When I was 16, Kyle and I starting dating and I dreamed of marrying him and having a family together. I had these lofty ideas of our picturesque life where I would be home with a baby on my hip baking pies and homemade meals that would be ready when he walked in the door of our always clean home after a hard day’s work. He would come in, eat his dinner and then take out the trash and clean up the table from supper while I finished folding the laundry and then we would just relax together sharing stories about our days.
While some of that may happen at times, it’s not like the scene I had imagined.
Our house isn’t “company ready” most days.
The baby on my hip has spit up dripping from her chin, no pants, and I haven’t showered.
Since I am the human dishwasher, the sink is usually full until right before we go to bed.
Kyle does more laundry than me most weeks.
I’ve made maybe 10 pies our whole marriage, and at least half of those were to take somewhere.
One of the first times I really realized how unrealistic this ideal life I was imagining was when, early on in our marriage, we were in the middle of an argument and I stormed off and went for a drive. I thought for sure that he would get in the other car and follow me to know that I was safe and not too upset at him.
You know, like they show in the movies where the guy really loves the girl and just can’t stand the thought of her being upset at him.
Instead, I came back home after being gone for maybe 20-30 minutes and found him asleep on the couch with golf on the tv, already moved on from the argument we had. But I still had fighting words in me ready to go.
In case you haven’t heard this one before, let me the first to tell you. Congratulations! Marriage is not like a movie.
The guy doesn’t always run after the girl unable to bear the thought of her being mad at him. The girl doesn’t always respond with kindness and understanding. Sometimes she can be a complete witch who pouts and mopes when he can’t read her mind and know what she’s feeling. (Not like I know from experience or anything.)
You always hear that marriage is hard work, but in the newlywed bubble, you can’t understand it fully. When we come face to face with the work unprepared, we let our pursuit of vindication rise up and all tenderness is gone. We can care more about being “right” than being kind and forget that we’re on the same team.
Learning how to share a life with someone comes with natural growing pains and that’s normal. It will require intentional effort and sacrifice, but it’s so worth it.
A successful marriage is a partnership of two people sharing a life together by showing up day after day and supporting each other. Sometimes that’s romantic and sometimes it requires a lot of effort. Respect and compromise were always part of the deal, but sometimes we forget that in the heat of the moment.
Kyle and I have hurt each other and have gotten it wrong many times since our wedding day, but now I look at my husband and know that through all of the trials and our flaws there is a love and support that is irreplaceable.
I’m learning more and more each day how to let go of expectations in marriage and cherish the beautiful partnership that it is. My life isn’t like a movie, but it’s a story I wouldn’t want to rewrite. Knowing that you have that foundation of love for each other and that you are committed to this life together brings a peace and security that goes beyond the grand gestures.
I think there is no more beautiful picture of marriage than that.
Each for the other.