I Don't Know Much About Marriage But...
Remember those fairy tale movies we all saw which ended with a beautiful princess-to-be walking down the aisle to marry her prince? Remember how, despite our niggling voice of realism, we all kind of looked forward to the day when we would get our own fairytale? I mean however your vision of your fairytale looked, the end result was still the same. We all (more or less) thought we'd end up marrying the love of our life and, as the old saying goes, live happily ever after. Let me start by saying, I truly believe I've married the love of my life. The only problem is that sometimes he's also the biggest pain in my ass. This is mutual. For every time he pisses me off to my core, I have done the same thing. Neither of us have ever loved or hated each other more. It's the yin and yang, the black and white, the emotional hug and roll.
A lot of people say to me that my situation is harder than most because my husband is away a lot. In reality though, it's all relative. It doesn't matter what your situation is; if you're married to another human being with a view to staying together for the rest of your life there are going to be times when it's hard, really hard.
Having kids doesn't help. People also remind me a lot that we're still relatively new to this 'parenthood' think and we still have small children. The ones that have older children assure me that while it's always tough, it does get easier. They try to reassure me that this time, right now, with an 11 month old and a 3 year old is about as hard as it gets. That helps to know. Deep in my gut I can see that they're right. It doesn't matter much though when we're threatening divorce over what colour to paint a damn wall.
You see it's rarely the big stuff that starts the arguments. It's the minutiae. It's the small stuff that starts off as a disagreement and before you know it, you've both taken the opportunity to hang all the resentment, all the anger, all the pent-up pissed-offness on that tiny little thing. There's so much room for resentment too when you've both got your own opinions, your own things, your own jobs, your own stuff that's important to you but you somehow how have to fit it in between keeping small humans alive, wiping bums, mopping up pee, paying bills, dropping off kids, picking them up and, of course, keeping them alive, happy, stimulated.
It's a shit load of pressure and unless you are phenomenally organised and/or have regular help it's hard to manage without buckling occasionally. There's little room for calm communication when you only have one or two hours a day without small people around and at that point, you're generally about as tired as you thought it was possible to be. And a bit more tired than that.
At times, I feel like we are surviving rather than thriving. In fact, I may go as far as to say that it doesn't just feel like that; it is that. I'm sure they'll come a time when things level out, when we find our feet. Right now, with my business taking off and Jimmy being away a lot, we know that we have to have more regular help. We've opted to try out an au pair. We don't know how it's going to work but we do know that the most valuable thing you can buy is time and if that means time for us to communicate more freely, time for us to know that we don't have to decide whose work is more important or who deserves a night out more, time for us to have our own time and time together then maybe, just maybe that might take some of the pressure off us, off our relationship.
I know we're not the only ones. I know that most couples I know either in real life or via those tiny square photos on the 'gram can relate to what I'm talking about. I also know that we come from a generation with a lot of parents who divorced. Studies show that divorce rates are on the way down. I don't know why that is. Maybe, having seen so much divorce in the previous generation, we're determined to stem the tide. Maybe, we felt less pressure to marry young and took our time and got luckier at marrying the right people. Maybe it's all bullshit and there's no rhyme or reason to it.
What I do know is this: every marriage is hard at some point. That doesn't mean it's not meant to be, it doesn't mean that you're going to end up being part of the divorce statistics. What I guess I wanted to do with this blog is reassure people that when it's hard, it doesn't mean it's over. I don't have ANY idea on how to make it better or to fix it - we're working through it just like the rest of you - but you're not alone.