marital hell highway

***If you’re feeling nosey, remember I’ll answer those burning questions next Monday! Just leave a comment here or send me an email***

As Tim and I close in on our fourth year of marriage (where has the time gone?!), I’ve been thinking a lot about that commitment we made…you know, the promise we said to one another, sealed with a kiss?

The words are actually pretty simple and they’re really easy to say. I mean, you’re basically in a trance, starting at your spouse-to-be, reciting after the minister. Unless, of course, you wrote – and memorized – your own vows.

Then?

You were a much more composed bride than I ever was.

Now, let us flash forward four years and eleventy-billion changes and “I had no idea you liked honey with your rice” and wanna know something?

All of that “I do” gobbilty gook? Easier said than done, sistahs (and brothas). Easier said than done.

I’m convinced that no pre-marital counseling or book about marriage or person, alive or dead, can prepare you for marriage.  Even if you were lucky enough to grow up in a nuclear family where parents stayed married and “family outings” were just that: the whole famdamily, that example set forth by your parents may show you that staying married is a possibility but it, in no way, will prepare you for your own marriage.

Because you aren’t your mother and your spouse?  He ain’t your daddy.  So how can your marriage be just like theirs?

Exactly.

(And I realize totally just sounded hickish with the ain’t and daddy bit)

I remember some of my first thoughts after walking out of the chapel with Tim, our first steps as “husband and wife” were giddy musings all, “WE’RE MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(There are not enough exclamation points in the universe to express how giddy I actually was that day)

Someone really should have been there, standing right outside the chapel, waiting to pull me aside and tell me to bottle up those emotions to save for a less than perfect day later on down the road. Because if there is ever a time you will need to conjure up those feelings again, it is during darker days where you’re debating whether murder or running away is the better option.

And if you can’t find that happy place?

Trouble is a brewin.

On the other hand, why even allow yourself to think about how sunshiny-glitterific marriage really is until you’ve actually made it a few years in? Marriage is ahellauva lot harder than you think it will be while you’re all wrapped up and buffered by ignorance on your special day.

You sacrifice more than you believe should be reasonable.

You give more of yourself than you feel is even possible.

You compromise more times than you can stomp your feet and whine like a two-year-old who is denied a cookie.

Why allow yourself those life is perfect forever and ever amen! thoughts?

Because if you don’t give that to yourself, if you don’t allow yourself that moment of pure bliss, then you’ll miss out on a rare overflowing of emotion you may need to call upon sometime down that road called marital hell. Oh, wait. You don’t believe in the marital hell highway?

Just give it some time.  You will. It’ll happen…sometimes before you even realize it. BLAM! You’re driving right towards an inevitable explosion. This road? This is the road when you’re positive you are capable of killing another person, or at least, maiming them unrecognizable.

Not that you’d ever ACT on those feelings…you’re just THAT MAD that your temporary insanity has you cursing yourself for making such a poor decision all those years ago.

Anyone denying that this road exists…that they never have – or will – feel this way about their spouse is delusional, still in the post-wedding honeymoon phase or doesn’t really have a deep emotional connection to their spouse.

Love fuels some terrifically horrifying arguments.

Haven’t had one of those knock ’em down, drag ’em out, beat them to a pulp screaming matches yet?

Just you wait.

They’re part of marriage. This is the chapter containing the ugly, little spoken about truths everyone seems to forget to mention when you tell them you’re planning on saying ‘I do.’  Marital hell isn’t something that happens all the time or something that crumbles a relationship…unless you decide to let it.  Sometimes, even, these fights can air out unknown frustrations and actually help you grow as a couple instead of causing each person to put up barricades and stifle their emotions.

You have to both be big enough people and check your egos at the door to get to that point and allow yourselves to see the other side of the argument. Which usually isn’t going to happen during the fight, let me be your wounded warrior advocate on this one.  Wait until you’ve both calmed down and can act civil toward one another. Then try.

The definition of marriage is hard work.  Not love. Not forever. It’s hard ass work. And if you don’t put work in…you won’t get anything out of your commitment except, potentially, an unhappy ending or an unsatisfactory relationship.

I didn’t write the rules.

