I consider myself to (endearingly) be an old married woman. My husband and I have been together for about 22 years and married for 17 of those. We’ve done all the things: weddings, funerals, buying a house, adding kids to our family, changing jobs, navigating job loss and medical crisis. The list goes on and on.
I don’t pretend to know everything about marriage. After all, every day seems to throw us a new challenge. Despite the number of “expert” marriage books, conferences, and podcasts, no one really has all the answers. Often, marriage is just downright funny. I mean honestly, no one can drive me more crazy or make me laugh harder than my husband. I can love him and hate him in the same five minutes. Turns out, I’m not alone. These social media posts perfectly sum up what it’s like to be married.
First up, let’s talk about sex. Who can forget Chrissy Teigen’s straightforward December post, where she’s wearing nothing but a bra, underwear, and a pair of socks and nuzzling her dog? What’s even more memorable is her husband, John Legend’s response: “Don’t mind if I do.” This couple never disappoints us! They can keep it hot–and real–at the exact same time. (This was my absolute favorite post of 2020!)
Then there’s also the reality that many of us have a limited and quite outdated lingerie collection. (Can we even call it that?) Why put on something silky or lacy when there’s that comfy, faded tank in the dresser? Also, we all know that we have about five seconds to do the deed before we’re interrupted by the kids needing another snack or a sibling-fight referee.
Of course, the reality is that we are often way too tired to get it on. Therefore, we sleep and then complain the next morning about what the other person did during the night. This might including snoring, restless legs, stealing the blanket, not setting the thermostat correctly, or invading our personal space.
DATING: can’t wait to see you again
MARRIAGE: part of your knee was on my side of the bed again last night
— mark (@TheCatWhisprer) August 21, 2020
We know that having in-laws can be a blessing or a curse–but usually not both. Some in-laws can be a bit passive-aggressive, offering “advice” on how to do everything from raise kids, to cook and clean, and even the best place to live. There’s also the thanks-but-no-thanks gift.
My in-laws gave me body wash for Christmas.
I wouldn't have thought anything of it, except that my mother-in-law attached a note that said, "I did NOT pick this out."
So apparently my father-in-law thinks I stink.
— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@XplodingUnicorn) December 26, 2020
Maybe it’s not your in-laws who are trying to run the show, but it’s your partner. Here’s the deal. When your spouse says “whatever,” it never, even means exactly this. “Whatever” is a lie. I promise. “Whatever” usually means, there’s some resentment or an unmet need, and the spouse needs to figure out what’s up.
The truth is, we all want things to go our way, and we’re pretty sure life would be better if our spouse would just do what we say. What’s so difficult about this? Hey, honey. I know how to do things right. I know how I want them to go. Just please, please, follow my very clear directions the first time I issue them, mmkay? Life will be a whole lot easier if you do.
Now, if your partner announces that they “need” to use the bathroom, all married people know what this means. They are taking their phone into the water closet for some serious social media scrolling. Because there is absolutely no way it takes someone 30 minutes to take a dump.
There’s always the one partner (maybe it’s you?) who buys and wraps all of the gifts for holidays, baby showers, birthday celebrations, and anniversary parties. Meanwhile the other one doesn’t have a clue what’s inside those pretty packages. But oh, do they like to soak up some serious credit for the joy on the receiver’s face. Insert eye roll.
Confession. I totally ride my husband to exercise daily, mostly because he’d better not try to up and leave me with all these children because he didn’t take care of his health. Well, it turns out that I’m not alone. Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle had a bathroom floor argument over taking a walk. (Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t pretend you and your spouse have never argued over something petty.) Marriage is all about compromise, right? (Abby says I’m wrong).
At the end of the day, we need to have each other’s backs and appreciate each other’s strengths. For example, I’m really good at advocating for my kids and keeping us on-task. My husband is fantastic at playing with the kids, including epic games of dodgeball. We each bring something to the table that makes everything (somehow, maybe) come together.
Marriage is certainly a lot of hard work, but also an opportunity to practice letting things go. Yes, we sometimes bicker over the most ridiculous things–like who left the garage light on. However, we’re also very grateful to have one another, navigating life and seeing what happens next. Every day truly is an adventure, one we can laugh and cry over–together.