Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

When Garth and I were dating everyone thought we were the "Perfect Couple." Our friends joked that they knew we would make it because when we all went canoeing we were the only couple that didn't fight. (Later, G would say the reason for this was because he did all the work. That is probably true!).

We never tired of hearing how cute we were together. How much we adored each other. How well we communicated. I could go on and on. The point is all those compliments can lead you down a dangerous path. A path to MAINTAIN that "perfect couple" image. When everyone thinks you have the perfect relationship you kind of want to keep that illusion alive. Keep fooling everyone.

We did just that. We played into the illusion we were that "perfect couple" during our engagement and into our first year of marriage. Until I realized how damaging it was. Until I realized we were being fake. When friends on the brink of divorce would ask how we make it look easy I realized we were all wrong trying to make our relationship look effortless.

I mean, I will say dating should be the fun part. It shouldn't be that hard. It shouldn't take that much effort. Dating should be that time where you are two crazy lovebirds who get butterflies and can't stop talking to each other. Because marriage is work. The best kind of work. It's not easy. But nothing that is ever worth it is easy, right? Just as you magically and effortlessly can't get a six pack you can't magically and effortless have the perfect marriage. Actually, I just hate the word perfect all together. There is no such thing as the perfect marriage or the perfect relationship. Perfect is boring!

It just clicked. We needed to be authentic. Don't get me wrong, marriage is awesome. I love it! And I still to this day believe G and I were/are meant for each other. Are the perfect couple. But that is just my biased opinion. I don't ever want people to think some couples never fight or some couples never go through fill in the blank. And if we aren't being real and honest and authentic about what we are going through we can't help someone else or be helped.

G and I learned this lesson in the nick of time. Or should I say God's perfect timing? We started a small group 3 years into our marriage during a tough time where we felt betrayed and hurt by people we loved the most. It just so happens the couples in our group had been in similar situations. We could all relate to each other. We could vent. We could pray for each other. We could understand what each other had been going through. The relationships forged in that time were a blessing. And none of that would have ever happened we didn't get real and open up. If we had pretended everything was butterflies and rainbows.

Becca shared a letter to her husband, Matt, on comparison in marriage and wrote "...I would have understood that everyone struggles, and great marriages take work. I would have realized that any glimpse to the side would take my eyes off the race we’re running. And marriage is not a race that can be run well with distraction. It’s too important. Thanks for being patient with me. I’m such a work in progress. I’m just not ashamed of it now because I don’t care about the perfect fa├žade. They’re all hollow anyway."

I guess all I’m trying to say is we’re not perfect. We have squabbles and disagreements and get cranky and snap when we are hungry like everybody else. Marriage is too important to pretend. I don’t think marriages can survive if we pretend or fake it. I rather be imperfect but authentic and foster true community than try to be perfect but hollow.


Anonymous said...

I have never commented before your blog, but have followed for a while. Hands down, this is one of my favorite posts you have written. I am going to be married in a month, and me and my fiance had our first big argument. I thought something was wrong with us. Was I making a mistake? But this is a great reminder that no relationship is perfect and its hard work. But I think love, above all, is worth fighting for. Thank you for your heart. :)

Brett said...

Such a sweet post! Thanks for sharing :) You and your hubs are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! We had some similar issues early in our marriage, but it was from a different perspective. Everyone has a rough first year +. I whole-heartedly believe that... you are fitting two square pegs into one round hole, and loving each other is the reason it's worth it, BUT it's still tough. We had couple friends that were trying to make it look easy and effortless, and would publicly comment on our lack of such. Don't get me wrong, there were still things that we didn't show and hid, BUT I always wanted to be real and so there were quips and little spats around friends (nothing serious) and I didn't pretend to be rainbows and giggles blind happy all the time.

This wasn't the best move, either, because it was more selfish than anything, BUT I said all of that to say that we had couple friends who'd only been married for 3-4 months (as we were married 1.5 years at that time) that would call us out in a prideful way and tell us that we didn't know how to talk to each other and that we had a lot to learn about marriage, blah blah blah. It was absolutely ridiculous. It's amazing what people in pursuit of a "real" perfection will do to maintain the image - even as far as putting other people down to make themselves look better.

Long story short - that friendship ended rather abruptly after while and I'm glad it did. It was completely wrong. And I know for a fact that they weren't as happy or perfect as they acted to tried to convey and ya know what? That makes me really sad.

I am SO so proud of you for realizing how your relationship needed to come first. And I'm not comparing you to this other couple at all (just to clarify), but it's when you come to a point where you realize that YOU TWO are what should matter to YOU TWO that you really develop a deeper, much more real relationship than you've ever had before.

Of course we still fight from time to time, but allowing ourselves to be human keeps us seeking each other's heart and apologizing when necessary. Trying to convince yourself and others that you're perfect keeps you from being able to self-evaluate and that's SO SO SO important.