Two weeks ago, I celebrated my eight wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s already been eight years. Moreover, I can’t believe I have known my husband for more than 20 years. It’s been an amazing ride.
So how have these eight years of marriage been? They’ve been pretty good. We’ve had our ups and downs, but that’s to be expected. We made it through the downs together and that has made us stronger. As for the ups—well those moments have made us really grateful for choosing each other.
Lately, I have seen a lot of stuff on social media about relationships and marriage. I read some of it, and I think it’s great stuff. Then, I read some stuff that makes me worry about the single women looking to these articles for guidance and expertise. I wonder if they are always able to filter through all this advice with their own lenses—unconcerned about what other people think and do.
I know that marriage is hard. I know that some days are downright painful. But I also know that I have never felt the urge to punch my husband in the face, run him over with a car or tell people that he’s “not about a damn thing.” I’m not there. I’ve never been there in the last eight years. And I hope I never get there.
And I’m not knocking or judging the women who have felt this way about their spouses because they have the right to feel that way. Those are real, raw human emotions. But I also won’t support this idea that all happily married people are full of sh*t because that just isn’t true. Some couples are genuinely happy together, despite the challenges they face.
My mom never found true love. I know it was something she wanted when she was young, but it never worked out for her. My father just wasn’t that dude. He didn’t come through when you needed him most. He wasn’t respectful and loving toward her. He didn’t provide the support and encouragement a man should provide his family with. He failed in all of those ways.
Although my heart aches for my mother’s unfulfilled wishes, I know her heart celebrates the fact that I found the real deal. I found a guy who is everything my dad was not. And I don’t plan to make any apologies about it, which is something I feel like some people expect me to do. If you don’t think your man is worth much, don’t expect me to chime in with a “my man ain’t sh*t, too,” because that won’t happen.
And before anyone starts to wonder if I live in some alternate universe, let me be clear that I don’t. I know harder days are coming. I know that despite whatever loss we’ve faced as a couple, more loss lies ahead. I know that he will infuriate me at times and I will do the same to him. I know that we won’t always see eye-to-eye and sometimes sleeping in the guestroom might just feel easier.
But I also know that I believe in our happily ever after. I believe in our long trips to Paris and Greece after the kids are grown and moved out. I believe in a future filled with hope and understanding and love. And I believe this guy I chose to spend forever with will never let me down in a way that will make me fee like I wish I never chose him. I just refuse to believe that’s who he is. And if he turned out to be that guy, I would cross that bridge in that moment. But I am not going to live my life expecting him to be that guy.
So check out Facebook statuses, read articles, talk to friends—but do it all knowing that the choice to get married (and whom you choose to marry) is deeply personal. Only you can know how your man really treats you. Only you know your true motives for marriage. Only you know what’s in your heart.
So don’t believe the hype of the perfectly happy couple without any troubles. They may be genuinely happy, but what they have is not perfect. And please don’t believe the bitter hype that there are no great men out there and being married is like being in full-blown combat. It may be for some people, but it’s not some normal way of life for all folks who get married.
Consider all your options, be real about your expectations and never plan to change who someone is. You can’t. If you can see a lifetime of happiness with the person your man currently is, you are on to something special. Yes, marriage is hard at times, but I wouldn’t define it as hard; I would simply define it as another element of life. You take the good with the bad, and you make the most of it.
BMWK family, what are your thoughts on how people should decide on whether or not marriage is right for them?