Sunday, August 7, 2016

Half my life (and why I won't do a Love Your Spouse challenge)

This summer marks a milestone:  I've been in a relationship with D for half my life--21 years.

I very clearly remember, sometime after we married, a conversation we had about the point at which we would be together half my life.  That seemed like a long time away, longer than what it has actually been to arrive at half my life with him.

This fall we will mark 19 years of marriage.  We keep thinking we'll go on a trip for our 20th in 2017, assuming we can ever firmly decide on a place.  So far we've considered Paris, Bavaria, Hawaii, Montreal and Key West.  But I keep finding places I'd like to add Acadia National Park in Maine to the list.

Overall, I think we are well-suited to one another.  I hear of other couples who have shouting match arguments, and I don't understand it.  I could have shouting match arguments if I was married to a different person, but yelling just isn't D's thing.  He shuts down, and you can't fight with someone who is no longer standing there in front of you.

My parents never did shouting match arguments either. They had "quiet disagreements," and I think this sums up what D and I have.

With this being said, D and I certainly get on each other's last nerve.  There are times I think to myself, "Why in God's name did I marry him?"  There are times when I imagine taking a frying pan to his head.  But some of that frustration at times coalesces with frustrations with the kids, so I'm often not sure how much is actually him or the kids or the combination of both.  He doesn't write a blog or particularly talk about when he is frustrated with me, but I know he has to get that way at least occasionally.  And he isn't the type to huff and puff and rattle crap around as I do when I'm frustrated.

I've seen a Love Your Spouse challenge on Facebook and haven't been tagged by anyone, which is good, because I wouldn't do it.  For starters, D doesn't like to have his photo plastered on Facebook.

But I also don't want to do it because I think it sends a false message, and isn't that what social media is mostly about anyway?  The majority of people post stuff that they want everyone to think is their life, even if what they post is only 5% of it.

People post a pic of themselves at the gym on the elliptical but not of their kitchen counter with 3 packages of donuts (and yes, I'm referring to my kitchen counter right now).

People post pics of themselves dressed up, coordinated with their kids, but not slumming in their paint clothes on a Saturday afternoon with their hair not washed since Thursday.

People post pics of the dinner that turned out beautifully but not the 8 million dinners that ended up burnt in the oven or that tasted craptastic.

And if I post pics of me and D together all smiley, it doesn't convey the 99% of our marriage that is figuring out who picks up what kid from where.  It doesn't convey me shopping for his underwear at Target.  It doesn't convey morning breath and gross nail-picking habits (mine) and beard hair all over the bathroom (his) and watching each other's bodies grow looser and grayer over 20 years.

It ain't pretty, that's for sure.

What we say on social media is probably .2% of the story.  If someone posts that they are moving with their children, it might mean that they are in the midst of or just come out of a nasty, nasty divorce.  There is a lot to, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story" that we aren't privy to.  We don't want to be privy to it, but we forget it is there at all on social media.


Jennifer said...

I agree with your assessment for the most part. I have always thought that Facebook portrayals of others lives are usually not very accurate. Most of us put our best foot forward in photos and posts on Facebook. It is easy to feel jealous of other's lives as they appear on Facebook and that's not healthy for anyone.

I was tagged to do the Love Your Spouse Challenge and I haven't done it yet. I keep hesitating partly for the reasons you stated. I don't like bragging or putting forth a pollyanna view of my life. My husband and I have a good marriage, but, like all marriages, it can be challenging and we have our ups and downs. It's impossible to portray that in the Love Your Spouse Challenge. My husband is also a private person who refuses to have a FB account, so I don't want to do anything that would bother him either.

I do think, though, that there is some value in the challenge. I think it is good to go back through old photos and review the relationship. I think it is good to remember what made you first fall in love, why you decided to marry this person, and remember all you've been through together. I'm just not sure I want to post all that to FB.

Katy Matthews said...

Love this. thanked someone for not tagging me, then have felt kind of guilty for my go-to snarky instincts watching my husband's cousin's cute posts run through my feed. then today, folding clothes that I will have to brow-beat my children into putting away, I thought of my favorite picture from before we got married -then I sensored that idea because not everyone on Facebook remembers or knows how many tattoos my husband has...So thanks for ur blog and your honesty, because facebook is part of the dialogue in my head now and best addressed with a healthy dose of perspective. It's nice to know there is a thoughtful voice out their tooting a horn for the unedited woman,mother and wife.��