We all have a picture of what we would like in a marriage, before we get married. Things you see on the media, social websites, etc. can help create this picture. You might imagine it will be perfect and romantic; it will be the two of you against the world. And maybe that’s the way it starts out.
What most people don’t consider, are the struggles and difficult times that strong marriages survive. People don’t post their struggles on Facebook. They only post the pictures of perfection and happiness, but so much more goes into a long-term marriage. Perhaps, we should do a better job of sharing struggles with our young people, so that they can create a realistic picture of what it takes to build and keep a strong marriage.
So many feel disillusioned after they get married; they feel the “honeymoon” has ended. Perhaps the couple begins to quibble and there are some unexpected surprises or hurdles. Suddenly, one person begins wondering if the marriage is a good one or not.
Then the comparisons begin. He/she begins to believe that they don’t have all they deserve; especially during times like Valentines’ Day. When friends receive gifts, chocolates, flowers etc. A comparison is made between their gifts versus the ones their friends received, the number of flowers in their bouquet compared to their friend. Then the thoughts start to creep in; they are subtle at first. It usually begins with jealousy, but it isn’t given the credit it deserves and the realization of the negative consequences is also lost. More evidence begins to build to support those quiet little thoughts. Suddenly, there are more and more doubts and negative thoughts. The way the person looks at their spouse begins to change. Their tempers are shorter, the imperfections are larger and more obvious; their commonalities have seemed to have vanished. And now, those little thoughts have gained power and the picture of the marriage has changed. Perhaps now a person begins to believe, they deserve someone better.
Suddenly, she starts looking around when she goes shopping. Or, where he used to only look for the specific thing he needs, he’s now taking furtive glances around. Perhaps, even starts up a conversation with a stranger who intrigues him. She might tell herself, it’s just an innocent conversation.
But, the thoughts of the stranger stay. Now he begins to feel unhappy and perhaps, he blames his partner and thinks a new one would be different, perhaps better. The person now begins to question whether their marriage is worth saving and wondering how it all changed. Now it feels like a ball and chain, something that keeps her from being happy. Those subtle thoughts ease into a justification to take further steps toward seeing what more she could have. The marriage is now in trouble.
If you have found yourself at any one of those intersecting points, it’s time to talk. Talk to your partner. Find supportive help. Call for an appointment.