It's Time to Get Real.

Everyone blames Hollywood for setting our relationships up for unrealistic bliss, which inevitably ends in disaster. Newsflash - it's not Hollywood, it's us! Social media has created a world where all that we see of each other is the perfect and happy facade we all present of what we really are. Because really, who is posting pictures of your households when it looks like World War 3 is throwing down in your living room?? No one.

From a personal standpoint, I'm quite tired of it. I'm ready to be realistic, folks.

The last year has been really hard for us. I mean....really hard.

This month will be one year since we moved into our first home, (the first one we would actually own together, anyway). And I'd like to say that's when shit hit the fan. Although, looking back, I think the 'shitstorm' that would soon be throwing down on our marriage, like hurricane katrina on the gulf, began much earlier.

However, August 13th, the day we moved in...that was the day it all came to surface. I'm going to spare all of you the intricate, dramatic details from that day. We'll keep those details between Justin and I; (well, between us and our closest friends who happened to be here on moving day, and were forced to witness the disaster, and are probably far from shaking the memories of it).

August 13th, Move-In Day: Long story short-

Me: "Justin, did you even measure that fridge?!.....LIKE I TOLD YOU TO?!"
Justin: "Amy, I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I found the fridge. It's stainless steel. It's our DREAM fridge. It looks FINE."
(The refrigerator was almost a foot too large....in each direction.) 

Imagine these two sentences... over and over... confronting different subject matter... for 12 hours straight.
It. Never. Got. Any. Better.

And so the separation, and the hardness, between him and I began.

Fast forward to the current us. A whole year later. We have been in couple's counseling since the "move-in catastrophe of 2013". Something I am FAR from ashamed of. It's disappointing to me, honestly, that so many people consider counseling or therapy the same as metaphorically waving the white flag, or worse, as an acceptance of failure. In my opinion, our decision was far from surrendering, and even further from the acceptance of defeat. Our decision to get some help came from a survival skill deep within us. Our warrior, stubborned, slow to give in selves, decided we would step up to the plate and fight.

We have spent the last year fighting for it, striving for it. Striving for happiness, striving for peacefulness, striving for a normal, conducive living arrangement. I've tried to become the version of myself that would make life easier for him. He's tried to become the version of himself that makes life easier for me. Guess what? That doesn't work.

In our last session with our counselor, aka our Sherpa, we brought to the table one of our most hideous arguments yet. During the explanation of this terrifically, embarrassingly, raw argument between my husband and I, our counselor sat looking dumbfounded at us. I had expected him to break down the fight, piece by piece, examining what I did wrong, examining what he did wrong...telling us how to communicate better, and how to avoid such arguments in the future. I expected him to tell me that I wasn't being the wife Justin needed me to be, and that Justin wasn't being the husband I needed him to be. I was wrong.

He smirked. And almost laughed.

At first I was angry. All I could think was, 'Here I am spilling out my feelings about this treacherous event. I am completely exhausted by it, completely defeated by it, and each time I relive this horribly awful fight in my head (and now out loud), I feel as if our marriage has an expiration date, that no one has filled us in on yet.

That smirk. It held strong on his face. His immediate response..."When was it that you two decided it would be easier, or better, to be on opposing teams?"

He found our argument to be funny. He said it was the kind of fight that sitcoms are made of. When he repeated it back to us, I could see where he was coming from. He felt like the argument was about 3 degrees away from being a funny story to share with the grandkids.

What was that 3 degree difference? It was how we responded to each other, post-argument. The day after our home had survived the atomic bomb of all arguments, (as I saw it anyway). We had fled the catastrophe, safely, but on separate teams. We kept to ourselves, protecting our integrity, holding strong to the fact that I was right. That I was the one who deserved an apology. I felt like I had deserved different treatment as his wife. He felt like he responded accurately as my husband. Both of our reactions, and takeaway, from the argument were in direct reference to the role we were trying to play in each others lives.

So, in my opinion, what's the hardest part of being married?..... Being Yourself.

It seems like it should be the easy part. Right? Being yourself is simple. At least it should be. But something weird happens when you fall in love. And it gets even more complicated when you decide to spend the rest of your lives falling in love.  

I became torn between being the best version of myself for me, and the best version of myself as a wife. They are not the same.

WIFE, is not my identifier. HUSBAND, is not his. I was created to be me, he was created to be him. Marriage is not about becoming something for someone else. It is about deciding that the two of you, as two separate and whole beings, want to admire each others assets, bask in each others worth, and 'do life' together, as yourselves. THAT is why marriage is so hard at times. You have to find a way to be yourself, be your own person, and be those people TOGETHER.

Sometimes, when you find yourself in the middle of a storm, you immediately become a new version of yourself. Maybe it's the adrenaline, maybe it's protection, maybe it's the fear of being your true self and it not being enough. I don't have that answer. I wish I did.

What I can tell you, from my experience as a wife, is that the storms may come. The storms may come at the worst possible time in your life, in your relationship, in your career... and it will feel like the equivalent of the world's greatest hurricanes combined coming down on you. 

In those moments, don't play a role in your own life. Be you. Let your partner be them. Appreciate and admire the things about each other that you once valued. Be on the same team. Know that you only make a great team because of what you are each bringing to the table. You both have strengths.

Understand that everyone else in the world is dealing with hurricanes, (even if you can't tell by their recent Facebook cover photo). And that you, and your relationship, will undertake many more. But hold on to your person. Hold on to yourself. Don't change, and don't allow them to change either. BE YOURSELVES, because that's what each of you really needs the most. And hold on tight.

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