Last week The Hubs and I were on vacation and except for the last day, it was heavenly.
On the last day the hubby got sick, he is much better now, but for a few days there was no color in his face and no zip in his step. I went into over-protective mode and at one point when I asked him if he needed anything he replied that all he needed was for me to calm down.
Several deep breaths later I realized that I wasn’t used to seeing him without his usual energy and zest and he wasn’t used to seeing me acting as “mother-hen.”
Even after over 6 years together, we had crossed into an unknown territory and were learning to relate to each other in a whole new way.
The Hubs is extremely self-sufficient and super-hero-action-figure kind of guy but when we were leaving Nicaragua, all he could do was rest on the bed while I organized, packed, and prepared for our departure.
I am a type A kind of girl in many areas of my life (and yes I am almost 40 and yes sometimes I am still a girl <g>) however at home, I often-times go into type B mode because The Hubs has it taken care of so I don’t step in and take charge. I don’t need to and he is so capable, it’s really not necessary. I never thought too deeply about that until this week. When he was pretty much out of commission and I was “General Maggie” on duty and ready for anything.
He is feeling much better now while I am suffering from some kind of stomach flu. The heavenly vacation of last week has become crackers and Gatorade this week along with some cold sweats and several extra visits to the bathroom later. This is real life.
I write a lot about what I have learned through my marriage and I write a lot about “the good times.” I like to focus on learning through joy whenever I can, but today I wanted to share that just because I focus on the good doesn’t mean that annoying, uncomfortable, I-wish-this-was-over-already kind of stuff doesn’t happen.
I think there is a danger in sharing pieces of your life online when people only see the vacations and never see the lines at the airport or the bugs in your hotel room. I myself have had those moments when I think, “oh, her life must be easier, she has got it all taken care of” or “well that’s easy for her to say, she has no idea what I have to go through.”
We can say, “This sucks” 54 times and analyze every level and nuance of suckage or we can say it once and then say, “Okay, it does, now what are we going to do about it?”
Those of us that have been married for a while know that marriage is made up of real life moments and the kinds of flowers and diamond you see on “The Bachelor” are pretty to watch but it takes a TV Crew and a team of 100 people to make that happen.
At home it looks more like a balloon and cake on your birthday. And it’s even more beautiful because it’s real. It’s not perfect, but it’s real. It’s what you could manage between coming home after work and getting ready for the book club.
However, I know a few single friends who in their heart of hearts believe that if they were married, all their problems would disappear. They would suddenly enter The Land of Perfection, never to encounter a nasty stomach virus or even minor inconvenience again.
I call that “The Myth of Perfection.” I think it sets us up for a lot of pain when our expectations don’t match reality and suddenly we are married to the most perfect man ever and yet last Tuesday at 3pm we found him incredibly annoying and wanted to tell him so in at least 2 different languages and a few very un-eloquent run-on sentences.
The Truth of Authenticity is so much better. That truth is that sometimes I can be annoying. I can worry and want to take care of every detail and while in my mind I am trying to help, in reality I am not really helping at all. I am possibly being delightfully cute yet ever-so-slightly-overwhelming at the same time.
Inside that truth there is a mountain of imperfect love. It is devoted and committed and looks like a diamond before it’s cut. It’s totally imperfect, has all kinds of rough edges and yet it’s the hardest substance on earth and can be absolutely beautiful when you polish it a little.
The Truth of Authenticity is real, and no amount of photo-shopping can change it, but the beauty of it is, you wouldn’t want to change it, because it’s the imperfection that makes it beautiful. It’s doing the groceries or pressure cleaning the roof. It’s going to funerals together or visiting cemeteries with your parents in law.
The Truth of Authenticity is where you re-define marriage so it makes sense for you and you stop paying attention to soap operas, movies and love songs and start writing your own love story.
The Myths of Marriage are dangerous. I think too many people get divorced because they believe these myths are true and when they aren’t, they think someone else will be the answer so they change the person they are with instead of changing the myth they are believing.
These myths annoy me so much I wrote a two part class about them for a Tele Summit I participated in with 11 of the country’s top Latino Relationship Experts. I was honored to be among this group.
While the Summit is over, free download from the class lives on. It includes a list of resources including all the books I used in my research and 7 of the worst myths about marriage (according to me!) and their corresponding Truths such as:
Myth #5 “It means he doesn’t love me.” Usually expressed as: “She didn’t do x. He did y. It means he doesn’t love me. It means she doesn’t care.”
TRUTH: We create meaning and we can re-create it. If you don’t know what something means ask, don’t invent.
You can get the free download here.
Is there a myth of perfection that you were expecting when you got married that didn’t happen? Have you found that real life is more satisfying or less satisfying than you thought it would be? Please share in the comments.