I’m just trying to follow them as best I can.  I have a problem with following the rules…see…(but I’m still trying)

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23 Responses to “marital hell highway”


  1. 1 thebakerbee September 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    “The definition of marriage is hard work. Not love. Not forever. It’s hard ass work. And if you don’t put work in…you won’t get anything out of your commitment except, potentially, an unhappy ending or an unsatisfactory relationship.”

    Amen to that, sistah. Every time I go to a wedding, I want to write something like that in the card. Not, “Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and love,” but, “Be prepared to work your ass off, ’cause this marriage shit is HARD. Worth it, but hard.”

  2. 3 Wildology September 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “Anyone denying that this road exists…that they never have – or will – feel this way about their spouse is delusional, still in the post-wedding honeymoon phase or doesn’t really have a deep emotional connection to their spouse.”

    This is the one I say Amen to, sistah:)

  3. 5 Elly Lou September 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    There she goes again, telling it like it is and still making me giggle occasionally. I tell you I would marry that Booshy if it didn’t sound like so much hard work.

  4. 7 Brandy September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Jess,

    It is hard work. Great post. Glen and I celebrate # 17 in January and I know it hasn’t been all butterflies and carousel rides, but on good days it’s so worth it and thats what matters. (Oh and we saw butterflies and rode the carousel at Suessland in Universal last Friday, just us, so much fun!)

  5. 9 Daniela September 8, 2011 at 2:16 am

    This is the moment where I’m thinking, ok, now I know why I’m single.
    😉 (jk)

    But thanks for the realistic perspective on it!

  6. 11 secret agent woman September 8, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I wrote and memorized my own vows. I also compromised and gave up much and worked my ass off. And after twenty years I still ended up divorced. Life has a way of humbling you.

    • 12 Jessica September 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Sad! I know it doesn’t always work out…and I know it feels like you were robbed when you put in so much work…and it doesn’t last (I come from a divorced family…)

  7. 13 JaimeLynne September 8, 2011 at 7:26 am

    The best quote I ever read about marriage is ‘It is not about meeting halfway, each person must be willing to go the entire way every time.’

    You’re so right about bottling those newlywed feelings. It would handy to have around to hit your husband in the head with when they are doing one of those typical stupid guy things.

  8. 15 Stacia September 8, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Marriage is hard. You’re exactly right. To me, that’s what makes it so worthwhile. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be such an accomplishment to make it work. And let me tell you, uprooting your life for a year abroad tests (and strengthens) a partnership like nothing I’ve yet encountered!

  9. 17 Joann Eyster September 8, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I was laughing hysterically at this one. I have been married 19 1/2 years so I think I’m entitled to laugh. Getting married at barely 18 was not the most intelligent thing I have ever done, but sticking with it through really hard stuff definitely has been. Anyone who would put up with the mess that I am is worth his weight, maybe even more, in gold. And let me tell you, I deserve the friggin’ purple heart for putting up with his nonsense.

  10. 19 thoughtsappear September 8, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m suddenly afraid…very, very afraid.

  11. 21 We're Jumpin' September 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

    People often say how you can give up when times get hard. If we just threw in the towel and left our husband/wife just because times got hard, we would never have marriages. Times get hard so you can learn to lean on one another again. If you don’t trip over something every once in awhile, you would get bored, and you wouldn’t have the times to grew emotionally to your husband/wife. We all go through hard times/rough times/ or easy times, but it is up to you to hang in there or to just completely give up. If you give up on one person you “loved” though, wouldn’t you eventually give up on someone else?
    Just something I thought about while I was reading this lol! Great post!

  12. 22 mm September 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    so i’ve been out of the country and just checking back in with the world… so I know this is a late comment, but this post is SO TRUE!!! I have definitely had the maiming thoughts more times than I care to admit in my 5 years of marriage. And the first year was..ahem…interesting. I may or may not have broken a door with my fist when my husband locked me out of the room. Of course, we laugh about it now, standard.

  13. 23 jobo September 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Yes. Love this. Love all you have learned. The difference when you hit that explosion or impending explosion? Realizing it and working on it. Not running away (as my ex-husband did…though I am obviously very happy he made that decision, there was no trying to fix a thing on his part, and if it were me, I’d regret that for a lifetime!). Congrats dear, you are so smart and have learned so much in your marriage!!


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