Marriage is hard. 

At least mine is. If yours is easy, I envy you. I never expected marriage to be easy — few relationships are, really. But over time, my marriage has become extremely challenging, to say the least.

I am not sure how it got this way, and I am not throwing blame. But I wonder, do people change over time? Or do they just become more comfortable in their relationships, and their true selves come out?

When I envision growing old with my partner, I don’t see the cute elderly couple holding hands after 60 years of marriage. I honestly don’t know what I see. I do want a future together, but I have no idea what that future will look like.  

We are way past the seven-year itch. Sometimes I feel like we are strangers. You know, the two-ships-passing-in-the-night cliche. According to my mom, my parents’ marriage was difficult at times, as well. I don’t know the details, but from what I see, their marriage has evolved over 50 years together to something good. Something very good. Something I am envious of. Maybe that will be us someday? I’m not quite sure. I guess one can hope.

It’s hard not to be envious of the perfect family photos I see on social media. The perfect family, the perfect vacation, the perfect holiday card. Heck, I post those pictures too.  

So it makes me wonder: Are all these marriages really as amazing as they look? What’s behind the photos? No one has a perfect marriage — I get that. But are other moms miserable sometimes too?

It’s not that my marriage is bad all the time. Much of the time, it’s good. But there are times when it’s just SO hard. Times when I cry. By myself. To him. To my mom. In front of my child. But never to anyone on the outside.

Being married to a spouse who does not believe in counseling or therapy adds an additional challenge. I can get help myself, but I cannot force my spouse to get help when he might be in denial that difficulties exist or might not know the proper way to move forward through difficult times.  

Some people consider their spouse to be their soulmate. Is it sad that I don’t believe in soulmates? That there is no “perfect” person out there for me? That I want to stay together for our family’s sake? I made the commitment, took my vows, and believe in keeping my family together. 

I have learned through my marriage that the only person responsible for my happiness is me.

My spouse and I have some shared interests, but I also have my own dreams and passions. And that’s what helps me through difficult times. I refuse to lose myself.

If you struggle in your marriage, you are not alone. I hear you, mama. And it’s OK to cry.

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