Instagram, Facebook, movies and television shows have given us this false perception of marriage.
We believe that everyone, except for us, is living these fabulous lives, with perfect, doting partners, having seamless, stress-free lives. This is not the case; everyone I know deals with the issues throughout their relationship.
It is silly for us to compare our real life to someone else’s filtered, fabricated and false Instagram feed, if we do, we are always going to feel like we are losing. It is even sillier to think that your marriage is going to be in a permanent state of joy and celebration; that shit would be exhausting.
Could you imagine if that were the case? Waking up, every single day, next to an overly enthusiastic partner, so enamoured with you that they can barely focus on anything else going on? Please, I need my coffee first, and I have things to do, so I cannot be madly in love with you every second of every day.
Relationships are not meant to be easy, they are meant to be inspiring.
Perhaps your partner is absent, while trying to deal with their own issues and has left you (emotionally or physically) to deal with the running of the household ship independently. If this is the case, find the gains in having full ownership of the house.
Take advantage of the situation and rather than wallowing in the fact that you are doing everything yourself, see how you can create more seamless processes to make your house run better. Perhaps you will have to get out of your comfort zone; you may have to get up earlier, sleep later, have less time for personal projects or cut back on responsibilities at work. As long as the situation is temporary, see this is as an opportunity to improve your organizational skills.
Relationships are not meant to perfect, they are meant to help us improve our areas of imperfection.
Perhaps your partner is struggling with a transitionary period in your lives. Maybe you two just had a child, moved to a new city or started a new job and your spouse is not succeeding with the new responsibilities. Instead of focusing on how little they are doing or doing well, focus on what they are thriving in.
Help your partner gain confidence in this new environment by building them up, not breaking them down. Start each day with words of love and encouragement and try to keep the positive energy present throughout the day. It can be challenging to always be the cheerleader in life, but if it is a temporary period, it might challenge you to change negative mindsets you have been holding onto.
Relationships are not meant to be joyous all of the time, they are meant to show us to savour the good times and hold onto them when the bad times arrive.
Perhaps your partner has started a new job and they are not emotionally present for you. They are spending all of their waking hours working, fretting about work or talking about work. Sure, this situation is exhausting and can take its toll on you, but see the silver lining.
If you are able to support them through this tough time, there is a great opportunity to create a strong foundation with them. It will allow you the opportunity to reflect with your partner, once the dust has settled as to how they can better manage their stress in the future. Together, you can create boundaries, plans and fail-safes to prevent stress from taking over again in the future.
The other side of the coin is if this state of lovelessness is permanent.
If your partner is consistently dismissive of your needs, ignores household responsibilities, and is selfish with their time, energy or money, there is a much bigger situation at stake. You need to be honest with yourself and with what type of relationship you are currently residing in.
Is this a bad time or is this an all of the time situation?
Is this a period of time or a period of permanence?
Is your partner aware of their issues or is continually combative and ignorant of the stressors they are causing you and your family?
Is the work worth the win? Do you even want to want to be with this person if or when the dust settles?
When you are in a period of lovelessness your energy resources are continually being depleted and it is very difficult to replenish them on your own.
Make sure to create a system, so that each day you wake up grateful for the life you have been given because there is always something to be immensely grateful for. Ensure that you are keeping on top of your physical and mental health so that you yourself do not also fall into a situation of daily struggle. If you start to ignore your own needs, for the needs of others, you will hit rock bottom and all of the ‘good’ you were trying to do will have been in vain. Also, try to document what is happening. Keep a journal, so that you can compare today to a month from today or a year from today, to see if you are in a period of pain or a painfully permanent position.
You need to ask yourself the hard questions when you are unhappy in your relationship.
It may always seem that the grass is always greener after divorce, separation or independence, but that is not always the case. Create lists of the values, strengths and positive attributes your spouse brings into your life. It can be so easy to always focus on what someone else is not doing versus the many, many things they are doing and doing quite well.
It is easy to quit in life. It is easy to walk away from something, which is no longer serving us positively, but always tread carefully.
Ensure that you have exhausted every effort before you close the door on your relationship, because what may simply be a bad season could become the termination of something with so much potential because you simply did not have the patience or the faith to wait it out. Ensure that if you think termination is the only solution to end the pain that you can confidently say that you tried your best, utilized all the resources available to you and that you genuinely wanted it to work, but it simply didn’t.
Hopefully, you come through the tumultuous period to a much lighter season, where you can look back at the tough time in your relationship with pride.
Congratulate yourself and your partner for sticking it out, getting through the bleary days and try to learn from the pain. The more we learn about ourselves and our partners during the tough days, the fewer tough days we will have. When you are able to see a fight brewing, you will walk away, allowing yourself and your partner time to cool off. When you are struck with news that makes you emotional, you will refrain from calling your spouse and giving them hell. You will sleep on it and speak with them when you are much more rational and able to manage your emotions.
Anyone who tells you that they do not fight with their partner or have a perfect marriage is lying.
If they are not lying, they are clearly not voicing their needs in their relationship because I would find it impossible that two unique individuals would agree on everything, cohabitate seamlessly and never have a bad day. Let’s be serious, people on social media post those perfect pictures as much for themselves as they do for us to see them. It assures them that their relationship is good and that they too will get through this bad time and back into the good days.
Stop comparing, stop complaining and stop creating a negative environment. Focus on the twenty-four hours in each day and those alone. Force yourself to recall three strengths in your partner every time you notice a weakness. Start each day believing it will be a good day and the days will get better. Practice patience with your spouse. Every day will not be perfect, but you will start seeing perfect moments in each day.