I’ve had several conversations lately with friends, colleagues, and even my husband around marriage. As in, what makes a good marriage? What to look for in a partner? How do you keep the marriage going through all that life has to dump on offer us? After each of these conversations, I realized something that I thought too important not to discuss. Many of us feel less-than-satisfied about our relationships from time to time. Some people suffer only the occasional relationship slump, while others are dealing with major, possibly life-changing relationship issues. But no one (that I’ve talked to, at least) has a perfect relationship situation.
So why, then, don’t we talk about it more? I find that pretending a relationship is “perfect” happens so much more often than the “perfect parenting” that I write about. On the outside, many couples look like they have it all: an amazing relationship, happy kids, a lovely home, great jobs. But no one talks about the fact that behind the closed doors of their fabulous home lie sexless nights, arguments, and feelings of dissatisfaction.
So let me be the first to admit that my relationship isn’t perfect. I love my husband dearly, and I know he loves me, but there are times when we really don’t like each other. I have a tendency to score-keep (I washed the dishes, made dinner, did two loads of laundry, and all he did was POUR THE MILK= 3-1. What an ass.) and am extremely controlling (as in, everything needs to be done the right way, RIGHT NOW). While he isn’t the greatest communicator and tends to hold grudges. Pair those awesome qualities with two children that love to argue, two full-time jobs, finances to manage, a four bedroom house to clean, dance/karate/swimming/therapy appointments, and a cat that lives to piss us off (literally), and you end up with some not so great moments. There are many nights when we sleep in separate rooms, often with one or more children by our side. We often go days without having a real conversation. I sometimes feel like I haven’t really looked at my husband in a very long time. And sex? It comes and goes, mostly depending on how exhausted I am from the day’s activities.
It might sound like a pretty dismal circumstance, to an outsider. But I am pretty sure that these are all things that most married couples with kids could attest to. Marriage isn’t easy, and once you have kids, forget about it. Life is no longer about you as a couple; it is about you as a family. And often times, the couple part gets put on the back burner for a few years. I think the key to surviving the child-rearing years as a couple is to understand that it won’t last forever. I read a quote somewhere a few years ago that has stuck with me. It goes something like, the days are long, but the years are short. And when it comes to marriage and kids, that is absolutely true. I know I am going to turn around one day and my kids will be grown. I am sure I’ll be a bit saggier and my husband perhaps a bit rounder around the midsection, but we’ll be alone again. And we’ll be able to look back at a beautiful, totally fucked up life that we stumbled through together. The journey is anything but pretty, but remembering that life is not about one single bad day/week/month helps to keep me going through the rough times. And to be honest, it also helps knowing that others have dealt with similar challenges.
So that’s where you come in. Tell me I am not alone. Tell me that you and your husband/wife/partner have had similar issues. Comment below and let’s band together in our imperfect relationships. Who’s with me??