She had met someone amazing. He inspired her, he understood her, their physical connection was electric and her whole world was turned upside down.
She thought she had met THE ONE.
Exciting stuff, right?
One minor issue stands in the way……
Not that long ago I stood on a hill, one summer afternoon, and I watched her say ‘I do’ to the man who was then The One.
She has grown disillusioned by her marriage, and disconnected from her partner.
I do not judge the situation, nor her actions, but the conversation we had that night has brought up a lot of questions for me.
I asked how things had been going in her marriage lately and as you can imagine, things hadn’t been dandy. She felt they weren’t connecting, he didn’t understand her anymore. The spark of electricity was replaced by a smoking fizzle.
They just did the day to day stuff. Work, home, food, kids, bed, and do over every day……..
‘IS THIS IT?’ she posed.
It’s a damn good question, because when you say ‘I do’ you’re vowing to be together forever and, in reality, forever is a really long time.
A long time to never have the butterflies of a new admirer.
A long time to never have another first kiss.
A long time to never feel the electric moment someone’s bare tummy touches yours.
She asked me if I was happy and I told her that I was, and that I was content….she replied ‘what the f*ck is content?’
Is content a bad thing to be?
I’m no relationship expert, as you know. This is my first long term relationship (over 12 months) so I’m really making it up as I go along, but one thing for know for absolutely certain –
MARRIAGE IS BLOODY HARD WORK.
I don’t mean hard work like Sudoku, I mean hard work like Burma Railway.
Marriage is hard because after the excitement of the first kiss and the first bare tummy rub (or other bare rubbing parts) dies down, what’s left is actually fairly unglamorous. What’s left is a roundabout of peaks and troughs that sometimes feel like you’re lost at sea, and you can only hope your boat is seaworthy.
Mortgage payments, phone bills, broken toilets, sleepless nights, finding time for yourself, arguments over housework…..this is the shit that makes relationships difficult. None of it is ground breaking stuff……but it is the toiling grit of daily mundanity that grinds you down in time.
We live in a fairly disposable society these days, so it comes as no surprise that the divorce rate is so high. You know, when the going gets tough (and other Billy Ocean songs)……
Do you not think the previous generations have felt marriage disillusion or dissatisfaction?
Of course they did. So, why is the divorce rate so high now?
Do we quit too quickly? Give up too easily and just keep on moving on to the next thing, like we do with phones and computers and shoes?
You know the secret to a successful marriage?
Wanting it bad enough to work at it.
The thing about these feelings of dissatisfaction is that you must address them head on, for the elephant in the room will become the size of Godzilla and this will only breed contempt…..and contempt will kill your relationship faster than a crying toddler kills your sex drive.
You need to stop looking at the bits that give you the shits and focus a little on what you do like about them. Maybe once you remember those bits, the faults won’t seem as massive and unconquerable. We’re not ever going to change our partners. Sure, you can train them somewhat, but you can’t change them, and trying will only cause rifts.
I think that marriage is a choice, and I know that fidelity is a choice, too.
I’m sure it’s exciting to feel all of those thrilling ‘firsts’ again, but you really need to remember why you married someone in the first place, and if you stood face to face in front of your family and friends, and pledged forever, then maybe you owe it yourselves to try to find your balance again. I think you can reconnect, but I think you really have to want to.
Because it’s hard.
It’s hard considering someone else. It’s hard being honest about your feelings all the time, and having round tables when you just feel like going to bed. You have to work out those niggles before they become relationship cancer.
And you’ll fight. Of course, you will….. But do it with respect, and sit down and listen to each other after.
Obviously, if it’s over, it over. Sometimes people drift apart and the chasm between them is too vast for the tenuous fingers of love to reconnect, and I’m never going to advocate trying to flog a dead horse.
Someone I admire said to me recently ‘No one ever said it was going to be easy’, and I had to smile.
Bastards. Could have warned us.