***I originally shared this piece on Huffington Post, but the response was strong enough that I wanted to share it with you here too. Bridey, this is definitely more of an already married post, but with a message about how important it is to put the same energy into your marriage as you put into planning your wedding.***
Bridey, suddenly, I find that I am at the age where people are getting divorced not getting married, and it’s totally fucked up. It hit me like a ton of bricks the other night after a few cocktails, and a lot of interesting conversation with some incredibly strong women sharing tidbits of life over some fried pickles (they’re really good) and French fries. I know, disgusting…but, it was a delicious guilty pleasure! Anyway, when I got home, I had a fucking epiphany and thought, “Oh shit, I am officially out of the getting married phase and in the divorce phase. How the hell did I get here, and so fast?”
The thing is, none of the ladies I was with are getting divorced, but we started talking about how hard marriage can be; juggling our careers, all of the kid shit, lives of our own, and through all of that, seeming to lose our connection with our sig other. And with thatclarity, it’s pretty easy to see why people get divorced… Because marriage is hard. Marriage is something that requires a ton of work and sacrifice, and sometimes it’s easier to give up that to put the work into it.
But, I wonder what would happen if we put the kind of pressure on ourselves for our marriage to be “perfect” instead of our wedding to be “perfect”. Seriously, think about how much, time, money and energy go into planning a wedding. Weeks and months and for some people, even years, right? And at the same time, think about how much time, money and energy go into getting a divorce? About the same (if not more) as your wedding… Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees the irony in that correlation! Right? Now ask yourself why we focus on ONE day, one fucking day, being “perfect” as opposed to focusing that energy into our marriage being “perfect”. Why should that one day, the first day of our marriage, be worth more than a lifetime of marital bliss. WHY?
It’s not. Your wedding day is not more important, but some people treat it as if it is; as if it’s the only thing that matters and the rest will fall into place afterwards. And, you know what? That’s bullshit. My vantage point as a wedding planner and as a married woman of more than a decade? Well, it seems as though you’re a whole lot less likely to give up planning a wedding when the stress feels overwhelming simply because you recognize that the stress is temporary, and a whole lot more comfortable giving up a marriage simply because the stress feels indefinite. But, what if we merged these feelings? What if we allowed ourselves to acknowledge that it’s okay to not be happy every.single.day of our marriage (because you won’t be), and that just because today sucks (and potentially next week too), doesn’t necessarily mean that we should quit (unless there is physical danger and/or abuse… then quit and run!).
Unhappiness can be temporary too, but only if you allow it to be. We could be talking about any facet of your life in which you are unhappy, and once you realize that it’s temporary, and you have control over it, it feels better, right? You decide to not be unhappy anymore, and work your ass off to fix what’s broken. You don’t deem yourself “bad” for being unhappy, so don’t do it in your marriage. Marriage is hard and could have made June Fucking Cleaver unhappy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the two of you are “bad” together. It just means that you need to communicate and put time into it; just like you did when you were planning your wedding. And, please don’t mistake my tenacity to make it work for naivety. I know that “working at it” won’t fix all marriages, and that some are doomed from the beginning. However, I do think we give up too easily when things get tough as opposed to at least trying to move forward… TOGETHER.
Image via Kev Seto