Thursday, November 18, 2010

A loveless marriage vs. an unloved child

Today a 'sort of' co-worker asked me how I liked married life.  I told him it was great (neglecting to tell him about the little argument Mr Fix It and I got into this morning before I left for work).  Now don't get me wrong, what is great about *my* marriage is that within 15 minutes of that little spat, Mr Fix It had humbled himself to see my side of the story and why I was frustrated and we had calmed down and lovingly kissed each other goodbye.

But what made me sad was the next thing this co-worker said after he asked me the question.  He said "Yeah, you know."  So I knew there was hesitation there and I asked him what he meant. 

He responded by saying this: "Well, it's just hard to keep the love alive in a marriage when you have kids to take care of and work and you're tired at the end of the day.  My wife and I have been married for almost 20 years now and it's just...I don't know."

The way he said it made me so sad.  It made me feel like he found no joy or pleasure or happiness in his least not today.  I answered back by saying, "Yes, I know what you mean.  Mr Fix It and I have only been married for 7 months now and I already feel like we have a lot of mundane days.  When you work all day and are trying to keep up a house, a pet and kids, it's just really important that you work hard to keep romance in your relationship.  You have to be very 'intentional' about each other and trying to surprise one another."

I went on to tell him how different married life is from dating someone because when you're dating, you put everything else out of your mind when you are out with the other person because you know that is *your* time together.  But married life is seeing each other day in and day out...paying bills and cleaning and all that unromantic stuff.  He said that's exactly what it is.

Ladies, many of you are either newly married or soon to be married.  And at 38 years old after having spent 6 years with Mr Fix It before we married and moved in, I can tell you that marriage is WORK.  Relationships are work.  There's no getting around it.  Whether it's with your boss, your mom, your sibling or your husband/ have to work to be respectful of each other, to please each other, to comfort one another and to keep the spice in your life. 

What truly makes me mad though is how easy it is for people to just walk away from marriages nowadays.  We take divorce so casually or we decide to just live with someone without 'putting a ring on it.'  That way, we always have an 'out' if we need it*.

Well, guess what?  I don't have an out when it comes to my daughter, Little Miss anymore than I have an out with Mr Fix It in our marriage.  We would *NEVER* talk about our children the way we talk about our spouses.  We would never say it's hard to 'keep the love alive' for our son or daughter.  We make just as much of a choice (if you want to even call it that) to love our child as we do to love our spouse.  Could you imagine a mother telling her daughter "You know, I just feel like there is nothing between us anymore.  I mean I'll always love you, but I'm just not *IN* love with you anymore.  I think it's best we just part ways"?

We would think all sorts of unpleasant thoughts about that mother.  Unfortunately, parents do indeed abandon their child.  Our world is full of unloved children.  But a loveless marriage is just as ridiculous as an unloved child for those of us who profess to be somewhat healthy and responsible.  As much as Little Miss frustrates the holy heck out of me sometimes, I would absolutely NEVER imagine waking up one day and not feeling pure, unconditional love for her even if she felt like she couldn't stand me. 

So why do we think it's okay to let ourselves 'feel' like we don't have the marriage we once did or want anymore?  I'm telling you now, ladies and gents, if you want a romantic, passionate, loving relationship filled with all the joy and happiness that you felt on your wedding day or in your courting days, then you better be prepared to have mundane, boring, frustrating days with that person that you will not be able to get away from.  Because marriage is indeed work.  I have to forcibly remind myself to walk into the house and go give Mr Fix It a kiss before I pick up all the crap he and Little Miss left all over the place.  And even then, after a day at work, I'd much prefer to just grab a bag of Cheetos and plop down in front of the tv than have a conversation with Mr Fix It.

But last week, as it was a super chilly night, while Little Miss was away at her father's house, Mr Fix It and I started a fire, made some root beer floats, turned the soft rock radio channel on our television and just snuggled up with our new puppy on our sofa sitting in the dimly lit living room.  We didn't make love that night and we didn't watch tv.  We just sat and listened to the music and talked about whatever came to our minds. 

