Year two of marriage and here I am on the verge of literally giving up and letting go. Who said marriage was going to be easy? Every time i am on Facebook more of my friends are getting married and joining this bandwagon, others are taking up the 7 days love your partner challenge and splashing the whole Facebook with airbrushed photos of lovely couples smiling .It leaves me thinking if my marriage is the only one that is almost ever on a rough patch. Truly my partner and I have taken embarrassing pictures like when I posted little bubba with her clothes not fitting her since she has outgrown them and everyone is liking them and posting diplomatic messages(Parenting challenges memes) .Others of when he is so drunk and half way asleep in the driveway and am trying to pull him out of the car into the house or worse when we have had those heated arguments that leaves us sleeping angry at each other, does anyone feel me ?Could we just be real for a moment please!
What’s the hardest challenge in your marriage?
Think about that question for a minute. Your answer says a lot about the current state of your relationship. For my partner and i, the answer to that question has changed through the different seasons of our marriage. At one point it is financial stress. At another point, it is managing complex family dynamics. At different points in marriage, we’ve wrestled with inter -country moves, depression, debt, parenting stress, work stress, health issues and many other challenges along the way.
I’ve realize that struggles are always a part of marriage, because struggles are always a part of life, but how you choose to face those struggles will have a tremendous impact on the health of your marriage. I had a conversation with a close friend with whose words profoundly helped my perspective on struggles in marriage.
He and his wife have walked through many struggles and many seasons of life in their half-century together. Their current struggles include a move from their hometown to be closer to family and a diagnosis of a long term infection on his wife. Watching her battle the infection and lose her memories has clearly been one of the greatest struggles in their marriage, but apparently, not his “biggest struggle.”
His wife was on a weekend trip with their daughter spending some “girl time” together. I asked him how he’s been doing, and he said, “Honestly, I’m not doing so well.”
I didn’t say it out loud, but I thought to myself, “Of course you’re not! You are in a new town trying to learn a new routine and you are having to watch your wife slowly lose her memories and her personality through the cruel infection. Nobody in your shoes would be doing well.”
What he said next left me speechless. When he was talking about why he was having such a hard time, his struggles had nothing to do with the factors I thought he meant.
He said, “I’m having such a hard time, because I’ve never been apart from her this long before. I’ve never gone two days in a row without seeing her. I can’t wait until she gets home tomorrow!”
Over 20 years together, and they’d never been apart for a 48-hour period. While so many couples seem to try and invent ways to escape from each other (story of my life), this man and his wife and created a relationship that neither partner ever wanted to “escape.” In fact, even the thought of being apart left him feeling sick.
This temporary distance, was his current greatest struggle in marriage. His perspective was an inspiring reminder to me that a marriage isn’t defined by the size of your struggles, but by the size of your commitment to overcome those struggles together.