Friday, January 28, 2011

Doubt

I have these doubting thoughts sometime about my marriage. It's so hard to admit.  Isn't the first year of marriage supposed to be blissful? Aren't we supposed to be so caught up in our own little world that we float through our lives on a cloud of cotton candy? (Mmmmmm.  Cotton candy.)

Sometimes, all I can think is "What did I get myself into?"

I guess I never realized that marriage is hard.  Not hard like "Errrghh, my Saturday morning strength and conditioning class was so hard (and it's led by a woman who is seriously 95 years old- What gives?)" but hard like "Holy sh*t, I-can't-believe-this-is-the-rest-of-my-life-what-have-I-done?" kind of hard.  At least, for me.  And I'm willing to bet for a decent amount of you guys out there.  If you're not in that camp, color me green with envy and mad props to you for whatever you're doing to manage your relationship.

But I think the real question here is why? Why is marriage so hard? I'd been with my partner for four and a half years when we got engaged and five and a half years by the time we got married.  We'd lived together for three of those years and done the long-distance thing (New York to Miami) for two. I don't think anyone could accuse us of rushing into things or not knowing each well. So what changed when we signed that silly little legal document that committed ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives?

Honestly, I have no freakin' idea.  Isn't that weird? You think I'd be able to pin-point some differences but for the hours and hours (and hours) of thought I've put into this subject, the only thing I can take away from it is the finality of it all. This is it, people.  No take-backs, no changing your mind, no finding something better down the road. For the rest of your life.

The first three months after we got married, everything was all kittens and roses and rainbows.  We got a puppy.  We moved to a one-bedroom apartment in a nicer neighborhood.  And I laughed at all those rumors I'd heard about the first year of marriage being the hardest.

And then, something shifted.  I don't know what it was and I can't even say exactly when it started but all of a sudden, I had a heaviness in my chest like I couldn't breathe whenever I thought about our future together.  And I SWEAR TO GOD, if my husband forgets to the take the garbage out ONE MORE TIME, World War III will (and has) ensue. No exactly a model marriage, right?

The fighting started after about four months.  And I kept waiting for it to stop but every issue we had just compounded and molehills became mountains. Please don't be alarmed, I'm not about to make any big announcement or anything; when I took my vow of forever, I meant it.

But...

I think what it boils down to is that before we got married, the option of walking away was always there, lurking in the background.  And so we worked hard to make sure that neither of us wanted to utilize that option.  But now that leaving is not an option, suddenly it doesn't seem to matter if we work hard at our relationship or not.

It almost feels like, what's the point since we're stuck with each other for good now?  Sometimes, I know that I should be more patient or more giving or more forgiving and yet, sometimes, I just don't care because I know my partner's not going anywhere.  So does that make me lazy? Or selfish? Or maybe both? Yikes.

I think (fingers crossed,) finally, the worst is behind us. I recently realized that a lot of the issues we're struggling with aren't "our" issues but my issues. So I'm trying to acknowledge and deal with them but it's not always easy.  I'm making progress. Good days and bad days, you know the drill.

The thing is though, throughout this tough four-month stretch, I never really felt the deep despair or panic that I felt when we fought before we got married.  I think this proves that the "finality" thing I talked about above is a two-way street; deep-down, I knew we'd make it through everything and emerge as a stronger couple. Maybe that's why we all get married in the first place? I don't know, I'm clearly not the expert.

This was a really (really, really) hard post for me to write- Who wants to admit their marriage is anything but fine and dandy?  But I wanted to share my experience in case some of you out there are in the same boat and wondering if you just made the world's biggest mistake.  My short answer is, no, probably not, you're just adjusting.  Some of us take major life changes in stride, some of us fight and resist and then claw our way out of the misery we've somehow created.

Anyways, if you're recently married, have you experienced any rough patches your first year? Or has it been a smooth, easy transition? Don't feel badly if you're in the latter camp, I'd totally appreciate hearing from people whose experiences have been the opposite of mine...And if you're in the same boat, well, we can all commiserate together, can't we?

14 comments:

  1. that was a brave post to write my dear - and my heart goes out to you. Love is beautiful, and painful at times.

    My life is anything BUT rainbows and butterflies...my work is killer and I find myself questioning why I chose such a ridiculous field in the first place - medicine is not easy and it's often not "fun." It makes me miserable...like...crying miserable...like I wanna quit this gig miserable. Thankfully I have my hubs to go home to at the end of the day...he is the very best part of my world. Marriage has brought us closer, which I didn't even think was possible. And this isn't to brag or be condescending or anything...it's just how our story is playing out. It's just a different road for all of us I suppose.