And in the morning when we woke up, Mr Fix It hugged me and said "I had so much fun with you last night just doing nothing.  We need to do that more often."  And it reminded me all over again that while our lives may sometimes be boring or busy, our marriage will always have love as long as we remember to value each other as a family member that we cannot get away from. 

An infant who cannot offer you anything in the way of reciprocated affection, entertainment or conversation and is quite possibly just demanding of your time as their parent would never be unloved any more than your spouse/significant other should be once you have chosen to commit to them as their one and only. 

*Let me clarify that I do believe there are times when divorce is unavoidable (abuse, etc).  I am referring to those who simply say they 'have lost that lovin' feeling' without any rhyme or reason or real effort.
Blessings to you all and I hope you are excited about the upcoming holiday season.


SG to SP said...

This is a great post and you're right about how *most* parents would never "fall out of love" with their child but do all the time with their spouses.

While I do think there are extenuating circumstances that make divorce okay i.e. abuse, infidelity etc. most times people give up too easily. It's sad. One of Kristian's best friends just told us that his wife of 8 years told him she's no longer in love with him and wants a divorce. Just like that. No discussion, no counseling. Nothing. They have 2 young kids. It's awful.

Hannah said...

Awesome post. This is why I love you & your blog - you're honest and speak the truth.

Patience said...

Great post. Marriage is hard work, but oh so rewarding. I am incredibly blessed to call L my husband and I look forward to many years together. Divorce is not an option for us either. It is so refreshing to here other people who are willing to put in the work to keep their relationship alive.

Your evening is the exact same as our last friday night. It was perfect. I may have busted out some not so hot dance moves...ahahaha

Ghenet said...

Interesting post! Maybe its because my husband and I are just newly married or because we lived together for a couple of years before tying the knot, but I haven't gotten to that part where our marriage seems mundane. I think it could also have to do with the fact that we have busy schedules outside of each other (so the time together does seem special) and we don't have kids to worry about. Whatever the reason, I hope it lasts! I agree that marriage takes work but I'm glad we've been able to take the time to connect with each other amongst our busy lives.

We never want to get divorced. We are both children of divorce and want to avoid it at all costs!

Becs said...

Wow! This is such an amazing post!

Davanie said...

Great post! I wish more people would view marriage in this light. As the child of divorced parents I've don't take entering into marriage lightly or under the premise that I can just leave if it's not working.

A marriage is definitely something you both must work on continually. Sometimes it's super easily, sometimes it involves more effort. I love the point you made about how you would not just give up on your child, even if they're a pain in the neck.

Welcome back by the way!

kjpugs said...

AMEN!!! I hate when people seem to just give up and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comparison. A child is flesh and blood but you CHOOSE your spouse. I'm really glad you wrote this post.

The Pink Bride said...

Very cool post. I like this side of you!

PartyPlannerGal said...

Great post! I think marriages definitely take a lot of work and constant nurturing. Unfortunately, we live in a society where it is very easy for one partner to walk away from the other, but that doesn't mean we should do it! I've missed your posts and am glad you're back :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post. My groom and I were together over 3 years before we got married, and marriage still isn't the same as dating. But I love every minute of it. :)

Laura said...

YES!! I could not agree more. It makes me SO angry that people give up on their marriages so easily today. I wish people would quit saying, "It just didn't work out." You have to MAKE it work out.

The Southbay Newlyweds said...

Great post!

EmilyB said...

Excellent post :) Whole-heartedly agree with everything you said. And you're so right, there *are* mundane days, weeks and even months. My in-laws have been married for 30 years and openly say there are times when you're just not sure you can do it anymore. My mother-in-law says there are times when you can't imagine being in the same ROOM for another minute, let alone the rest of your life. But you soldier through. You WORK at it. You seek counseling or 3rd party mediation. Only after you've exhausted every possible avenue for making things work should "giving up" be considered.

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