I used to have an idealistic view of what a marriage should be. This was enforced by my family, especially my parents, who never argued, seemed to always agree, and never took sides with us kids. They presented a united front that nothing could break and showed their love for each other every day. I took this belief with me when I was married at 18. I always thought the hard part was the dating, the breaking up, the finding that one person to make my life whole. I thought once I found my “soul mate” that everything would fall into place, we’d buy a house and have children and live all our days in married bliss. I was in love, and thought that was all we needed to make a marriage work.
I was wrong.
I have survived through two divorces, both brought on by my disappointment with the institution of marriage. I had believed a marriage was supposed to be perfect, and nothing had turned out that way. My first marriage ended because of an affair, I was adamant that I would not be one of those spouses that turned a blind eye to infidelity and promptly filed for divorce. I decided that since love was not the ingredient to make a marriage work I would focus on the material, I didn’t need love to be happily married. Towards the end of my second marriage, one of convenience, I realized I was still not satisfied. I had been lying to everyone, including myself, that I could make it work based on my revised naïve principals.
I told myself I would never remarry. I told myself it was not worth the pain, the commitment, the devastation. I had become completely disillusioned with the institution of marriage. Then I met Mike. Unbelievably, I fell in love. And against my best intentions, I remarried. We will have been married four years this October, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that marriage is hard. My husband has many qualities that are far less than endearing to me. I’m sure some of my qualities are not to his liking either. Honestly, sometimes we don’t like each other at all.
But we love each other, and I’ve come to realize that our marriage doesn’t have to be perfect, it never will be. Over four years we have lived through financial struggles, my father-in-law’s tragic death, and the premature birth of our son. I have had to deal with an affair on my husband’s part and he has had to deal with my depression and problems with intimacy. We don’t always agree, and we argue. We have different interests, as well as some different values. However one thing that we do agree on is the value of our marriage, and the work we have to do to make it successful. I have learned to accept that, and in doing so I have realized that I am happy with our marriage, just the way it is.
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