It seems as though everywhere you look, everyone’s marriage seems picture-perfect, at least in the fantasy land we call social media. It is a widely known ‘no-no’ to air our dirty laundry on social media and on the rare occasion someone does, we grab the popcorn and listen to the tea being spilled. We wouldn’t dare do this ourselves because it would be embarrassing and we don’t need to update our hundreds of acquaintances with every detail post-marital scandal. After all, some things should remain off social media, right? Seeing everyone’s highlight reels of their seemingly perfect marriage can sting when you are going through a hard time in yours. This can be especially true if you have kept your dirty laundry to yourself and want to maintain that ‘happy couple’ image.
Let me be clear here, airing your dirty laundry and being real about struggles in your life are two separate things. If you are upset with your spouse and temporarily split up and decide to air all of his/her dark secrets, that is called airing the dirty laundry. However, you can let the world know (if you feel compelled) that you are going through a hard time without putting the bad and the ugly of your personal business out there for the world to see and judge. I am 100% guilty of being a person who only posts about the good aspects of being married and I remember not too long ago posting a picture on our anniversary and wrote some mushy-gushy post to go along with it. Little did anyone know, on this particular day I was so angry with him that I fantasized about punching his stupid face in (kidding! kind of). All of my photos portray a couple who is madly in love and although I like the thought or should I say image that everything is fine and dandy, it certainly is not that way all of the time. I remember one time an old friend of mine shot me a message on Instagram and it said something along the lines of ‘you guys are a power couple and I envy that’. That message stung. At the time, we were going through complete and utter hell in our marriage. At that time we couldn’t stand each other, couldn’t be around each other, and truthfully we were on the verge of divorce. I remember thinking to myself, ‘if she has the impression that we are a power couple who is in love, what are the rest of social media going to think when I let everyone know we are divorcing?’
I know we shouldn’t care what people think, but I realized that I had created this image of such a perfect, happy, and lovely marital life that people would be absolutely blindsided if we ended up divorcing. On top of potentially divorcing, I was no where near prepared to deal with the hundreds of private messages I would receive from curious minds about the shocking revelation. Fast forward a couple months, we decided to work on our marriage instead of divorcing and we completely changed the way we treated and talked to each other. We made lists of what we individually needed to work on as well as what we needed to work on as a couple and really stuck to it. We made a five second rule that if what we had to say was going to come off as insulting, to take five seconds and see how we could re-word so we could prevent a potential argument. We took a very pro-active stance to improve our quality of life as a married couple and to give our marriage another shot. We had calm and open discussions when things were bothering us and really relinquished control in the areas that we needed to do so in.
The truth is, marriage is not always happily-ever-after Hallmark cards or date-night selfies. It isn’t always a respectful relationship or gourmet meals every night and daily sex. Nope! Marriage can be really, really fucking hard. So hard that it can have you contemplating your entire life choices moving forward. I got married at the ripe old age of 21 and I am now almost 29. During these last 7 years, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have changed, or that my husband has changed. Being married is making a conscious decision every single day to love the same person regardless of the changes that have occurred over time. That same person is going to change, deal with their own personal problems, have flaws, make mistakes, and fuck up. Just like you and I. I can’t even tell you how many times all of the above has happened and my husband still loves me even when I am a hangry, hormonal bitch!
I feel like so many men and women out there are struggling so hard not only with their marriage but their personal happiness because they are too embarrassed or ashamed to let any of their friends or family know what is really going on; I don’t think this is healthy at all. It is essential for your sanity to have a few trusted friends that you can confide in when the going gets tough because it maybe rainbows and butterflies right now, but I promise at some point you will encounter some hard times in your marriage. One thing that I wish wasn’t so taboo- is the discussion of the really difficult times that all married couples are going to encounter at some point or another. Whether it is jealousy, addiction, aggression, disrespect, emotionally checking out, spending too much money, betrayal, infidelity, no intimacy, criminal activity, or whatever the circumstance- at some point or another, it is extremely likely that you will encounter some dark times in your marriage. One thing that really helped get me through emotionally during my marital struggles was the support of a few good friends; the kind of friends that you could come to on the verge of a complete meltdown and they would drop everything to help you get through it. Friends that would support you no matter if you stayed in the marriage or left, regardless of the circumstances. Everyone needs at least a couple friends like these and I am blessed with many (you know who you are)!
Support your friends when they go through these hard times and don’t try to convince them to stay or leave- just tell them that you will support them with whatever decision they make (unless they are being abused). My close friends helped me get through some of the darkest episodes of my marriage and vice versa. The important thing that I want you to remember is that you are not alone and everyone has their shit– no matter how ‘perfect’ their life seems to be on social media. Don’t compare your marriage to others; I can’t reiterate this statement enough! Suzy may have a husband who cooks and clean but constantly cheats on her while your husband may not cook or clean but would never even consider cheating. The grass isn’t always greener, remember that! When it comes to deciding whether to divorce or work through it, don’t listen to anyone’s advice- just follow your heart. No one else is living your life so no one else should have any stake in your marriage.