My Marriage Isn't Perfect, And It Never Will Be

by Michelle Zunter
A woman sitting on a kitchen counter and a man in a black and white striped sweater hugging her
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

I’m married. And honestly, sometimes being married really sucks.

Being in any long-term relationship can suck at times, whether you’re married or not. That’s just the truth.

On social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, people see images of happy couples all the time. Adoring, smiling, embracing, twinkling images of loving relationships or “perfect couple porn,” if you will. There are even some of these images on my own personal Facebook page and maybe even yours.

But those images are just moments in time.

Those captured moments don’t have all the pieces needed to construct an ideal relationship or marriage. Those are simply images. The surface paint. What lies underneath that paint and what is used to actually build a real-life relationship is a completely different story.

This is not to say that what you see on Facebook from “happy” couples is fake, but it’s definitely not an accurate depiction of the day-to-day reality for a marriage or long-term relationship.

Real life consists of the images you generally don’t want to post on social media, like fighting with your spouse over kids, money, dishes, or laundry.

Generally, you’re probably not too proud of that miserable day you spent as a couple in the grocery store because you had a fight over something stupid that morning. You don’t usually broadcast the fact that you haven’t spoken to your husband in three days because you’re in the midst of an epic disagreement, and you’re still pissed.

It happens. Life goes on. People make up.

Part of a normal, functioning, long-term relationship is sometimes not agreeing, sometimes not communicating, and sometimes not being happy.

Most of us know that key factors such as communication, compromise, and compassion can make a relationship 10 times better and last much longer. We know we need to practice these things in order to keep our relationships running smoothly. But a lot of the time we fail at the relationship maintenance. We get tired. We get sloppy. We don’t live inside Instagram images.

Most of the time, we don’t share these relationship failures. But maybe we should do it more, especially with our children. Maybe we should be a bit more honest about how irritating living with another person can be when you just want some alone time, or how truly difficult it can be to keep a marriage intact, especially when you add in the kids, jobs, cleaning, and financial stress.

I think many of us would feel a lot better if we knew that everyone goes through the “relationship blues.” It’s reassuring to know that great relationships have problems and healthy relationships aren’t always perfect. It’s also good for our children to know that the perfect relationship or marriage simply does not exist.

Marriage is not decadent weddings and bejeweled dresses. Marriage is not sunshine and roses. Marriage is not a happy ending riding off into the sunset.

Marriage is just the beginning of a long road in a partnership which includes tremendously challenging dynamics. It’s the dawn of many relationships within one. What your relationship was when you first started out is not what it will be in 5 years, 10 years, or beyond.

You’ll go through phases of being extremely satisfied with your partner and also go through phases of discontent. You’ll go through years of being deeply in love and also have random moments of wondering what would have happened if you’d chosen differently. This is normal.

It’s impossible to be happy all the time. Why would you want to be? That’s what makes the journey of a relationship so compelling and desirable. The imperfection of it all.

Perhaps that’s what we should all really strive for. Healthy imperfection instead of just perfection. That’s where the beauty and passion are. When two people can love each other through all of the mistakes and flaws yet still function together as a solid unit. If you can do that and also manage to raise a family together through all of that chaos, what a wonderful reality.