Marriage is hard.
Sometimes it’s REALLY hard. Sometimes I describe how hard it is with a 4-letter word with an ing at the end of it, just to describe how incredibly hard it is, to my clients.
Many times they look at me dumbfounded, and maybe it’s because I’ve just used the F word, but I don’t know any other way to describe just how challenging it is to show up and be all that you can in your relationship day after day, year after year.
What else do we choose to have in our lives, for the rest of our lives?
We don’t get to choose our family, for better or worse, we are just born into them. We choose all sorts of other long-term things to be committed to, like a job, a mortgage, a car loan, and possibly education. But none of those things come with contracts that bind us to them until death.
You can always change your career if what you’re doing no longer satisfies you. You can sell your house, or your car, if those things become lack-luster. Going to school and furthering your education may seem like something that’s life-long, but if you become disinterested you can always change your major, or quit.
Sallie Mae will still want her money, and that repayment might seem like a life sentence, but it’s not the same thing as entering into marriage.
Marriage is something we choose.
We choose to say our vows, and we make a lot of other choices about so many things that don’t matter, leading up to standing in front of all of our families and friends to profess our choice to be with this other person. Until death.
After the centerpieces have wilted, and the honeymoon is over, you start to settle in to your new normal with this other person that you’ve chosen. In the beginning it doesn’t seem like such a difficult choice for most, but as time passes, the novelty, and the newness of your choice wears off and life sets in. You might start a family, or be focused on your careers, or both.
When couples add babies into the mix, and time passes, then the choice seems to become much more apparent. Sometimes you have to choose between sex and sleep, conversation or isolation. Sometimes after a hard day of parenting and adulting, you just want to be left alone. You don’t want to have to talk or explain, because sometimes it’s just too exhausting. That’s when the choice rears it’s ugly head.
When you do choose sleep over sex, silence over connection, or to work just a little longer even though you know your partner is going to be asleep by the time you get in bed, it’s not always apparent that you’re not choosing your marriage.
I’m not saying that it’s always one or the other, and even though you might choose to work late (like I am right now), you may be showing up in your relationship at another time of the day, and making the conscious choice to put your relationship high on your list of priorities.
So maybe you’re in a rut, and life has just been happening, and date night has been on the back burner. The kids need you, work needs you, and those dishes in the sink aren’t going to wash themselves, and sometimes you might not even like the person you’re married to because, hello, do they not also see those dishes??
But you always have a choice.
You can both agree to ignore the dishes if it means you spend 15 minutes on the porch connecting, and talking, and maybe enjoying a glass of wine together. You can choose to get in bed 30 minutes earlier than usual, and forego reading or scrolling through your facebook in order to talk and possibly have sex.
Those choices aren’t easy. Neither is marriage. But it is a lot easier when you are both in it together, and find creative ways to show up in your relationship and make even the smallest of connections.
Turning towards one another is what keeps couples together, and keeps them saying, “I still do.”
If you need help sparking your connection and making the choice to show up in your marriage, I'd love to help! Picking up the phone is the first choice you can make to show up in your relationship. You can reach me at (909) 226-6124, I'd love to hear from you!