Monday, July 25, 2011

Marriage Myths: Happily Ever After

It's after midnight.  I can't sleep.  My blood sugar was just 49.  So, now I'm stuck here, waiting for it to come back up and trying to get my mind to settle down so I can go to sleep tonight.  Hate these kinds of nights!  I have stuff on my mind and need to get it off so I can sleep.  I hope you'll bear with me....

Who came up with that idiotic line, "And they lived happily ever after"?  Seriously, that's got to be the biggest lie when it comes to marriage.  I've been in a funk lately and it took me a while to realize just what it was that put me there.  I've finally figured it out.  It's jealousy.  Pure, simple, undiluted, raging jealousy.  In the last couple months or so, my husband has developed an addiction to Half-Priced Books.  He loves the place.  It's his form of a guilty pleasure.  He buys computer books.  He buys Science Fiction and Fantasty.  He buys classics.  He's found a lot of great books in the clearance section, hardcover books for $2.  A couple of the books he picked up randomly had $ tucked in the back (birthday present that the recipient decided he didn't like and got rid of without looking at it?).  Odd, I know.  But, it's all inspired him to make a few random trips to the bookstore on his way home from work.  He stops off there.  Or he goes to the gym after work when the kids and I have gone earlier on in the day.  He stops by the liquor store occassionaly, because honestly, our children sometimes have days that leave us feeling the need for a stiff drink!  Honestly, I don't mind these stops on his way home.  It's good for him.  It gives a buffer between work and home so he can blow off some of his frustrations from work before coming home and being asked to give more for his family.  But...I'm horribly jealous!  Seriously, I don't think he realizes just how precious that freedom is!  To decide to make a stop at the book store and look around for a few minutes.  To stop at the liquor store to pick up a little something.  To go to the gym for an hour or so.  ALL. BY. HIMSELF.  For me, if I want to do any of those things (I don't do liquor stores...not good places for children!), I have to plan.  I have to weigh the desire to stop with the hassle it takes to get two kids in and out of the car.  I have to know whether the place I'm stopping at has a bathroom in case our newly-potty-trained Lily gets the urge.  I have to make sure the kids have been fed recently, that Lily's blood sugar is stable and in a good range, that the kids aren't too tired or too cranky to bring someplace.  If I want to go someplace by myself, I have to ask him if he's okay with me leaving the kids and heading out.  And I have to deal with the guilt of asking him to give more than he already does just so I can have a few moments alone.  Heck, these days, I'd be happy if I could just poop by myself!  I have two extra appendages that have to come with me everywhere I go.  I love them dearly and smother them with hugs and kisses and love.  But I'm so incredibly jealous of the freedom my husband has that he's not even aware of having! 

So here's the thing with all of that...I wouldn't mind so much if my husband was just aware of how lucky he is to have that freedom and if he'd just acknowledge how hard it can be for me to drag the kids with me everywhere I go.  He goes to doctors appointments all by himself.  I had three doctors trying to make me "leak" while my kids fought over whose turn it was to play a game on my phone!  All I want is for him to acknowledge how awful those experiences are for me.  As long as I feel appreciated and like my efforts aren't going unnoticed, I'm willing to do anything and keep on going.  I just want to know that I'm thought of, that my efforts are noticed and fully appreciated.  I don't want it all to turn into a "pissing contest" about who has it hardest or who works the hardest or who does the most.  I just want to be acknowledged and shown that what I do is appreciated.  I don't get paid for what I do and I'm not wanting money or things from him.  All I really want is to know that my contributions to our family and our life together are valued.  I can deal with a lack of freedom and with having to ask for time away when I need, if I just felt like he thought my efforts were enough to have earned me a little bit of time away, a little bit of space.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'm making sense anymore.  Or maybe I'm just repeating the same things over and over.  My point tonight...marriage is hard work and it's not easy to keep each other happy.  It seems like we all have this idea in our heads that we should give as good as we get in marriage.  Really, that's not the case though.  We should give BETTER than we get.  We should give without expectations of our efforts being returned.  We should give because we LOVE.  We're not always going to be living the "happily ever after" fairy tale.  Sometimes, neither partner is happy in a marriage.  That doesn't mean we give up or move on.  It means we look at each other and see the love we still feel and dig deep within to find just a little bit more that we can give to the other person.  Because we love them, not because we expect them to do the same.  And because when we reach those precious moments when we are both deliriously happy with each other and our family and marriage, we realize that all the effort has been worth it, just for that moment!

If anyone catches the idiot who came up with the idea of "happily ever after", take out a knee-cap for me, would you? 


  1. Have you been honest with him about your feelings? Me and my husband had a similar conversation lately. I just told him that I needed time to myself. My choice was to join Jazzercise. This way I have some interaction, fun and exercise all in one!LOL Think about what you want to do with your free time and talk with him as to when it can be scheduled.

    My motto: Happy Wife, Happy Life!!!!!!

  2. There are times when I don't leave the house for days if Fred is out of town because like you said, is it really worth the hassle?

    Not to mention it's a million degrees outside!

  3. i hear you and think honestly my little weekend get away in June with my sis and ma opened his eyes to how it is such a constant for the stay at home parent. How even a quiet car ride is a treat. Stopping to get gas and not have children begging to get out and buy something, clean windows...anything is a moment to enjoy. So, since he's been great at saying - "hey do you want to get out this week by yourself". Now, here's the kicker - I have had to learn to say YES and just walk out the door. Sometimes I have nowhere to go at all, and I just walk for an hour. Other days there are lists of places I want to be and start ticking them off in my head as I drive to a fantastic (free) destination. I do believe the first step is being honest with your husband about what you need, then doing it. You're definitely not alone in laughing about the "happily ever after." For us that has been a big joke, too!

  4. As I read this last night, next to my snoring hubby, while I couldn't get to sleep, I was nodding my head in complete agreement.
    It's not that he ever says 'no' when I ask to leave the girls with him, it's just that he never has to ask me!

  5. Speak up. Ask directly for what you want. If you have a Mom's night out one specific night and one afternoon on the weekend where you can get away by yourself, while hubby watches kids, I think you will be happier. But the spontaneous times where you can just get up and go may have to wait until your kids start school. If you a SAHM, that will give you six or seven hours at a time when hubby will be tied to his desk.