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  2. I felt a lot of doubt leading up to our wedding and talked about it with my husband a lot. I didnt know if it was a phase or what but it was really scary. Now that we are married I dont have that doubting feeling. However, I understand what you mean about not really trying or working hard since you dont really have anything to work towards anymore. Hopefully, like you say, the worst is behind you. Every couple goes through phases and maybe you guys are just in a rut right now and trying to figure out how to be a married couple. Its not perfect for everyone and I think its great that you are addressing another side of married life - the side that many are afraid to even think about let alone put out to the public. I respect that a lot. Maybe you just need a mini vacation? :-)

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  3. The first year is hard! For us, we hit bigger speedbumps the first year we lived together than so far in the first few months of being married.

    I think being married means waking up every morning and choosing to be together, even though there's that legal commitment. You choose him everyday. Some days that is easier to do than others, but as long as you keep it up, you'll keep pushing through.

    Hugs!

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  4. What an honest post! These are the EXACT feelings I have been having! It is so refreshing to hear someone else is feeling the same way, because I am so scared to admit to anyone that my marriage is anything but perfect when we have only been married 4 months.

    Some days I seriously think, "this is never going to work. I can't live like this forever" and then there are days where everything is fine and I feel so lucky!

    I knew marriage was going to be hard, but not this hard. We just have so many disagreements. Our main problem stems from him working long hours and wanting to be with his friends when I want him home. And I feel like he criticizes everything I do. How I do the laundry, how I cook dinner, how I clean the shower, etc!

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  5. Wow, thank you all for such kind, supportive comments! Much love!

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  6. Oh girl, you're like reading my mind! I think it was very brave and helpful for you to write about this - so many times we only hear the great stories about how married life is so easy and perfect; but yes, there are ups and downs and feelings of despair at times. Know that you are not the only one feeling like you do!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm sure it's hard to be open about such things especially following wedding recaps of rainbows and sunshine. I guess I'm in the second camp... my husband and I just talked about this yesterday actually. And we kinda chalked it up to me being really. easy. going. And I don't say it like, "Oh, I'm great, I'm so easy to get along with" but I pick my battles?

    It made me sad to read you say "Sometimes, I know that I should be more patient or more giving or more forgiving and yet, sometimes, I just don't care because I know my partner's not going anywhere. So does that make me lazy? Or selfish? Or maybe both? Yikes." because while that is true, your partner isn't going anywhere... that is also the reason WHY we should be more giving and forgiving. I think I try to think about... if I nag or throw a fit about the trash... if I forget to do something, should he throw a fit at me? Do I want to live with me?

    Keep loving! There's some quote out there about how love is not a feeling but a choice, and I think that's what keeps marriages going :] Love.

    Sorry that was kinda long :]

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  8. You can never take a partner for granted. Despite a marriage license, they can walk away. I left my marriage because I felt taken for granted and I'm surely not the first person to do that.

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  9. Kudos to you for owning it. You could have kept going the way you were and swept things under the rug- but you made yourself accountable by posting about it.

    We aren't married yet so I don't know how things will go afterwards. Like everyone, I hope it will be awesome, but that isn't always the way it goes.

    Sounds like you guys need a night of cuddles and wine!

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  10. Great post, lady - relationships are tough, even when you full on love each other. It's never easy all of the time, is it? (unfortunately!) Many hugs and a few glasses of wine to you - I wish we lived closer so we could go have girl time. It will get better!!

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  12. This is indeed a very honest post Anyone who has been in a relationship for any length of time can sympathize...even if doubt isn't always casting a shadow over your life.

    It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that couples don't have to work as hard once married because you are now "stuck with" each other. And we know that you know that isn't really true.

    But there is leaving and there's leaving. One can easily drive a partner away without having them physically leave. It doesn't take a great deal of careless, disrespectful behavior to push someone aside. Waking up every day next to someone you don't feel cares for you or respects you is about the saddest thing I can think of.

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  13. thank you for this post. it really made me feel like i'm not alone. i thought i had gone crazy and no one feels this way. i'm the same way. been married for almost 4 months and my thoughts always go to...what have i done?! how could i have made such a huge decision?! what if i was totally wrong?! but i think it is so true--marriage is so damn hard. it takes work. i liked that comment up above....love is a choice. i need to find that quote.

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