Recently I have noticed a Facebook phenomenon. Many of my friends have curated the perfect online marriage and usually their “Oscar worthy” depiction is followed by a similar follow up post “Mr. My friend and I have decided to divorce.” “Picture” perfect marriages rarely last. After thinking about this I wondered why, and I am now fairly certain of the reason. They don’t last because they don’t exist. Prepare yourself to be comforting and downing wine with any friend who spends nearly your entire evening out waxing poetic about ‘the perfection she has found in this idyllic partnership with her/his soul mate’.
Caveat, I am married. I am happily married. There is a difference between being happily married and being immersed in some dimensional alternate universe where two people live day in and day out through the mundane, fabulous and hideous days right alongside their families’ dramas as well, and capture each in perfectly edited selfies on their much followed joint Instagram. That is not reality. That is a couple or part of a couple wishing for something while living something else.
I have done hard things in my life, but if pressed I would say nothing has been harder or more rewarding than being married. This year I have been trying to be more present, to be a kinder gentler version of myself. I strive for that older, wiser, and less intense version of myself and it is two-step forwards and one step back process. I would say my marriage is my own personal laboratory. Prior to today I thought my experiments were top-secret. While hubby and I were having one of those “missed connection” conversation I let it slip that I was working on really trying to evaluate what I say and not just say it. I was trying hard to ask myself will I add anything positive by providing my perspective, or is this important enough to him that my role is just support. I am just there to say, “I’m sorry. That’s great. That sucks. Carry on.” whichever is appropriate. I thought this news would blow him away. Instead he looked me straight in the eye and said. “I know you are. We have been living together for 25 years. You don’t think I noticed?” That brings up a separate issue about my failing to be fully present and aware but that’s another blog, or something to meditate on later.
Marriage is a lot of things: funny, happy, ironic, messy, exciting, peaceful, frustrating, comforting, lonely, exhausting, invigorating, infuriating, inspiring, and boring. That is just on a Tuesday. Marriage is a lot of things, but if someone tells you theirs is perfect, run.