This is going to be one of those posts. You know, the ones where you cringe at the title. But, don’t cringe … here’s a healthy dose of my slap-you-in-the-face-reality about my marriage.
I’ve been married for fifteen years. We were young when we got married, and in a lot of ways, I grew up along side my husband. Neither of us were ready or even slightly aware of what life was going to be like. We thought we did though. Ohhh, we thought we knew it all.
I can remember family and friends telling us to wait, but pffft, I knew we were going to be okay. I mean, who else knew my nineteen year old self better than me? Not them. And plus, that marriage statistic was bullshit. We were going to beat all the odds and laugh in their faces.
Then the honeymoon ended, kids were born, mortgages were acquired, and the deployments were bountiful. We were so stupid. Sure hindsight and all that, but we had no clue. None.
We’ve both almost walked out plenty of times. Sometimes it’s me saying I’m done. Sometimes it’s him. Somehow we keep fighting. It’s a struggle some days when he reminds me that I’m ignoring him. (I really have selective hearing.) Or how I love my computer and Facebook more than him. Sure, I can keep blaming my husband–which I do. I can continue to point out the flaws he has … which on a bad day I’m sure I could go on and on. If I’m really honest, I’m sure he could do the same. I keep wondering why this seems so hard? Why aren’t things like the movies and books? Why do I feel like I’m clawing my way up a rock mountain with someone holding my ankles?
A friend and I were talking about how our spouses were doing whatever it was, and I said: “My characters never have these issues. Could you imagine Jackson treating Catherine like that?”
She laughed, talked about how right I was. I sat there in my self righteousness thinking about my characters and how perfect their marriages are.
A little while later, it hit me. Of course they don’t have these issues! Who the hell wants to read or write about that? I don’t! “How many times do I have to explain that the forks go up in the dishwasher?” or “Dammit! Put the F*^%*$ toilet seat down! I fell in AGAIN!” Sure, it might make you laugh, but then it ruins the fantasy.
It took a lot of self reflection over the last month to see what I didn’t want to see.
I have unrealistic expectations about marriage.
I read to escape. I write to escape. So of course my characters all have these glorious bodies, men who would walk in front of a bullet, and they don’t have to tell them about the toilet seat because–they’re perfect.
Now, I don’t think reading or writing is actually ruining my marriage. But I wonder if it’s me.
I love romance. I love the idea of romance. I want to have a man who reads my mind and can say the right thing. I want him to know when I need him to hold me, tell me how perfect I am (because in my mind I really am), and love me so deeply I can’t imagine life without him.
But is that really something I want?
I’m far from a walk in the park to live with. I have many faults, which is a daily struggle for me to accept and work through. I think sometimes … I live in a book world where there are many ups and downs, but the guy can always “fix” it.
The truth is though, when my husband tries to “fix” me, I want to throat punch him.
No. Really. I do.
I want to live with dirty dishes, piles of clothes, and a lot of laughter. I want the messy because without it I can’t see the beauty when my house is actually clean. I’ve learned a lot about myself these last few weeks since my friend pointed out something I had blinders on. I need to be real about what life is like. I need to accept that he’s human, I’m human, and sometimes we’re really dumb.
I want to read about the perfect so I can appreciate that when shit really sucks here–we endure.
For more about Jackson and Catherine click HERE