This post has been in the back of my head for quite a while now. Life has been a bit more hectic than usual and finding time to sit down and blog proves to be harder than it used to be. But, tonight, my husband took our son out for a daddy/son night, so it gave me a chance to sit down and do this. Ironically, he is the focus of this post.
I run a Facebook group of about 1600+ moms. We see a lot of different posts. Anything from talking about children’s poops to asking for style advice to crying out for help because we are so sleep deprived that we can barely think. One trend I notice a lot in our group is a need to talk about marriage as well. I see a lot of women crying out to be noticed, to be helped, or to be appreciated. I don’t look at these posts as women bashing their husbands, but more like they are crying out for help. They are hurt and broken.
I remember talking to a newly married couple a few years back. I have a burden for newly married couples. I just know that the shock of marriage can be so stark for some people. Yet, they see their friend’s marriages and they look so healthy and happy on the surface, and they are scared to talk to anyone about their struggles. Anyways, I remember asking this young couple how married life was going. I am so thankful for their honesty.
The woman said, “Well once I realized he wasn’t going to be giving me foot massages every night, things got a little better.” We had a good laugh. But there is a lot of truth in that statement. We get married, spend a few months to a few years together and start thinking. . .
“Where is the fairytale?”
Ladies, you know what DOESN’T HELP?! Television and Facebook. I have been so guilty of watching a television show or a movie and just melting at the sweet couple on the screen. And then my thoughts go to that dark place. I start comparing my relationship with this fake, movie star couple on the television.
Then there are the relationships we see on Facebook.
“Oh, look at so and so’s husband. He gave her flowers. Why won’t my husband ever give me flowers?”
“They look so happy. I bet they never argue.”
“Their family is beautiful. I wish we were that beautiful and happy.”
Let me tell you a secret. It’s the BEST of us that we put on social media. It’s only the best. It’s not the every day. It’s not the hard.
In the last months before we had our sweet daughter, I was struggling with wondering what had happened to the fairytale. We have been married almost 10 years this summer. We were about to have 2 children. And I was starting to think that we were pretty ok parents, but pretty not ok husband and wife. I have expectations that weren’t being met. And I hate to admit it, because it reveals the ugliness of my heart, but I wanted what I saw on television. Even though I knew it wasn’t. real. I still fell into the trap! So, I started to think differently.
What is romance?
My eyes were opened when I really looked at my husband in a different way. And you know what? I saw it. I saw real, true love. And you know what love looked like? It looked dirty.
It looked like:
- changing a diaper for the FIFTH time that day without being asked.
- getting Logan up for me at least 3-4 mornings a week, so I can sleep until the last possible second.
- taking both kids for me, so I can get a nap in.
- grocery shopping for me.
- buying me a piece of my favorite pie.
- doing the dishes before I came home from a shower one evening.
- being patient with me when I feel out of control after having a baby.
- spending an entire labor with me, not leaving my side, and not being turned off by all of the ugliness of it. Twice.
- taking us to church every Sunday. Making it a priority.
- Coming home from work before 6:00 every day, when he could VERY well work well into the evening.
I really could go on and on. THESE are the ways my husband loves me. What an eye opener! Does that mean that I am not a sucker for romance? Ha – he wishes! I still like to be wooed! But, love is choosing to see the good in our partners despite what WE think it should look like.
This does not mean that we don’t need to learn our spouses’s love language and try to adhere to it. Absolutely not. But it does mean that instead of me turning to television or Facebook to see what love looks like, I need to change my thinking. It melted my heart when I saw him in this way.
I remember being jealous of a couple I was friends with a while back. I thought their marriage looked so perfect. It really did on the surface. Sadly, this marriage ended up not working out. And I was shocked. What I saw on the surface was not what was their reality. If only we could stop comparing and start digging into our friend’s lives and hearts so that we can feel comfortable revealing our struggles.
Women are crying out! I am telling you! TALK to each other about your marriages. And encourage each other to keep GOD as our example. To keep Him as our number one fairytale.
Nathan and I are not ashamed to admit that we have received counseling from an amazing older couple many times in our marriage. I really can’t encourage any marriage, healthy or not, enough to meet with an older couple they love and trust at least once a year. It has done wonders for our love. We are also not ashamed to admit that marriage is work for us. The thing that I love probably the most about Nathan is his tender heart. His heart almost always softens and he always puts up with my constant push for us to be the best we can be.
So whether you have been married a little or a lot, let’s all put aside hollywood and Facebook as our standard for love. You guys, it’s not real anyways. Let’s make Christ our standard for love. His love looked dirty. It looked like service.
So, now when I ask myself where the fairytale went? I answer myself:
You are living it. And don’t you think otherwise.