So, I’m finding more often than not that there are a lot of people around me, or around the people around me, struggling in their marriage. … And I would be wearing quite a hefty mask if I was portraying that my marriage is all roses.
I’m not sure what it is about people being mid-life, staring at 10+ years of marriage, kids in tow and life just feels off. I’m told that this is just a season, it’ll pass. I’m telling you, however, that some of the ladies living it are sometimes in a little bit of hell. There are others that aren’t exactly living in a hell of sorts, but look around and have that feeling “who am I, where am I, who are these people staring at me and what do they want?!?!”
One friend tells me a story of a woman who’s husband became dismissive about their marriage. He used the terms, “I don’t know what I want anymore.” Another one tells a story about a husband who’s so out of touch that the short time he is home, he’s on his phone or playing video games… Completely ignoring his family (Actually, there are MANY stories like that one.). Another tells a story about how her husband was so unfulfilled in life that he quit his work and joined a band… divorcing her and leaving his children behind.
And I feel like I need to write a bit about marriages because there is a group of young brides and brides-to-be who don’t know what they are in for. I blame Disney. I blame the media. I also blame our matriarchs. My mother didn’t prepare me for marriage. Once I was married off I was on my way. It’s not that the door wasn’t meant to be open for me once I was gone, but she wasn’t proactive about what was in store. My mother never shared with me any level of details of the troubles she and dad had in their marriage, and right fully so… I’m not sure how I would process that information not being on the same planet at the time. However, how in the world is a bride supposed to process a marriage, and the progression of it, if no one is guiding her through it?
And not just the honeymoon period, which was supposed to be bliss and oftentimes IS NOT, but this decade mark where the stress of the piling laundry, schoolwork, baseball games, dance recitals, and the shuffling to and fro. While we generally are shown how to live our life as a parent, because we were once children, we have no blasted idea about how to maintain a marriage.
How are newlyweds supposed to figure out their life as a married couple when each brings their own dysfunctions to the marriage? Each of them are shown, by display of their parents’ marriage, how a marriage is supposed to be… Or NOT supposed to be. Most newlyweds are very adamant about making sure their marriage is better than their parents’.
And if you tread those waters properly, you’re staring down a decade in with a whole new set of issues… Stressors.
So I think it’s important for us married ladies to ensure that our ears and arms are open to each other and especially to the younger wives. And young wives, we aren’t going to know how to help you if you don’t talk about it. Women, Christian women especially, don’t feel it is appropriate to just vent about their life… especially about their marriage/husband. I can appreciate that, as I never said a WORD early in my marriage. I kept my bottle with cork screwed on so tightly that I was miserable. I turned to no one, because it felt wrong. On one hand, that was a good idea because I wasn’t getting poor input from women my age who were barely able to find their way out of a wet paper sack. On the other hand, I wasn’t being guided. I was depressed. I was questioning what it was that I signed up for.
This makes me all the more appreciative of the few close girlfriends I do have. While there are a select few that I have been boldly honest with and trust, there is an even smaller group that I have bore my soul to… The girls I talk on the phone with and they cry with me, and me them.
My point in all of this is:
- There is a HUGE difference between venting and bashing. Me going to my girlfriend and telling her that my husband and I are struggling really hard in a specific area of our marriage is completely different than me bashing my husband, putting him down and blaming him for my unhappiness. One is therapeutic, one is not. One is helpful, one is not. Me asking my girlfriend to pray for us is infinitely different than me asking my girlfriend to call my husband and chew him out.
- For those of us without older sisters, mommies aren’t always the answer. I saw this time and again watching other moms with my mom. These older children would get married and they would have issues and run to their mothers who would then develop their opinion of their son or daughter in law over issues that did not concern them. This is why I think opening the door to close girlfriends is beneficial. … not just beneficial, CRUCIAL.
- By sharing we are cultivating a deeper love. If my girlfriend comes to me, crying on the other end of the phone about some detail of her marriage I am there to support her. It is my job to grieve with her, lift her up and LOVE her. I can’t LOVE on her if she doesn’t share with me.
Our lives are not perfect. We do not need to portray it. There isn’t one marriage on this planet that hasn’t or isn’t suffering some kind of trouble, big or small. We are all different. There is no way that shoving one man and one woman together, with all of our nuances and dysfunctions, is going to be easy… especially with each person also growing individually. Let us BE THERE for each other. Let us take these opportunities, LOVINGLY, to care for one another and pray for one another… because if we are in these marriages until death, there’s going to be a lot of issues that arise and we need each other. Without judgement. Without avoidance. Without anxiety. We need each other for LOVE.