for them and stay at that job for years upon years. Why? Why can people commit to a boss and a job they despise, but not to the person they chose to marry? People have friends who have hurt them so badly and who have done terrible things to them and yet, they're still willing to forgive and work on that friendship. But not their marriage. WHY? It's so irritating to me. So frustrating.So heartbreaking! I feel like very few people value their marriages any more. It's so EASY to get a divorce now. So easy to walk away. It's socially acceptable. It's legal. Marriage can be too hard. So why not?!

Some people's arguments are that they just aren't happy any more. All I can say to that is suck it up. Don't get me wrong--there are some instances where I totally understand getting out of a marriage. But if you aren't being abused (mentally or physically) or cheated on and you're 'unhappy' because life isn't rainbows and butterflies all the time and you choose to blame being married for that......then suck it up. Instead of telling your spouse you want a divorce, tell them you aren't happy and you want to work together to figure it out. Instead of walking away, grab hold of their hand and fight TOGETHER for happiness.

As far as cheating goes, I feel like so much of it comes out of one person's quest to feel wanted again. To feel sought after and loved and to feel the giddiness and excitement that comes with a new relationship. And sometimes it's done out of sheer lust. But the thing I fail to understand in all of that is, AGAIN, why don't people talk to their spouse? Why don't they TELL them they're feeling neglected? Why not SAY something instead of going behind their back and betraying them and your marriage vow?

I try really hard not to judge because every circumstance is different, but after being in a family that was broken by infidelity and seeing what it does to the other spouse and to the children, I have a VERY low tolerance level for it. I will never, EVER understand how a person can walk away from someone they vowed their life to and the children they helped bring into this world.

If you are divorced, please don't take this as a personal vendetta against you. I don't think everyone who's ever been divorced is horrible. It's not necessarily the divorce I hate, but the reasons behind it. I know there are some people who tried and tried and TRIED to keep their marriage together and it just wasn't working. I know some are on the innocent side of divorce--you had no say in whether you got divorced or not. Your spouse made the decision for you. I know some have divorced due to addiction. This is mostly me processing the information about our friends (and being SUPER disappointed in the person I thought I knew) and hoping to encourage anyone in a tough marriage to keep going. Keep trying. Keep working at it. You CAN get through it. Pursue your spouse adamantly. Woo them. Treat them the way you treated them while you were dating. Heck, fake it until you make it! If you have to just go through the motions of marriage for awhile to get to the wonderful, rewarding part--do it!

Because while there WILL be mornings you roll over and say, "Oh shit, they're still here," there will also be mornings that you roll over and say, "I am so blessed." There are days you will look at your husband/wife and be overwhelmed by the love you feel for them. There will be times you are SO glad you have someone beside you that's been through hell and high water with you. And those are the times worth holding on for.

Nick, if you're reading this, please know that I fully believe our marriage is sacred. Rest assured that I will never walk away from you. I will never give up on you. I will never cheat on you. I will tell you when I'm struggling and hope that we can figure it out as a team.

And I vow to never, ever, EVER make you meatloaf again (trust me, it's for the good of us all if I stay away from meatloaf). 

Love you, babe!

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