I’d like to pause for a second and revisit the first time I read the article that inspired this blog. Clearly, I was impressed enough by the list that I was inspired to dedicate a year of my life to writing about it, but there were a few points that niggled me. The main frustration I have with the list is that many of the questions seem very intentionally phrased. It’s as though the writer is trying to coerce a certain response from the answer – in many cases, a response of self-depreciation, admissions of failure, laziness, and emotional subsistence living.
This question is one of those. I imagine many people answering this question will confess to unrequited, silent love, or a string of failings in their current long-term relationship. How I need to try harder, and cook proper meals, and make more of an effort with my outfits. Etc.
My answer is not going to follow this pattern. Not that I think i’m doing everything right; we all have things that we can improve. However, I don’t think any relationship is ever improved by people beating themselves up. There is nothing I enjoy less than my poor husband (God love him) listing all the ways in which he thinks he’s a failure. I dislike this for two reasons. Number one: If you were really that dysfunctional I wouldn’t have married you. Number two: I now have to spend equal or greater time telling you how you’re none of those things, and in fact are the exact opposite in every way. This is exhausting to me.
Additionally, I don’t have a secret unrequited passion, and if I did I would be highly unlikely to expose it on the internet. Even if I wasn’t married.
My husband is the “person I love”, in as much as he would inherit my life insurance money if I died, and that we have a mortgage together. This differentiates him from all of the other people I love, like my friends, family, co-workers, pets, celebrities, fictional characters. Etc. I have a big heart, capable of a LOT of love. But clearly, the fact I married this person when I was a (ridiculously young) twenty three years old is a testament to the fact that I love him. And that’s before you consider that I had to move 3000 miles from home and start my career and social life from scratch.
I’m not complaining. Okay, maybe I’m complaining a little bit. Marriage gives back for the most part, it’s a pretty uncomplaining and easy to life most of the time. But it can also be the single hardest thing in the world. Sometimes. There are those days that I don’t want to go home and play with the dog, do laundry, mop floors, or talk to his friends. There are those days when everything seems like too much.
Yes, it’s a taboo to talk about it, especially as hubs and I really do have a great marriage most of the time. But being married can be hard, especially when most marriages include so many more people than husband and wife. It’s a process, and there have been weeks, even months at a time, when I have had to work hard at just being here every waking minute. That’s not to say I didn’t want to be here, or wasn’t happy, it was just that every thing I did was so foreign to me. Now we’ve been married for close to four years, those moments are fewer and more far between.
But some mornings I wake up, head full of fog, and it seems as though I’m probably the worst wife in the world. The bathroom needs cleaning, my work clothes are creased, the dog keeps whining, and there is nothing edible in the fridge for breakfast. Hubs will get up, equally frustrated, and it’s easy to feel at fault, that he is judging my abilities. Sometimes, as I’m sure a lot of married minds might wonder, it seems as though it would be easier to leave than to stay; I say this not because I’m unhappy, but because this constant pressure to perform in insanely overwhelming.
But when those days come around now, I approach them with a clearer head, knowing that there is nothing I can do except wait them out. I’ve started to realise that part of being married is enduring these days of self doubt, pain, and crippling self-consciousness. But it’s worth it for the good days (which most of them are), and because I love my husband, and this is what I have to do for it.