“’Mommy and Daddy are fighting again.’
I can’t count how many times that thought went through my head as a child, and not once did it ever feel normal. It didn’t make sense that love and marriage were supposed to go hand in hand when all it looked like to me was a war zone.
Today, I scroll through Facebook and see the same thing. I see viral videos acting out the ‘most typical couple fights.’ I see memes, joking about how ‘someone’s sleeping on the couch tonight.’ I watch movies that show screaming matches, and hear jokes about throwing things at each other. And even though I’m a married woman now, I still don’t get it. It still doesn’t feel normal.
Because it isn’t.
And there really isn’t another explanation for it.
We live in a world where whatever is said or shown enough becomes normal. It just becomes reality, and for some strange reason, few questions are raised about it. I can’t say I’ve never been frustrated with something my husband has said, but I’m not picking up a dish and throwing it at him. I can’t say I’ve never felt overwhelmed by something since I’ve been married, but I’m not searching my memory banks for every insecurity he has ever confided in me and slinging it at him like a grenade.
Yes, sometimes I see socks on the floor. But more often, I see a man who gets up every day and works to provide for us. I see a husband who listens, encourages, and loves me. If the fog of expectations, bitterness, and frustration was clouding in front of me, I would miss that. And I would be incapable of appreciating the blessing I have been given.
I’ve seen pain and division and I’ve seen brokenness in action. This life has more than enough for us to fight against, without us fighting our partner. I won’t participate in this war, and I certainly won’t try to normalize it. We’ve seen how much of an impact it makes if someone is willing to step up and question what’s ‘normal,’ so maybe we should try unnormalizing it.
Unnormalize the screaming, tearing each other down, and throwing things to prove a point.
Unnormalize making him sleep on the couch, instead of staying up and fighting for your marriage.
Unnormalize complaining about her at work, instead of being honest about what is frustrating you.
Unnormalize pointing out his faults instead of his strengths.
Unnormalize rolling your eyes when they call your name and letting frustration sink in so deep that you’ll take any excuse to get away from them.
Unnormalize saying, ‘The more you fight, the more passionate you are,’ and normalize healthy, nontoxic, empathy-based, real love.
Unnormalize ‘happy wife, happy life,’ and start wanting to make her happy just because you love her.
Unnormalize the honeymoon phase and start supporting a marriage that never leaves that stage.
Unnormalize the distance and the disconnect and make the effort to connect.
Unnormalize the nagging, screaming, and striking each other, and start communicating with love.
Unnormalize ‘she’s too much,’ and start showing her how much you love her.
Unnormalize ‘he’s not enough,’ and show him you appreciate who he is.
Unnormalize the comparison that leads to focusing on their faults.
Unnormalize making your spouse cry.
Unnormalize giving up.
Unnormalize the war zone.
Unnormalize everything we’ve been told is okay.
This isn’t what marriage should look like. This isn’t normal, this isn’t a joke, and it isn’t something we should accept as ‘just how things are.’ No matter how many movies and memes make it look funny. No matter what ‘experienced’ couples tell us. And in a world where half of the marriages don’t make it, and where so many of the marriages look like this, be different. Be that crazy, abnormal couple who doesn’t look a thing like what a million different people say you should.
And be the ones who make it.”
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