My husband is out of town and this is apparently what happens when I have some downtime to reflect on marriage. I know there a million blogs and I am not trying to make a scene, just rambling thoughts before I go to sleep.
True confession: I love the TV show ‘Parenthood.’ I can’t wait to see what happens and I absolutely love Amber because she reminds me of my sisters who I love so much. I also cry every episode; seriously this show deserves an award because I am pretty sure every woman who watches this show cries. Well done Parenthood, well done. I’m emotionally fraught every episode with thoughts such as: “will they get back together, will Drew be confident and show how awesome he is, will Amber make up with her Mom” and the list could go on.
However, I also hate this show. I am officially sucked into the drama and I just have to know what happens, but almost every episode I get upset at how they portray marriage. You see, I think the biggest message they are sending about marriage is that it is about your own personal happiness. A quote from a recent episode (no it’s not verbatim, but close): “It’s not about him, it’s about me. It’s about what makes me happy.” And then I start crying for angry reasons. Okay, I don’t really start crying, but it makes my heart a little bit sad. I know marriage and dating blogs are super popular right now. I mean, I think I see like 5 on my Facebook news feed per day. Definite overkill. But, it just makes me sad because marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me. ( I am writing this right now while I am listening to a playlist my husband made for me while he is out of town. Yes, it’s totally like high school and I think it is also totally romantic.)
I am not always happy in my marriage. That is just the truth. Marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done. Nobody ever tells you how hard. They just say vague things like the rose colored glasses will be removed. What does that even mean? How was I supposed to prepare for that when that was most common thing I heard? I expected marriage to be hard because we could constantly fight over things like leaving the toilet seat up or down, which way the toilet paper goes on the holder, where you squeeze the toothpaste from, the in-laws are being intrusive, or how to load a dishwasher correctly. And while those inconsequential things pop up every now and then, they do not define the hardships of my marriage.
What I didn’t expect was marriage to be hard because of scary important life decisions and my own self-centeredness: which job do I take, how can we rearrange our budget in order to save money because money is so tight, how do we take care of our health now so we can be healthy later, 7 kids or 2 kids, sell the car or fix the car, oh rearrange the budget again because we need a new dishwasher and can’t afford it, and how to take time for my husband and forget about the cares and worries of life. I could not imagine having to make those decisions by myself. I am so thankful that my husband is willing to walk through the hard times side by side with me. He makes me talk about my emotions and feelings. We work through our issues really well because he does not give up on me and my tendency to build a wall around conflict. He encourages me that he is going to always take care of me no matter what and that God is providing. I think we work well together and if all I was focused on was my happiness, I think our marriage would be the equivalent of 2 college roommates who are really good friends.
Even if I go to bed unhappy at my husband and I am purposefully on the farthest edge of the bed so as to not accidentally touch him, I know in the morning when I wake up, he will be there. (I usually wake up in the middle of the night to find myself having unconsciously moved and I am snuggled right up next to him. Dang it. It always makes it so hard to be mad after that.)God did not design marriage to be about my own personal happiness. I believe he designed it to mirror His relationship with us. Sometimes I get really mad at God and don’t turn to him and ignore him, but no matter what he still loves me and is still taking care of me. If I am in a marriage where each of us is only focused on ourselves, how will I know my husband will still be there? How do I trust him to love me and stand by my side even when I am wrong? How do I know he won’t leave me if he is focused on himself? Focusing on yourself does not build a strong marriage. It makes marriage full of false expectations; it leaves no room for mistakes, growth, or forgiveness. That sounds pretty sad to me.
I’m sorry for the rambling. Sometimes I have a hard time putting into words what I want to say. Basically, I wouldn’t trade my husband for the world. I wouldn’t trade our fights, our disagreements, our tight budget, our dirty dogs, or our differences. I don’t want anybody else. I want to be with him and I want to experience all of life with him. I hope I can do that by not focusing on myself and I have already failed in our almost 2 years of marriage, but every day is a new day. Even though I can get really mad when he doesn’t do his own laundry, I love watching him wake up in the morning and realizing his favorite pair of pants are not sitting wrinkled at the bottom of his laundry basket but hanging up in the closet. I can’t wait to continue to serve him in more moments like that. He works so hard to take care of me and spoils me rotten, I just want him to know how much I love him. So Wade, this is mostly for you. I want you to know that you are best friend. I trust you completely. You have taught me how to open up with my emotions and how to let go and not be a perfectionist. Even though sometimes I still have to do a 100 sit-ups before bed on midnight ice-cream runs, I appreciate your desire to have fun with your wife and your ability to break me out of my self-centered shell. I love you.