"I don't want to be married anymore."
The words left my mouth mid-fight and my husband and I froze as we stared at each other, sobbing, not knowing what to say next.
I didn't say it out of anger or revenge or even to get a reaction from him. The fact that I did not want to be married was not a lie- it was how I had been feeling after weeks of seemingly constant bickering and I could no longer keep that truth from my husband.
I didn't want him to fix it, ask me why, or try to change anything. I wanted to run. To be alone. To avoid talking or listening or attempting to figure anything out. I was exhausted, defeated, and felt like the only way through was out.
Thankfully, my husband is hands-down the most passionate and loyal man that I know and he refused to allow our marriage to fail. He was going to stand by me, weather the storm, and have every hard conversation it was going to take to get through this together.
We are also lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends who are all rooting for us and our marriage (in good times and bad) and are willing to have these conversations that no one wants to have. No pretending like our marriage is perfect or that we have it all figured out but people we can trust and seek out in times when we need reminding that everything we are going through is normal.
While each person we opened up to and sought support from had different advice and insights to offer, it all came back to the same basic idea- marriage is just hard sometimes.
MARRIAGE IS JUST HARD SOMETIMES
But think about it- marriage is hard sometimes. We have different habits, opinions, and ideas about life yet we expect to live in harmony under the same roof 24/7? Not going to happen.
If you add children on top of that- you are now trying to raise humans with another human that was raised by other humans who also didn't really know what they were doing.
While we're at it- let's take a look at parenting. It's HARD. Messy. Downright impossible at times. Yet, we never think of leaving our children or imagining a life without them. At least, we never actually act upon it. We realize that parenting is hard and that it's just part of the gig.
Why, then, do we treat our marriage any different? We expect perfection, romance, and happiness at all times and interpret the hard times as something being "wrong," when just like parenting- it's just part of the gig.
The danger is in thinking that when troubles do arise, we must be doing it wrong, our spouse must be to blame, and that the only way out of it is to leave or call it quits.
We also live in a seriously dysfunctional "grass is greener" society, where it's easy to compare your marriage and spouse to everyone else's best moments online. No one is talking about how hard co-parenting with your spouse is or that their husband left his wet towel on the floor or that living alone sounds like a literal dream at times.
Before you get caught up in the false reality that marriage would be happier, easier, or better with someone else, keep in mind that you will always find yourself back in this boat because you guessed it- marriage is just hard sometimes.
SIT WITH IT
What about instead of building a wall, running, or waiting for some overnight solution, we just sat with it instead?
Sat with the anger.
Sat in the storm.
Sat with the discomfort and hard conversations that come with marriage and trusted that these moments won't last forever.
Because they WON'T last forever.
Growth happens during these "for worse" seasons of marriage and while it isn't pleasant at the moment, we need to embrace every season of marriage for what it is.
EASIER SAID THAN DONE
As someone who has a very hard time with being vulnerable or allowing myself to be hurt or disappointed in any way, I know how hard it can be to sit with any sort of discomfort or unhappiness.
I tend to shut down at the first sight of conflict and when it comes to "fight or flight," I choose flight. Every. Single. Time.
What I realize now is that you cannot have an escape plan in place for when marriage inevitably gets hard because it is going to get hard.
You just have to sit with it.
BEFORE YOU RUN
We have all come across some viral story of an elderly couple that has never missed a Sunday brunch together, still hold hands in public, and swears by the tried and true advice of never going to bed angry. There is a reason stories like theirs go viral...
We all love love.
But don't for one second think that sweet old couple never went through storms of their own. Hell- they probably doubted their marriage several times over the course of all those years and were at the point where at least one of them wanted to throw in the towel.
Sit with it.
Work through it.
Wait for the storm to pass.
Your marriage is worth it.
With all my love, a fellow married human trying to figure this all out as I go.